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In any given workplace, the rate of productivity is a big deal. It is a determining factor of the overall performance of a team. When employees are happy and motivated, productivity rises and the company benefits in terms of output and revenue.

It is also a common notion that when workers are constantly busy, it means higher productivity. However, this is not always the case. Checking and answering all your emails for example may make you busy, but it does not necessarily translate into productivity.

Working long hours in the office makes you busy, but it is also not a guarantee of actual productivity. Holding long meetings will also make you seem busy, but it could actually hamper overall productivity.

Both workers and employers would most likely prefer productivity rather than being busy. Being productive gives a sense of fulfillment and it can help you easily reach goals on schedule. In other words, being productive means being highly efficient on the job.

It is easy to fall off the track of productivity especially if you don’t know the difference between being busy and being actually productive – the two are constantly mixed-up. There are habits employed by productive people that can tell us the difference from busy people, here are three of them:

Being Productive Means Learning to Say NO

You might have already encountered a “yes man” (or woman) in the course of your professional life. These are the people who say yes to whatever the boss says without asking a question or batting an eye.

It is normal of course to do your boss’s bidding because that is always a given part of the job. The problem arises when you still have a task that is due for completion, but instead of doing that first, you are now stacked with tasks after tasks that would eventually result to a delay in all your projects.

So learn to say no. Acquiring many tasks at once may make you busy, but it could affect your productivity for many reasons – most likely, you can’t reach the deadline or worse, you might get burned out in the process.

Being Busy Means Working on So Many Goals, Being Productive Means Focusing on Just One Goal

Just like dealing with day to day tasks, busy people tend to take on so many goals at once that it gets harder for them to accomplish or even track their own progress. Productive people however sticks to one goal, and employ unique ideas and step-by-step processes towards achieving that goal.

Being Productive Means Looking out for New Ideas, Being Busy Clouds the Formation of New Ideas

Even though productive people have a one-track mind when it comes to accomplishing a goal, it does not mean that they limit themselves to just one idea. Productive people are always on the lookout for new ideas that can speed up their work or improve a systematic approach to it. Most busy people however tend to miss out on ideas because they are constantly filling their plate with tasks after tasks.

If you think your habits are more inclined towards being productive, then good for you! However, if you think that your current habits veer towards being the busy type, just remember that there is always room for improvement. Don’t rush into these habits, do it gradually – you can start clearing up your day to day tasks in manageable quantities and master the habit of productivity from there.