Are You Productive Or Busy?
We often hear people say, “I have been SO busy,” and by people, I mean everyone; your family,
friends, coworkers, even strangers will tell you how busy they are. In fact, you even say it and if
you’re anything like me, you say it at least twice a week if not more. In most cases, people are
actually busy when they say they are. For instance, I’m an entrepreneur, actor, singer, writer,
and activist; mix that with spending time with my family and friends and I have a full plate and a
half of things to do. Now, while there is nothing wrong with having a lot to do there is a fine line
between being busy and being productive. When I learned how I could reprogram my thinking to
function solely in productivity mode, I found that my busy plate led to success in more ways than
Everyone who knows me knows my hard and dedicated work ethic; it is something I’m truly
proud of but because I am a hard worker, that means that as long as I work hard at something, I
will succeed. While most would agree that is a great quality to have, it is one that can lead you
down so many different paths if you are not focused or have clarity in your direction. From 18 to
24 years old I was nonstop working, sometimes working two or three jobs at once. I was making
money and living very comfortably but I wasn’t happy. I was busy all the time, going and going
but I wasn’t getting anywhere. My life and the person I was, full of ambition and passion felt
stagnant and purposeless.
I had felt stagnant because I wasn’t fulfilling my passions. I decided to change things around
and auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles where I was
accepted on scholarship and completed the first year program. When I finished I was working,
performing in a theatre in Downtown LA, and going on auditions. Again, I felt busy busy busy.
Surely you would think by now, I was being productive. The truth is, I wasn’t. I was stagnant,
again. That is when I realized I had been waiting on other people and circumstances to provide
me opportunity. That type of thinking was where my productivity problem thrived.
See, when you wait on other people or particular circumstances to arrive to bring opportunity to
you, you put yourself in a danger zone of living a purposeless life. You continue waiting and you
create busy work for you to do in the meantime. So your life is busy but you aren’t productive.
You are busy but you aren’t successful. You are busy but you aren’t moving. There were
moments in my life where I had the ability to have a go-getter mentality and do things that were
productive to get to where I needed to be but I didn’t practice that way of thinking all the time.
That is why I continued having increments of years feeling as though I was in a rut of some sort,
or a lull that I couldn’t explain.
If you can relate, the first step is to recognize the stagnancy. The second step is to identify why.
Is it because you aren’t where you wanted to be? Did you have a plan to be somewhere else
and you feel you aren’t even close? Why are you stagnant? Once you have identified the “why”,
the next step is to make an agenda of where you want to be and how you-not anyone else- will
get you there. Once that’s complete, you now have an idea of what you should be working
towards and how. That is how your busy plate becomes productive in accomplishing what you
see for your life.
We all have a normal day to day hustle and bustle and that isn’t going to go away. We have our
day to day responsibilities that of course, do keep us busy. However, what I’ve shared with you
is a simple way to reprogram how you see your busy schedule when it comes to success in your
career, goals, and aspirations. There is a fine line between being busy and being productive.
You can be busy being productive but you cannot be productive being busy. You have to make
sure that when it comes to your goals, you are doing things that are productive in getting you
where you want to be. Don’t fill your day doing things that don’t benefit your goal because you
are waiting on someone else to provide you with the opportunity. You create your opportunity
and doors will open for you. Be clear in what you see and want for your life and do things with
the utmost intention. That is how you stay productive towards success.