One of the most common mistake that small business owners make, is confusing being busy with being productive. This lesson is not only for small business owners, but for everyone.

Business Mistake 3: Confusing being BUSY with being PRODUCTIVE


  1. Busy people have many priorities, productive people have few priorities.

Nobody is ever too busy, if they care they will make time. Life is a question of priorities. If you have 3 priorities, you have priorities. If you have 25 priorities, you have a mess.

Busy people start their day with a long list of to do list (or at the other extreme, no to do list at all!), but productive people start their day with 3 major priorities that will have the most impact on their business or life, and never do anything else, until they are done with these 3.

Pareto’s principle states that 80% of your result will come from 20% of your activity. Productive people identify the 20% of the activities that result in 80% of their results and focus on that, but busy people give equal attention to all activities.


The easiest way to identify activities that are responsible for the most result, is to use Steven Covey’s four quadrants. We do not have enough space to discuss this in detail, but in summary, all activities can be classified into these four quadrants.

Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important : e.g Medical emergencies, Exams, Business crisis, Deadline driven activites, etc

Quadrant 2: Not Urgent and Important: e.g Study, personal development, Exercise, Training, courses and programmes, Business planning and strategy.

Quadrant 3: Urgent and not important: Activites that demand our attention, but adds little value, eg most phone calls, work interruptions, Visitors etc

Qudrant 4: Not urgent and not important: Eg pleasant activities that really waste time like watching the latest soap opera, telemundo, movies, chatting on whatsapp, gossip, etc


Productive people spend as little time as possible on the quadrant 3 and 4, they outsource quadrant 3 to office assistants.

Quadrant 1 are activities you cannot escape, but the most successful people spend 80% of their time in quadrant 2 activities, because they have the most leverage, and when you spend more time in quadrant 2 activities, you will have less of quadrant 1 activities.

Example, if you study, exams won’t be a problem. If you plan well, you will have fewer business crisis. If you discipline yourself to take daily exercise, you will reduce the risk of medical emergencies.

On the job Training for your staff  is a high leverage activity, because if you train your staff to do what you are doing and to do it well, it will free great amount of time for you. Training yourself is perhaps the greatest investment you can make in your life, but unfortunately, average people don’t do it.

Have you ever wondered why successful people and even billionaires, continue to attend business schools, go to seminars and workshops, read books constantly and just keep on learning? Super successful people never stop learning, average people believe they know it all, especially when they make a little money.  Failures on the other hand, are the hardest to teach. They have a serious disdain for knowledge, are highly opinionated and basically knows everything about everything. 10 years down the line, they are still frustrated with life.

  1. Busy people say YES quickly, but Productive people say yes slowly.

Warren Buffet’s definition of integrity is: “You say no to most things”.

If you don’t say “no” to most things, you are dividing your life up into millions of little pieces spread out amongst other people’s priorities.



  1. Busy people focus on action, productive people focus on results.  

Keep a diary and take 5 minutes every day to reflect on the past day, on what worked, on what didn’t work; and some time on what inspires you. This will be your greatest resource if well documented. It will show you the activities that gave you the most reward, and steer you clear of activities that simply waste your time.

  1. Productive people are focused and reduce sources of distraction.

Busy people wants to belong everywhere. They belong to many gossip pages on facebook, so once they open their face book, It is filled with lots of useless distraction and they end up wasting hours of their time.

You should quickly exit and unfollow groups that are basically trash. Also unfollow friends that only post cats and dogs pictures or worse. They will only distract you. You have one shot at life, make it count.

The rule is, whatever do not  add value to your life, should go.

  1. Busy people talk about how little time they have, Productive people make out time for what is important.

If you allow yourself to practice excuses, you will get better and better at excuses. Productive people don’t use time as an excuse. An action either supports their highest values and mission, or it does not. If it does not, they don’t do it – even if they have a whole day off.

  1. Busy people talk about how they will change, Prodcutive people are making those changes.

Spend less time talking about what you will do and dedicate that time to creating the first step. What can you do now that requires the approval of nobody else? What can you do with the resources, knowledge and support that you have now? Do that. It is amazing how the universe rewards the person who stops talking and begins.

Have a great day !
Engr Ifeanyi Okoro
Millionaires Academy

( NB: Millionaire Academy has prepared the most extensive entrepreneurship course in Nigeria to date.
From basic business training, to skill acquisition, to training in Agriculture like Poultry, Piggery, Fishery, etc …. ICT like FOREX trading, Affiliate Marketing…… Manufacturing like slippers making, fertilizer production, etc …… Services and lots more. We welcome all youths to join this program.
Please if you wish to benefit from this program, simply click on this link www.register.millionaire.ng

If you missed business mistake no 2, click here



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