Workplace wisdom

by Mike Reith on 26th May 2015

Some say Christians are too heavenly minded to be of any earthly use!

Whilst that may be true of some, it shouldn’t be. In a book called ‘What’s best next?’, Matt Perman explains why Christians might have the edge in getting more out of life.

For example, what’s the best way to be productive?

Here are 12 myths about what it takes to get things done (and 12 ways to bust them!).

  1. “Being productive means getting more done faster.”  We think efficiency is important.  But effectiveness is more important.  WHAT you get done matters more than when you do it!
  2. “Being productive means developing the right techniques.”  But the way to make right decisions is first to be the right kind of person.  It’s about character not techniques.
  3. “Being productive doesn’t need God… or what he has to say about being productive.”   Now non-Christians are productive.  But we are more productive when we love God and understand how he controls our plans.
  4. “Being productive doesn’t need the gospel.”  But being productive comes from understanding that through faith in the gospel we’re accepted by God apart from what we do.  In a funny way, the only way to be productive is to realise you don’t have to be productive – it puts the wind of joy in your sails!
  5. “Being productive requires you to tightly manage yourself and others.”  But productivity comes when we are motivated and fired up to do things (and then we control our diaries more tightly because we’re passionate about getting things done).
  6. “Being productive requires time management – which gives you peace of mind.” Well yes, it’s nice to tick the list.  But something else is better – doing good for others to the glory of God (which might sometimes wreck plans but you get serve people – which is the bigger deal).
  7. “Being productive requires you to put yourself first.”  That’s very short term thinking.  But the biggest trend in the market place is ‘the downfall of the barracudas, sharks, and piranhas, and the ascendancy of nice, smart people.’ (Tim Sanders).  We are most productive when we put others first.
  8. “Being productive requires you to get everything under your control.”  You won’t… and you’ll crash trying!
  9. “Being productive requires you to have to-do lists!”  They’re fun.  But there’s only so much you can do.  Lists may support what we do, but shouldn’t define what we do.  We need bigger dreams – lists are just steps on the way, not an end in themselves.
  10. “Being productive requires you to have tangible outcomes.”  But actually it’s more about intangibles – like relationships made and lessons that are learned.  If you just gun for outcomes and you’ll hurt relationships and end up less productive!
  11. “Being productive is directly proportional to the amount of time you spend ‘on task’”.  But actually somethings get done better if they take longer and switch off at time.  Sometimes the best way to be productive is to be inefficient – especially where you need to be more creative and imaginative.  So measure productivity by results, not the time  you spend.
  12. “Being productive by working long and hard, means your priorities are screwed up.”  Not so.  Some people really enjoy their work and want to work a lot – and that is not itself workaholism.  The apostle Paul spoke of hard work and all-nighters as OK (2 Cor 11:23-29).

Just want to make the point that Christians aren’t just ‘Sunday specialists’.  We want to get Monday mornings right as well!