Are there inefficiencies in life that frustrate you? How do you feel when you are waiting in the drive through for your morning coffee? Some people and situations make us think about productivity, primarily when it causes any inconvenience to us and when we think there must be a better way! Productive doesn’t always translate to effective and when we think about our lives, it makes the tension between these two measures even more compelling. How do I spend my time for the greatest effectiveness? I often struggle with using my time productively and effectively.
We all want our life to count but in this day of information overload it’s easy to get distracted. Emails and texts constantly fill my phone. Blogs need to be read. One web search leads to another, leading to lots of wasted time. We all suffer from CPA: continuous partial attention. So how do we get more of the right things done without confusing our activity for productivity and effectiveness?
God, through the apostle Paul, gives us the fundamental passage on time management.
Doing the right thing, for the right reason and at the right time is the sweet spot of success. Sometimes being stretched by too many tasks in life others are making the choices for me and I bet it’s the same for you. We often confuse being busy with being productive with little Margin. Accepting every opportunity, squeeze in one more commitment, one more phone call, one more email. We operate on the principle of scarcity rather than abundance and are tempted to take everything on all at once! Change your thinking and it will change your life.
In ancient times, Moses father in law Jethro was the first life coach and business consultant. Watching Moses exhausting himself judging all the Israelites, he suggested the appointment of others to handle the simpler cases and freeing Moses to judge the complex ones.
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
Most people in the world operate with a 1 to 1 approach to life. One hour work equals one-hour pay. Productivity is limited by the number of hours in a week. Productivity isn’t always focused and without a life plan priorities are often missed.
Successful entrepreneurs are not like most people. Never content to settle for a 1 to 1 relationship between efforts and results they achieve far higher levels of productivity. We all know someone whose productivity is outstanding.
The problem is if you’re already working as hard as you can, you’ve hit a limit on what you can produce. So how do they do it? How can you learn to increase your productivity?
Jesus provides the answer. In his first and most famous teaching metaphor, the Parable Of The Sower (Mathew 13:1-23) Jesus describes four different scenarios in which an investment, in this case seed, produced significantly different levels of productivity.