What is an English word/expression/idiom for a "person who doesn't waste time"?

Especially a person who doesn't look for excuses when she/he should be doing something productive e.g. working, cleaning, cooking

  • 1
    Could you provide us with some more context? If you're talking about work-related time management I would say that someone is well-organised or productive.
    – Vlammuh
    Aug 16, 2015 at 12:15
  • 1
    Also some who means business doesn't waste time. Aug 16, 2015 at 12:23
  • 4
    More context, please!
    – Eilia
    Aug 16, 2015 at 12:23
  • 3
    Efficient. Or "time-efficient", if you prefer.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 16, 2015 at 20:11
  • 5
    Imaginary person
    – PleaseHelp
    Aug 17, 2015 at 14:51

15 Answers 15


A no-nonsense person just gets it done.

  • 11
    This answer is a case in point. Kudos.
    – Mazura
    Aug 16, 2015 at 20:29
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    Looks like this is what I was looking for, thanks.
    – Maldin
    Aug 16, 2015 at 20:38
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    No-nonsense really is more about being strict and unwavering, not so much that you don't waste time.
    – insaner
    Aug 18, 2015 at 11:33
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    @insaner Indulging in nonsense is a waste of time.
    – TylerH
    Aug 18, 2015 at 15:02

industrious could work

From Merriam Webster:

constantly, regularly, or habitually active or occupied : diligent e.g. an industrious worker


This person is diligent.

From Oxford Dictionaries Online:

Having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties.


You may like

busy bee

Noun 1. busy bee - an alert and energetic person

synonyms: eager beaver, ... doer, actor, worker

a person who acts and gets things done ... a zealously energetic person (especially a salesman)

Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

Another informal term is a grafter.

  • So funny... As childish as it sounds, sometimes "busy bee" is the best expression. (I still catch myself using it, from time to time.)
    – Oldbag
    Aug 16, 2015 at 15:21
  • 11
    Except that, to many, "busy bee" has a connotation of wasted motion.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 16, 2015 at 20:12

"To be all business or strictly business".


strictly business

  1. a person who is very businesslike and does not waste time with nonbusiness matters

If you want a single (albeit compound) word, you can say businesslike:



  1. conforming to, attending to, or characteristic of business.

  2. efficient, practical, or realistic.

However, personally, I find "businesslike" on its own a little weak, so if you want to suggest great focus, you might want to say very businesslike or totally businesslike.

Highly focussed is another phrase to consider.

Purposeful and pragmatic are also good words, but they have a slightly wider scope of meaning.


Without context, it's difficult to understand what you mean by "waste time". It's too broad and may refer to: leisure time and entertainment, commuting, stopping to work and chat for a few minutes, watch soap operas and sitcoms, wait for someone, wait in line, etc.

If it's about work, a workaholic is a person who compulsively works for long hours and finds no time for leisure.

  • workaholic" - (noun) a person who chooses to work a lot : a person who is always working, thinking about work. - My brother is a real workaholic who almost never takes time off. MW

Efficient is another one. From Google:

  • Achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.
  • Working in a well-organized and competent way.
  1. A real go getter - An aggressively enterprising person
  2. On the ball - Indicating competence, alertness, or intelligence

From the Oxford Dictionary

  • Citation in the future please.
    – Yeshe
    Aug 17, 2015 at 4:33
  • go-getter was my first thought.
    – stevesliva
    Aug 17, 2015 at 5:32

I like EleventhDoctor's suggestion of "diligent", but if you want another alternative, consider "on task", also sometimes spelled with a hyphen, "on-task".

"On task" is defined by dictionary.com as "concentrating or focusing on what is to be done".


assiduous - adjective: showing great care and perseverance.

From Oxford Dictionaries


First thought was:


The adjective form of gumption:

Noun, Informal.

initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness

(Oxford English Dictionary)

It's similar to industrious (see answer from Sky). It's not my favourite sounding word though ...

  • 2
    Was your first thought, "gumption?" In any event, you've misspelled it. (And I can't do a 1-character edit) +1, though.
    – stevesliva
    Aug 17, 2015 at 5:30
  • @stevesliva, gumption yes, however I went with the adjective version - as in a person with gumption is gumptious ... I've updated the answer to reflect this. It's very odd, I thought I copied and pasted the word, hence not checking. It's interesting to see that as it is my browser spell check is underlining it, however if I search for the word it turns up in the link provided. Aug 17, 2015 at 6:01

Somebody who uses all the available hours of the day, particularly to slave away on some task or project, is burning the candle at both ends.


This refers more to the duration than efficiency or intensity of the effort. But they are making the most of their time on earth (another idiom you might consider).


Focused, concentrated, all refer to not deviating from the task or wasting time. You could even use fixated in proper context.


A "doer" is one who does rather than thinks about doing

Doer - a person characterized by action, as distinguished from one given to contemplation.



The connotations of relentless are conventionally negative, but sometimes the word is used in a positive way.

When you're relentless about something, you mean business. You're not stopping until you get what you want, and you're not taking "no" for an answer.

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