The Ten: Top productivity tips from the Bible

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1. Recognise that God created you to be productive

There are countless verses in Scripture about the benefit of hard work. From the Bible’s outset, God tells man to be productive, to “be fruitful and multiply . . .” (Genesis 1:28). Recognising productivity as a positive thing—rather than a hindrance—is a great mindset to start with.

2. Keep the Sabbath

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). When God created us, He knew we needed rest for optimal performance. Taking a day out every week to rest, recuperate and spend time with God, family and friends is a great way to prevent burnout and stay motivated.

3. Practise positive thinking

Our thoughts are powerful and influence our attitudes and moods more than we realise (Proverbs 4:23). Rather than dwelling on negative things or what we don’t have, Philippians 4:3 encourages us to think about things that are excellent and praiseworthy. This can help us find energy to get through the day.

4. Don’t procrastinate

As Proverbs 6:10-11 says, procrastination leads to poverty. Rather than enjoying life’s comforts now and working later, the Bible encourages us to work hard and enjoy the fruits of our labour afterwards. Work then play.

5. Start your day the night before

The way we spend our evenings—what we eat, the time we go to bed, how we plan—can have a significant impact on the next day. Interestingly, the Hebrew poetry used in Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23 and 31 lists “evening” before morning. Perhaps planning out our day the night before is biblical?

6. Follow the law

In Matthew 22:21, Jesus tells the Pharisees to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”, and Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities.” If we try to cheat the system, punishment will catch up to us eventually. It’s better to work with integrity and honesty in the long term.

7. Seek mentorship and advice

Although self-help culture encourages us to make it on our own, Proverbs 15:22 says that “without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed”. Learning humility and asking for help when it is needed will save you time and prevent mistakes in your work.

8. Take time to reflect and seek wisdom

The Bible encourages us to seek wisdom and promises God will give it to us liberally if we ask for it (James 1:5). Stepping away from the never-ending to-do list to analyse our life from a different perspective is important for staying productive and preventing burnout (Proverbs 6:6-8).

9. Glorify God, not man

Our modern culture stresses that we should work to better ourselves, but the Bible says that we should work to glorify God (Colossians 3:17,23). Remembering Who we are working for can make it easier to find purpose, and therefore stay focused and productive.

10. Seek God’s will in everything you do

Romans 12:2 tells us “. . . by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”. Often we spend time doing things that aren’t God’s will—and therefore are unproductive. It’s important to test God and ask Him to direct our steps, so we can decide what’s important and what’s a waste of time.

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