Do you work hard or are you a workaholic? Yes, there is a difference between these two concepts. Everyone likely agrees that working hard means you are highly productive.

But simply being busy and obsessed with work does not mean you are productive.

That may seem like a shock, but it is the truth for many. They may be productive to some point. But they are not as productive as they could be.

See, everywhere we turn, people seem to delight in commenting how busy they have been when you ask them how their week is going.

In fact, people need to stop thinking that hustling 24/7 is the way to be productive. This will actually lead to frustration, depression, burn out, poor health, a lack of mental clarity and strains in relationships over time.

There are habits, systems and processes that can help you work smarter. And work with less stress.

Those who feel stressed feel like they are so busy running around like a chicken with its head cut off. They cannot focus on one thing and they seem like a whirlwind that is creating yet more chaos as things get more disorganized and as projects are left unfinished.

You can be productive and not be a workaholic. You can write down what you have to do and then check items off your list as you get them done. Focus on one thing at a time instead of your attention being divided on multiple projects with a few minutes here and a few minutes there.

Working on many things at once really clutters your mind, hinders your focus and does not make efficient use of your time as this will actually slow you down.

Set aide a certain amount of time for emails. Don’t feel like you have to check emails every five minutes. If they have to wait to the next day to be answered, that is fine. Don’t let email rule your time.

If you are busy, leave a message on your business phone saying you are in a meeting or working on a project and that you will return calls once you are available. There is nothing shameful in turning your phone off. You don’t have to let people bombard you with their calls and demands. Take calls on your own time when it is convenient for you.

You do not have to feel that no one else can do your work when you are away. Let them do it. If you have to be away for some reason, just focus on your life and don’t think about work. That will also give you fresh perspective and new focus for when you actually do return to work. This fresh perspective and new focus will contribute to your productivity.

Workaholics think that by working so much they are showing complete dedication to their company and job.

But the fact is that the company may not really appreciate them, but is only using them so it does not have to hire more people to pay them a higher salary.

Create the work and life balance you desire. You deserve it. That is being productive for both work and for yourself. Life isn’t just about work. It is about life, love, family, hobbies, pets, fun, laughter and whatever you enjoy.

That’s one of the benefits of building Speedlancer. We’re able to build a platform that lets us — and our customers — use freelance workers to take back our time, while being more productive than ever before.