busy vs productive

Busy vs Productive: 6 Key Characteristics of Productive Moms

The average mom spends about 1/3 of her day-to-day life as a “busy” mom. That is, she’s constantly running around, multitasking and trying to catch up on everything that needs to be done. But this busyness can often lead to feeling unproductive and overwhelmed – even though we’re working hard all the time!

The truth is that there are 6 key characteristics that make someone truly productive. So how do you know if you’re really being busy vs productive? Read more below for some helpful tips on how to feel like an incredibly productive mom without sacrificing your sanity! 

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Busy vs productive, is there a difference?

So is there a difference between being busy vs productive? Of course! Being busy typically means that you’re doing a lot of things but not getting a whole lot done. You can be busy with activities, busy with recreation or busy with chores – and still feel like you’re accomplishing nothing. Many moms know a lot about busyness. We are busy with not only the physical things required to keep our households running but also the mental load of motherhood as well!

Being productive, on the other hand, is about actually working through tasks that help you feel accomplished! Productive moms know how to get tasks completed that make a difference in their lives and their families lives so that there is forward movement.

How can I be productive instead of busy?

So what do productive moms know that busy people fail to understand? Well, moms who are productive instead of just busy all hold 6 key characteristics. These characteristics keep them getting stuff done and keep them off of the rat race of striving.

Want to know what separates the busy people from those who actually feel productive, here are 6 key characteristics of productive moms!

Be priority focused

Productive moms have clear priorities when creating their schedules. They are sure of their values and the things that matter the most to them and they know what needs to be done before everything else.

This includes not only knowing what should get done but also what doesn’t have to be done by you. Being productive is about prioritizing the things that matter and delegating, outsourcing, and automating the things that do not have as much weight.

Busyness is about getting tasks checked off of a to-do list, productivity encourages you to focus on the things that matter.

Be Goal oriented

Have you evaluated what your goals are? When you are productive vs just busy you are highly focused on your goals, you set purposeful goals consistently and you keep those goals as a priority.

Many productive moms have goals for each area of their life, and these goals help them to not only be able to determine how to plan out their days and weeks, but also helps them to easily and effectively create a working mom schedule that not only prioritizes their goals but breaks them up into realistic and manageable chunks.

Embrace balance

What is your relationship with living a balanced life? One of the most significant differences between being busy vs productive is the relative relationship with balance. When you are busy you are encouraged to strive and to hustle. Your to do list becomes king and you are always seeking ways to squeeze more tasks into your day.

You are encouraged to work in the margins of the day and to go, non-stop. Productivity, however, sings a different toon.

Productivity encourages you to embrace balance to find harmony and to work through your to-do list with a rhythm of work and rest. The things you do and the tasks you complete are not any more important than the time you take to find harmony between your work and home life.

Healthy Boundaries

Another distinct characteristic of those moms who are busy vs productive is whether or not they set healthy boundaries. Boundaries not only keep busy people from becoming overwhelmed but also help productive moms to value and respect their time as well as the time of those around them.

Boundaries not only prevent busyness but can protect you from burnout and self-neglect. Productive moms know how to set boundaries and maintain healthy relationships with others because they know that no matter how busy they are, their own health and prioritized rest is just as important as anything else.

Looking for more tips on time management? Check out all of our productivity resources

Let your output be greater than your input

Are you putting in more than you are getting out. This key characteristic of productive people reminds us that we should be working smarter not harder. We should remember that the equation for productivity is

Output > Input

That is to say, you should be creating schedules and routines that make a huge impact instead of simply running through a long to-do list that does not effectively help you achieve your goals.

Prioritized Rest

This last key is one that is probably the most important in my opinion. That is because mom exhaustion, burnout, and overwhelm all stem from this common issue, and that is a lack of prioritized rest.

Prioritizing rest looks like not working past your boundaries. It looks like actively creating sustainable and realistic schedules that include space for whatever rest looks like for you. It means saying no when you do not have the energy to continue on, and walking in the rhythm of working and resting that God created you for.

How can I be more productive?

Still not sure whether you are a productive mom or a not? Not to worry, regardless of the type of mom you have been in the past you can also learn a few new tricks that can help you create a more productive to-do list and existence. Here are 4 things that you can start doing today to be a more productive person.

Remove distractions

Distractions not only prevent us from focusing on what is important, but they also rob busy moms of valuable time and energy. The truth is, when you spend time doing busywork instead of actual work it cuts into your productivity and keeps you from achieving your goals.

Distractions can look like anything from social media to phone notifications, and it is important that busy moms learn not only how to eliminate distractions but also to prioritize time for productivity. Setting boundaries, delegating, automating, and outsourcing are great techniques for removing distractions that keep us busy and striving.

Create Effective to do lists

There are 5 major mistakes that many of us make when creating to do lists. They range from not writing your to do list down and relying on your memory to not keeping your to do list with you and handy at all times.

Overcoming these mistakes and making sure you are creating routines that are sustainable can help you to be more productive instead of just busy.

Stop multitasking

Multitasking is literally the biggest lie that productivity gurus tell us. We are encouraged to do multiple things at the same time, but the truth is, multitasking is never truly doing more than one thing at a time.

It’s simply single tasking without focus. Instead of putting good consistent energy into a single task you are focusing on many tasks at the same time and ruining your brains ability to do its best work. You may even find that multitasking ruins your ability to be productive.

Maintain margins

Margins in your schedule are the non-negotiable spots of rest that are pre-planned into your day. Maintaining the margins encourages us to think about our free time as sacred. It encourages you to see your down time, as non-negotiable and as part of your plan.

This looks like not stacking activities back to back, having a definitive stopping point for the day, and creating space to slow down in your schedule by using time management techniques such as time blocking.

Related: Successful Time Block Scheduling: 6 Steps you Need to Take Today!

Productivity wins every time

A common misconception is that being busy and productive are the same things. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In order to be productive, you must learn how to focus on your priorities, set healthy boundaries, and prioritize rest.

When we do these things our output is greater than what we put into our day-to-day tasks. If this sounds like something that could help you in your life right now then go ahead and get a copy of my new book Finding Time for more sustainable time management tips and planning strategies without feeling exhausted or overwhelmed by it all.

What are some of the most valuable productivity tips or lessons you have learned? We would love to hear from you!

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