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4 Musts For Significant Productivity

Work less, achieve more. Sounds great, but is it realistic? Yeah, actually, it is–and simpler than you might expect.
A few months ago I test-drove a truckload of tricks, tactics and tools that promised to add hours to my day. I devoured Tim Ferris’ The Four Hour Work Week and Todd Duncan’s Time Traps. I downloaded desktop alarms and project tracking software. I banished low-impact tasks from my planner and attacked similar tasks in batches. I called my email from my car, firing off messages through a voice recognition device. I downloaded audio books so I could “read” while driving, standing in line at the post office or cleaning the house.
Some of these tricks and tools did ease my workload. Others didn’t fit my lifestyle and just burned extra daylight, batteries and brain cells.
As I reflect on my immersion into productivity tips an gadgets, I’m reminded of four unchanging principles that work for all of us, all the time. (And, wouldn’t you know it, the Scriptures had them recorded long ago.)
1. Good time or project management stems from good self management. One common trait successful people share is the discipline to do the right thing even when it hurts. They understand that significant fruitfulness can’t exist without structure and self control.
If you’re struggling to maximize your time and outcomes, try focusing on managing yourself instead. What’s holding you back? What bad-habit triggers (think television, online networking . . . whatever’s hindering you) can you minimize or remove from your path?
2. People who produce significant results consistently monitor what goes into their minds. It’s been said you can judge someone’s bank account by the size of his or her library: People with tiny bank accounts tend to have no libraries, but usually have big TVs. If you’re letting junk in, junk is what you’ll produce.
3. Innovative producers take time to think. Author and PR veteran Mark DeMoss writes in his Little Red Book of Wisdom, “Everyone, it seems, is busy designing, writing, buidling, producing, implementing–unfortunately, too much of it is divorced from good thinking.” Henry Ford, says Mark, called thinking “the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it.”
Why do you do what you do, the way you do it? Is there a more effective way?
4. Purpose-driven professionals recognize that how they start each day affects how they finish it. Henry Ward Beecher called the first hour of the day the “rudder” of the day, effectively directing how the rest will go. Career coach Dan Miller writes, “If you get up late, grab a cup of bad coffee and a Twinkie, rush to work fuming at the idiots in traffic, and drop down exhausted at your desk at 8:10, you have set the tone for your day. Everything will seem like pressure and your best efforts will be greatly diluted.”
How about starting each day with a time of focused meditation, prayer and prioritizing? This practice alone will kick you into high-energy, conquer-the-world mode for the rest of the day. Give it a try. (I double-dog dare ya.)
Until next time, don’t hesitate to drop me a note and let me know how you’re doing and how I can help.
Wishing you a blessed weekend and a kick-butt week,


Related Scriptures:
Psalm 90:12  |  Ephesians 5:15-17  |  1 Corinthians 9:26-27  |  Proverbs 6:9-11   |  Romans 12:2  |  Psalm 119:11   |  Luke 14:28   |  Matthew 14:22-203 

Note: Our email subscribers received approximately 8 other related resources you won’t see here… but you can rectify that in the future (and get some other goodies) by signing up for our e-newsletter right here. (That’s a hint!)


8 Responses

  1. Andrea: thanks again for some more great insights. Thanks for your discernment (we know where that comes from) and wisdom above your years!

    Another great resource you and your readers might not know about is Eric Beck. He has a company and with great modules for improving the way one does business called Total Integration as well as software called Master Plan for planning etc, the best I’ve ever seen or worked with. One can go to Total Integration.com or TImasterplan.com

    Keep up the great work.


  2. Larry, you’re going to spoil me with all the kind comments (But keep them coming 🙂

    Thanks for the resource links, I’ll be sure to check them out!

    Have a great weekend.


  3. Hi Andrea. I was considering picking up The Four Hour Work Week based on another recommendation this week. Is it worth my time?

  4. Hi, Michele,

    I’d say there is definitely some brilliant advice in The Four Hour Work Week, but at the same time there is some questionable advice I had to throw out the window, so you’ll just have to use some discernment.

    One downside of Tim Ferris’ approach is that he seems to view people as nuisances and will go to great lengths to cut conversations short and keep from being “bothered” by others. (That kinda goes against the whole biblical approach of serving others and building relationships.)

    That said, I’m sure you’ll find some great tips and practices in there that will help you get more done in less time.

    Another nugget from the book is the concept of “lifestyle/workstyle design,” or living an abundant life now as opposed to waiting for retirement to do everything you ever wanted to do.

    So, in short, I found both great and crummy advice in there. (By the way, no one believes the author only works 4 hours per week.)

    I hope this helps — thanks for the question!


    ps: Everyone else: Feel free to disagree and post your thoughts if you’ve read the book.

  5. Thanks Andrea!

  6. James Earl Jones Audio Bible Giveaway!…

    James Earn Jones reads the bible… If you haven’t listened to the James Earl Jones Audio Bible then you are missing out. I remember listening to cassette tapes of this back in the day, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology it is now on CD. T…

  7. Thanks for the article highlighting todd duncan, he is a a mentor of mine from the past and helped to encourage my vision to assist individuals reach levels of Christian Success that they could only dream of. Thanks again.

    Doug Vincent, America’s #1 Christian Success Mentor

  8. Andrea,

    New to the High Calling Blogs network and just came across your blog; very cool.

    It’s funny that you mention this subject, because it has been one of my guiding principles…I would and do get so frustrated by people who simply react to life and work. I think human laziness causes us to simply take the easy way and just *do* instead of thinking, then doing. A lot of young men do this, and then have work-related midlife crisis’ three decades later due to bad decisions when they were young.

    What it all comes down to is the most ardent worker with a shovel will still get beat by a drunk with a bulldozer; most people just use a shovel because they already have one in the shed.



    “Lateral Thinking Writ Large”

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