Developing an Attitude of Productivity

Developing an Attitude of Productivity

Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
–Psalm 90:12

How do you develop the attitude of productivity? Let me share with you some suggestions rooted in Scripture to develop productivity in your life.

First, clearly define your purpose in life. A clearly defined purpose is like a beacon in the darkness that gives you direction about which way to go in life. But a purpose statement also gives you the motivation to want to be productive. If you don’t know what you are doing or what your purpose is in life, then why should you get up early or work hard or manage your money well? Purpose gives you the motivation to live a productive life. In Ephesians 5:15-17, Paul said, “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Second, to be productive, spend your time effectively. Productive people don’t measure time in decades, years, or months; they measure time in hours and even minutes. Valuing time is a biblical concept. In Psalm 90:12, Moses wrote, “Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” He was talking about productivity. In James 4:14, James said, “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” The Greek word for “vapor” in this verse means a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Knowing how brief our existence is here on earth should cause us to manage time like a valuable commodity and make the most of our time.

Charles Schwab was an American industrialist who was the president of Bethlehem Steel in the early 1900s. He asked well-known consultant Ivy Lee to help him become more productive. He said to Lee, “Show me a way to get more things done with my time, and I will pay you any fee within reason.” Ivy Lee said, “Here is my advice. Tonight, before you go to bed, write down the most important tasks you have to do tomorrow and number them in order of importance. In the morning, begin on number 1 and stay on it till it’s completed. Then go to number 2. If a task takes all day, never mind. Stick with it as long as it’s the most important one. Make this a habit every working day. When it works for you, give it to your men. Try it as long as you like. Then send me your check for what you think it’s worth.” Charles Schwab took that challenge. After a couple of weeks, he sent Ivy Lee a check for $25,000. His advice had not only revolutionized Schwab’s life, but Schwab shared it with his workers. Within five years, Bethlehem Steel became the largest producer of steel in the world. Now that’s something every one of us can do. Tonight, before you go to bed, make a list of your five top priorities. That’s your to-do list for the next day. Start with number one until you’ve finished it, and then numbers two, three, four, and five. That’s what it means to make good use of your time.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Choosing Productivity Over Laziness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.