“Focus on being productive instead of being busy” — Tim Ferriss

2 min readSep 22, 2020
courtesy of Artem Podrez from pexels.com

It doesn’t matter how much we want it but being busy does not mean we are automatically productive and Tim Ferriss, American entrepreneur, investor, author, and podcaster, knows this well.

So what does he mean when he says “Focus on being productive instead of being busy.” And how can this be applied in our everyday lives?

There are a few tactics Ferriss recommends to be actually productive and get things done:

  1. Find out and focus on the tasks that get the most out of your time. Here you can use the 80/20 rule which means get 80% of your results from 20% of the tasks you do.
  2. Because it is easy to use the lunch break or other things as an excuse, you should wake up in the morning and get things done before 11 AM. Wake up, get a coffee, and start being productive. You will feel like you got a weight off your shoulder, I promise!
  3. Get help with the help of technology. Use software, virtual assistants, applications, etc. to get your smaller and annoying tasks done that you don’t need to do yourself.

To be able to recognise which tasks are most important you should try to use the process of elimination. Write down 3–5 things that you know you need to work on and pick the most important ones. Here, you should look at each task and ask yourself if you would be satisfied with your day’s work to have the task done. Getting that one task done, would that make the others seem less important? Would it also make it easier to accomplish the other tasks later on?

This is how you select the task you should focus on first.

Still, keep in mind that we are all human and yes we get distracted from time to time. Yes, we get tired or lose concentration. But try to make the most out of the time you have.

As a result:

The quote “Focus on being productive instead of busy,” is only a way to tell us that we cannot get everything done in a single day. To be busy all the time isn’t better because you do not necessarily get more things done. If you struggle with being productive remind yourself that being busy is a form of lazy thinking and it keeps you in your comfort zone by doing small and not productive tasks instead of finishing big and uncomfortable tasks that actually need to be done first.

Again, we are all human. We only have a certain amount of productivity in us for a day. So try to use it wisely.


Bryant, J. (2016). Focus On Being Productive Instead Of Busy — Tim Ferriss. Retrieved from https://selfmadesuccess.com/focus-on-being-productive-instead-of-busy-tim-ferriss/.




As an international college student myself, I want to help, inspire, and motivate you! Check out the link below⬇ https://www.instagram.com/thestudentlifehacks/