Do You Know the Difference Between Busy vs. Productive?

All moms are busy.  I’ve never met a mom who didn’t say they were busy.  There is always something to do, something to clean, something to work on.

As moms, we spend our days rushing around from one thing to the next, trying to fit just one more thing into our already busy day.  We over commit and then refuse to let anything go to the point of driving ourselves crazy. We run ourselves ragged without giving ourselves time to relax.  We are constantly hounded by our never-ending mental list of to dos.

Find out the difference between being busy and being productive and discover why being productive is so much more valuable.  

However, there is a significant difference between being busy and being productive. Doing a lot doesn’t necessarily mean accomplishing a lot.  If you think about it, you probably already knew that, but let's take a closer look anyway.  

Take for example a day spent at home.  You spend your entire day cleaning the bathroom, picking up toys, making meals and overall being very busy. Then, at the end of the day you find that, someone has left their towel on the floor in the bathroom, the living room still has toys all over, and your son is still complaining that he’s hungry. You have been busy all day, but when you look back you feel utterly unproductive because you have nothing to show for all your hard work.   

We mamas need to stop wearing our busyness as a badge of pride.  There is no need to one up the next mom in regards to how busy we are.  It’s not an accomplishment to constantly be running around doing lots of things. Accomplishments come from getting things done, making a difference to ourselves and those around us, reaching goals.

If you are having trouble being productive, there can be a variety of culprits.  Let’s take them one by one.

busy vs productive

Culprit 1: Lack of Planning

One part of the problem may be that you are spending so much time being busy that you don’t take the time to plan your days and work towards specific goals.

When you are overwhelmed with everything that you need to do, planning can seem like a big waste of time. However, planning will actually save you so much time in the long run. The time you spend planning will be more than made up with the increased efficiency with which you will be able to do whatever you need to get done.  

busy vs productive

Culprit 2: Lack of Motivation

A second part of the problem might be your inability to stay motivated or stay on task. You might awaken charged up and ready to take on the day only to have something happen that completely throws off your game.  This could be realizing you forgot to do something earlier in the day, getting an emergency call, spilling coffee on yourself; pretty much anything that makes you mad at yourself or frustrated.

In a previous post, I talked about little tricks you can use to stay on track when stuff like this happens.  It is impossible to prevent all accidents or emergencies, but we can be better prepared to react to such situations.

Culprit 3: Your Definition of Productivity

Another part of the problem might lie in your definition of productivity.  I have a lot of things going on in my life, but most of all, I value my family and my goals. Each day I make plans and each day new curve-balls come that can throw me off course. My view of productivity relates to how I spend my time when with my family and what I am doing to achieve my goals. Instead of looking for a clean house as a sign of a productive day, I look for happy kids and progress towards my goals, however slight.  

By my definition, a productive day is one in which you take action on tasks that will bring you one step closer to your goals, no matter how small or incremental, as well as one in which you show your spouse and kids how much you love them. If those two things happen during the day, then you have had a productive day.

busy vs productive

I don’t always have the cleanest house, I don’t pack bento box lunches, and all of our projects are not Pinterest-worthy. However, I make time to play with each of my children daily, I do at least 1 thing every day to move me in the direction of my goals, and I take pride in my work.  

Our goal as mamas should not be to figure out how to pack infinitely many things into one day, but instead to include the right things into our day.  The mamas who appear to have it all together aren’t the ones doing everything, although it may sometimes seem that way.  In reality, these are the mamas that are choosing their priorities and getting those things done as best as humanly possible.

There are definitely ways to get more things done in a day, in fact we will go through a huge variety of techniques on how to better manage our time in this book. However, there is no way to get everything done in one day, unless of course your list of everything you need to do is 3 things long.

Therefore, in order to have productive days, we need to get over our desire to be busy for the sake of being busy.  We also need to spend some time thinking about what is really important to us. This means as far as both our priorities and our goals.  Let’s make a commitment to prioritize the things that make us happy and fulfilled, the things that improve the lives of our loved ones and the world at large, and the things that bring us closer to our dream life.  

Does that seem awesome and yet super unattainable? Do you wonder how that can possibly jive with the mountain of dishes you don’t even want to look at and the mess of toys in the living room? I’ve been there mama. Just take it step by step and it will all fit together like your kid’s ABC puzzle. This is probably a lot better than my kids’ ABC puzzle since the dog ate one of the letters. But, you get the point.

Next week, we will be talking about how we can get our selves on track with goal setting. In the mean time, I have 2 spots left for people interested in testing out my new journal for FREE. You can read my post about it here. If you are interested, just send  quick email to



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