Never confuse activity with productivity

Busy? So am I. What we need to be clear about is to not let busy-ness take over from business!

Never confuse activity with productivity

Marcia Griffin

Everywhere I go and everyone I speak to is saying the same thing – “I am so busy”. I heard someone today say that we are addicted to busy-ness and I think that is right.

The thing that worries me about all busy-ness is that I am sure it is stressful from two perspectives. As human beings we need rest and relief and mental replenishment, and secondly if all we are being is simply busy and not productive, are we achieving goals that satisfy us and encourage us to move on?

Working with CEOs I see that without a clear vision and goals for the business there is a great chance that busy-ness can take over from business!

In my own life I can see that the same can happen unless I am clear about my priorities. I know that I feel better when I am busy – I like telling people how busy I am – strange, when as a CEO I dreamed of being less busy.

So what is all this busy-ness about?

I think it has partly to do with the pace of life and change – facilitated by the internet and all the incredible communication technology that brings us information from around the world as it happens – and if we are people who like to participate, we feel we need to remain connected and active.

I was quite shocked recently to meet up with a friend who admitted that she has not tuned into the internet at all. I could not imagine my life without emails, but I thought later about the need to achieve balance and to ensure that I was not addicted to the mobile phone and to emails simply for the sake of being busy and staying in contact for its own sake, rather than for a valued and valuable purpose.

So it is with CEOs. Every day can be packed with activities that seem urgent but add no real value to our lives or business, or each day can be another step on the way to achieving long-term goals – with all the satisfaction that brings.

Next time I am asked if I am busy I am going to answer in a different way. I am going to say “life is very fulfilling, I am doing things from which I get great satisfaction”.

I am expecting that this will make me reflect more on the value and purpose of what I am doing and in turn encourage the CEOs I work with to ensure that they are focused on things that will give the real rewards they want rather than simply another busy day.

To do this of course clear and valuable goals are required.



To read more Marcia Griffin blogs, click here.



Elizabeth Einhorn-Biran writes: Great idea, fabulous web-site, wonderful performance. Wishing you success and “great satisfaction”, I am adopting your axioma; “I am not busy, just performing wonderful things in life”. Thank you.

Cathie Kennedy writes: A very timely and thought provoking article on a “social issue” that plagues most of us. Not being able to report “I am so busy” to colleagues and friends implies a boring unfulfilled existence. Why do we judge others and ourselves by how busy they are rather than how successfully and happily they live their lives? I am sure you will get many questions regarding your revised response, which will challenge others also, (as you were challenged) and lead to greater understanding of each other and what gives us satisfaction in our lives- meaning, purpose and fulfilment. Well done Marcia. Keep blogging. 



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