Stop Being so Busy…and Start Getting Things Done

When someone asks you “how’ve you been?”, do you often respond with “so busy”? 

Our culture tends to glorify being busy, but we know from research and our experience with clients that being busy does not always mean being productive. In fact, being busy can stand in the way of productivity, because when you’re busy, you often don’t feel in control. Busy is living by default. Productive is living by design.

We are at the start of the lazy days of summer when many people look forward to time-off and getaways. But did you know that at least half of American workers forfeit vacation because they fear getting too far behind? Many of those that do take a vacation bring their work with them.

We have such a busy culture and ppl wear busy as a badge. We have to shift this in our own lives. We have claimed how busy we are, influencing others to claim it too, and it’s not impactful. It doesn’t mean we are productive or growing or making impact. We are stuck in reaction mode. Great leaders can’t lead from this place, or create other great leaders or inspire a team in this place.

First step is truth. 

Are you Busy or Productive? 

Review these differences and see which one resonates the most with you.



Your calendar and email drive your workday
You have strategic time blocks on your calendar
You start and end your day feeling behind
You wake up ready and even excited to start the day
You feel burned out
You are energized by your output
You cancel a meeting/commitment more than 2x/week
You are slow to add something else to the calendar
You say “yes” more than “no”
You say “no” more than “yes”


If you found that you are busy and not productive, you’re not alone. We mentioned the statistic that 50% of workers don’t feel like they can take their paid vacation because they fear being too behind at work. So half of workers feel this, but we want to see you shift into the half that don’t.


The key to shifting into productivity is this: Knowing what matters. We talk about this constantly in our workshops and coaching environments. The best filter for your entire life is: what matters.

Take a moment right now and consider the top three things that come to mind when you are asked, “What is most important to you?”

The ultimate result of knowing this is that it becomes a filter for what you allow in and what you don’t. It helps clarify what is a “Yes” and what is a “No”. It informs people and requests where to stand and when YOU are available. Getting this right creates a massive shift that shows up on your calendar, in your work, and at home and with the people you care about. 

There is a stat in an Inc. article that says “Productive people cut their to-do list by 50 percent each day.” This is because their eyes are set on what matters most and they have a filter to weed through all the requests, demands, and priorities. And how much happier, fulfilled, and energetic we would all be if we could live this out. 

We love to connect leaders to what matters. It’s why we launched Interleap. We know that when we get clear on these things, the payoff is total life change.