Why All That Productivity Stuff Still Matters
And one lingering question that I just can't get away from is this: does the productivity stuff matter at all? Is there more than gadgets and online apps? Do sites like 43 Folders make any difference in my life outside of work? The answer is a resounding YES. But the reason might surprise you.
I first got into the productivity scene as something of a hacker. As an educator, I prided myself on the gadgets and gear that often accompany folks who get things done. Since few teachers are also interested in productivity, I also stood out from the crowd. I once piloted a Palm Pilot (no pun intended) project by which students would beam me their assignments. Very fun, especially considering they were 7th graders and it was 10 years ago.
As The Daily Saint blog then took off, I decided to get more serious, focusing on work-related issues and time management basics. I plumbed David Allen's GTD methodology and found it surprisingly spiritual.
What I have discovered over and over again is this: work can be as prayerful as prayer can be "workful". The distance between my spiritual life and my life at work is shrinking with each day. Sure, I work in a faith-based setting so it's a bit easier to talk the talk. Walking is where things get difficult.
So how does all of the productivity stuff impact one's faith? Here are some suggested points for discussion:
1. Productivity points to a higher purpose for working. Let's face it- you either work to live or live for working. Or, maybe a third option is now emerging- how work can serve the rest of your life's priorities and how those other things can flow back into work. Here's what I mean- my family life makes me more effective at work precisely because I have a life outside of work. On the flip side, my work provides my family with a context for doing good. I get to do so many amazing things at work and my family supports this ministry. If they didn't, I couldn't throw myself into my work as much as I do.
2. Productive work will get you into the zone. Think of the last time that you lost track of time by engaging your work. This could have been folding the laundry, doing some gardening or clearing out your in-box. It doesn't matter- work can be richly fulfilling and it often helps you to get into the zone. And zoning is profoundly spiritual. The next time you're there, enjoy the ride. I think God is there to be found in the world of to-do's, meetings and calendar items. If He cares about the environment, global poverty and those inflicted with disease, I'd like to think that my ordinary schedule is also fodder for his blessing and intervention.
3. Productive organizations can change the world. The Timberlands, Interface Floorings and FranklinCoveys of the world are doing amazing things and doing business differently. FranklinCovey is closed on Sundays. Timberland is obsessive about the prevention of sweatshop labor in relation to its products.
So where are you at with your own productivity? And how can you allow it to impact your faith-filled life?
*Photo by TXKIMMER