Productivity or Activity?

Gears EngineeringSometimes you just don’t have time to waste, you know? You’ll sit down to do something and you find yourself involuntarily doing a bunch of things simultaneously, or at least it feels like it.

Problem is, unless you’re careful, the end result isn’t always as productive as you want need it to be. Reason being is that inevitably there are things that need to take priority and when you allow yourself to be distracted by other things that “appear” as though they need to be done, what absolutely must be done takes a back seat and you’re not aware of it until the day is almost finished.

It’s subtle, isn’t it? It’s not that you’re not doing anything. You’re glued to your workspace. Perhaps your friends and family have commented to you how it seems as though you’re always working. But when it comes time to get paid, you’re not pulling in the kind of revenue you need to and you find yourself feeling a little uncomfortable when you’re asked “What have you been doing?”

Time flies, especially when you’re trying to keep more than one plate spinning, and you can’t afford to be less than brilliant when it comes time to be productive.

I like looking to Scripture for help when it comes time to structure my day. Think about it! Jesus had three years of ministry time. Can you imagine trying to map out all that needed to be done during that time frame? Can you envision planning out each day down to the minute to ensure that every miracle, every conversation, every aspect of Jesus’ ministry was accomplished in a timely fashion?

Frankly, for me it’s hard to get my mental arms around that kind of a dynamic. I can make lists, but I’m still “all over the map” sometimes and a self-help book about how to be more productive isn’t as appealing as the kind of Wisdom that’s coming from Someone Who truly knows “busy.”

So what does God’s Word say about “productivity” versus “activity?”

Consider the following:

I) Make sure you’re spending time with Christ, first and foremost.

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Lk 10:38-40)

Regardless of what needs to be done, get up early enough so you can get your spiritual top button buttoned correctly. Get that right and the rest of your shirt will look fine. Otherwise, you’re one disheveled looking individual.

 II) Plan

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, not to be hasty and miss the way. (Prov 19:2)

The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.          (Prov 21:5)

Don’t just “get busy.” When you’ve got a lot on your plate, don’t mistake “zeal” for “smart.” Take a moment and plan. Figure out what your “big ticket” items are. What’s producing? What’s due first? Allocate the necessary time to get those things done first and then you can spread yourself out over the other items that you’re needing to get accomplished.

III) Pray

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (Jas 1:5)

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess 5:16-18)

It says in Proverbs 20:24 “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?”

Does it not make sense to keep in mind that “your day” has already been mapped out (Psalm 139:16)? So why then would you not want to not just include Christ, but be seeking His Perspective at every turn?

Ask for the wisdom you need in order to be not just efficient in the way you do something, but also accurate in determining what needs to be done to begin with.

Pray. And not just once, but throughout the day (1 Thess 5:16-18).

The great thing about all this is that at the end of the day, you’re not just basking in the fulfillment that comes from having had a productive day, you’re also at peace with what didn’t get done. How’s that? It’s because you’re not just going by a calendar and a bank statement. You’re basing your ambitions and your activity on the Spirit of God within you and letting Him call the shots (Phil 2:13).

Pretty sweet, yes?

Now go get something done!



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