Productivity has been on my mind lately. I have a list of post-it-notes and journals that are laying on my desk. They are flipped open to random pages that are filled with notes, reminders, checklists and to-do lists. I have two planners; one for my goals and my business and the other for school and work. I’m constantly looking for ways do improve my productivity and to get more things done. I honestly hate wasting time. This can be a good mindset as God calls us to use our time wisely. Although sometimes, I catch myself obsessing over productivity and it can get unhealthy.
Let me be clear. Productivity is very important but putting it before God makes it an idol.
God emphasizes the importance of rest in the Bible. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Jesus calls out Martha for being overly productive, distracted, and busy. Mary decided to sit at Jesus’ feet and simply delight in Jesus’ presence. So simple. Yet at the same time, it was spiritually productive. She was seeking first the kingdom.
It’s so easy, in our microwave culture, to compare ourselves with others and want results fast. This can sometimes lead to overloading our plate and cause us to not fully understand that results take time. This mindset can lead to burnout. I am learning that I have to surrender my goals to God and do the best that I can, but ultimately leave the results up to Him. The Bible says that God will establish those that love Him. I will put works into my faith but I will not let my works consume me.
To have a healthy balance of life and work, I have learned to simplify productivity. When I started simplifying productivity, it allowed me to think long term and to trust God in the process. I’ve been able to set aside quality time for family and time for my other passions like reading, stretching, and drawing. Simplifying productivity also allows smaller steps to be taken each and every day instead of large projects every now and the then. Simplifying productivity also creates a lifestyle of balance and grace.
Productivity shouldn’t be complicated! So how can we simplify it??
1. Set aside a time for God before each day. Even if it’s just 10-20 minutes. We need God’s wisdom for each day. We need to be reading His word everyday. His word encourages us and increases our faith.
2. Have a big picture. Make weekly goals that will add up to the big picture over time. And make each weekly goal simple. Example: 4 weekly goals= 1 month goal. Quality over quantity.
3. 20 minutes a day rule! Want to get better at something? Want to tackle a project? Don’t overload yourself. 20 minutes a day works wonders!
4. Instead of a long to do list for the week. Narrow it down to 2-3 things to do each day. Work smarter not harder.
5. Clean a little when you wake up, clean a little when you go to bed.
6. Instead of 1 hour workouts 2/3 times a week. Do 20 minutes of exercise everyday. It could be high intensity or stretching. Just do something.
7. Remind yourself that success doesn’t happen overnight. Great things take time.
8. Rest is important. Rest is productive. So please, rest.
9. Invest in organization. Organization makes productivity simpler and easier long term. Organize your finances and paperwork. Everything has a home. Keep it there.
10. Stay thankful and motivated. Always have a “why” for everything you do. Let your “why” be your fuel.
Keeping things simple and consistent has a greater effect over time than doing large amounts of work at random times. Stay encouraged by taking smaller steps.
Hopefully this was helpful and an encouragement to you.
Grace and Peace.