A couple of weeks ago, I got into a long discussion with someone I know through a social media platform over the word ‘busy.’ It has been my contention for the last 20 plus year that ‘busy’ has no place when it comes to business. My position is in business if you are ‘busy’ you are not being ‘productive.’
The other party insisted on staying steadfast on the dictionary definition. ‘Having a great deal to do as an adjective. As a verb; keep occupied.’
When I asked them: “Have you ever been ‘busy’ for a full day and yet find you accomplished absolutely nothing that day?” Have you? I know I have and it’s because I am human and far from perfect that allows me to admit I have fallen down from time to time. However, when it comes to my business, at least for the last 20 plus year I can honestly say I have never been ‘busy’, however, I have been wildly productive. They did not answer the question.
The contention of my esteem debater was: “You must first be ‘busy’ to be productive.”
I took this notion to a class of very young, 18-30, but mainly between 20-22, foreign students taking a Sales Fundamental class. I wrote busy on one side of the whiteboard and productive on the other side. I asked them to come up and put their name down the column as an answer to this question: “In business what would you rather be?” I must tell you we had not had a conversation on the difference. The busy/productive concept is not taught till week six and we were only on week 3.
It was unanimous, every single person, 15, picked productive. To continue my own unofficial research, I took it to a Networking event I lead and asked the very same question. Again, unanimous for productive and we had not discussed anything about the two previously. Finally, I took it to my own class, The Action Suite, we had talked about it approximately a year ago, but they all still said productive.
When I asked all three groups, why, they virtually said the same thing.
‘Busy’ means not working. It’s tasks that get you nowhere. Being busy means you do not want to handle the things that have to be handled in your business you, therefore, use the excuse of: “I was to busy to get that done.” They also said; ‘busy’ has no clear direction whereas productive does require a direction to complete.
The major difference as I see it, please, remember this is only my opinion, it the intent. The intent of ‘busy’ is to avoid, the intent of productive is ‘to do’. In business, if you are avoiding things by being ‘busy’ instead of getting things done by being productive; then I would seriously take a good long hard look at your business model and the results that you may be getting. I could not get them to see the difference and left the conversation.
I am very busy, on the weekend, because if I need to mow the lawn I will find other ‘busy’ work so I can avoid the one chore I do dislike. Hey, it takes well over an hour at my house. Therefore, I get ‘busy’ cleaning my office, walking the dog, going shopping with my wife, an activity which I like just a little less than mowing the lawn, go out for lunch, visit a friend, clean the garage, etc. In other words, I get very ‘busy’ and become completely unproductive.
Writing this short blog is me being productive in my business as I need to get information out to you every week even though I am writing this on a Saturday when the lawn needs mowing. Now, if you will excuse me, I must go shopping with my wife. ‘Busy.’
In the end; being busy means doing things, whereas being productive means getting things done.