“I’m tired. I’ve had such a busy day.”

I used to hear this often from a good friend who had his passion for work gradually eroded by bureaucracy, office politics, and inefficiency.

We had a running joke of how meetings are places where minutes are kept but hours are wasted. Unsurprisingly, he would often participate in these meetings with as much enthusiasm as an unwilling member of Alcoholics Anonymous.


Busyness ≠ Productivity

Being busy isn’t the same as being productive.

Busyness occupies all of your time and gets less work done. Productivity occupies less of your time and gets more work done.

Busyness is what happens when time is your master. Productivity is about making time your servant. Time is a bad master but can be a good servant.

Busyness drains you, but being productive fills you up with purpose, fulfillment, and invigorates your well-being.

Busyness ≠ Business

Busyness kills Business. We’re not just talking about business at work, but of business as usual; and our business of life is applicable to everyone.

Busyness gives us less time to think, hope, and dream.

Busyness shuts us in a box and amplifies our myopism at work.

Busyness can make one more irritable and less willing to see the good in people around them, especially in difficult situations.

Busyness ≠ Unsolvable

Start your day with a to-do list. Plan some milestones for the week you would like to achieve. One month from that week, you would be grateful that you did start on your to-do list on that very day.

Of course, your to-do list is not exclusive to your job. Think about how this can improve your everyday life.

On my end, I guard my private time fiercely. Activities such as spending time with my family, going to the gym, and reading are non-negotiable priorities in my week.

How you prioritise your time and what you get out of your efforts are inextricably linked. I’ve learnt the hard way that letting busyness take over your life is not worth the price. Do not let busyness kill what matters to you.


The very same friend I mentioned earlier in this post took on a job switch recently, and I managed to catch up with him after he settled into his new role. I was heartened to see him refreshed, happier, and finding greater purpose in his work.

A remark he made struck me.

“I used to be busy. Incredibly and uselessly busy. Now, I’m productive. Thankfully, I’ve finally learnt the distinction between the two.”

In business, busyness does not need to be the status quo. Challenge the concept of busyness and embrace productivity to focus on having more life in your years, rather than just having more years in your life.

It is admittedly easy to get caught in the hustle and bustle of work, life, and intersecting priorities. But you can make it difficult for busyness to get a hold on you. Don’t subscribe to the malaise of busyness.

Know what is important to you and make them a priority.

Don’t let busyness kill productivity. Don’t let busyness kill business.

More importantly, don’t let busyness overwhelm you and have time become your master.

You will only ever have 24/7, and never a single numeral beyond that. Cherish it and make time count.

Kill busyness, and be productive today.