What’s the opposite of being busy?

By August 15, 2018 February 13th, 2019 Life Hacks, Productivity

If I asked you what the opposite of being busy is, what would you say? Relaxing? Doing nothing? Wasting time?

What if I told you it was being productive, efficient and overall – being smarter with how you spend your day?

What's the opposite of being busy?Stop the glorification of BUSY!

We tend to use the idea or the feeling of being busy as a way of proving to ourselves (and others) that we are spending our time wisely. We think we’re doing things, taking action on our never ending to-do lists.

But when you take a step back and examine how you spend your time, what are you really doing? Is being “busy” actually something we should be aiming for or proud of?

How much time is spent “multi-tasking?” It’s been proven to be ineffective, so that’s one method we should be eliminating.

Then there’s the time spent on social media. You probably think the odd glance and scroll through Instagram or FaceBook does no harm but the time adds up without us realizing. Throw in the psychological impact where we start comparing our lives to perfectly posed and filtered photos and we’re just creating anxiety and the feeling of not being good enough.

And what about our never ending to-do lists? The tasks that we keep thinking up and adding leaving us with intimidating lists each day.

But hey, we’re just being busy right?

By glorifying being “busy”, we’re actually missing what we really want.

What’s the difference between being busy and being productive?

Take a look at these lists. Which one most resembles your life? Which one do you want?


  • Regularly or even constantly feeling anxious
  • There is always more that needs to be done – you can never get through all of your tasks for the day
  • Constantly working, but don’t seem to have the results and output to match
  • Always playing catch up – chasing time


  • Feeling in control of your workload
  • Having a limited number of goals and tasks for the day and usually completing them
  • Focusing on high yielding tasks
  • Having time to focus on creativity, reflection and long term planning as well as self care.

How do we switch to a productive mindset?

Start by paying attention to how you currently spend your day. Keep a diary or time log of EVERYTHING you do. Even if it’s only a couple of minutes spent on Twitter – log it. It all adds up – plus you might notice a dip in your focus and productivity if you struggle to refocus on work. Use a free app like RescueTime on your desktop to track what programs you use and how long.

Which tasks are really important? What are the high yielding tasks? That means thinking about where your time is best spent. What work will bring in new business, keep current customers or clients happy and help you build your company?

Begin to eliminate tasks that don’t meet this criteria. There might be some tasks that you can outsource. For example, you might need to organize your digital files or write new content for your website.

Those tasks are important and will help your business but, if it takes you away from work that only you can do and that will bring in business, you might save time and money by outsourcing.

(PS> You don’t even need to worry about spending time looking for someone – we’ve got you covered! Find out how to get an experienced and trusted member of The Simplifiers team to do those tasks for you HERE!)

Forget multi-tasking and long to-do lists. Set 3-5 realistic and achievable goals each day. The sense of accomplishment will help you build momentum and motivation. You’ll get more done if you’re focused in this way than if you are constantly overwhelmed.

Where is your time and attention best spent?

You know the saying: Work smarter, not harder? That’s what we want to be aiming for. Getting the most value out of our time and effort and being able to actually relax and enjoy our work!

So, the next time you hear someone telling you how “busy” they are, how many meetings and tasks they have to get through and how much running around they’re doing… Don’t try to compete. Being busy is not a sign of success nor is it something we should be aiming for.

Resources we recommend:

  • Moment – This app helps you keep track of exactly how much time you spend on your phone and how you spend it. You might be surprised to find out how much you check social media and the time you really spend scrolling!
  • Do Less, Be More by Martina Sheehan and Susan Pearse
  • The latest podcast episode from The Simplifiers featuring Yvonne Tally talking about breaking up with busy and giving practical advice and tips:

Have you heard our latest podcast episode?

Find all of our episodes hosted by our CEO – Mary Baird Wilcock, CSEP HERE!

The Simplifiers podcast

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