The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about productivity. Not only does it teach us how we can be more productive, it teaches how we can be more biblically productive.
Some of these principles you can find in secular productivity literature today. (Indeed, many of the proverbs can be found in secular ancient Near East literature, verbatim.) But seeing them in God-breathed Scripture reminds us to adopt those principles with a God-centered perspective. Other principles in the list don’t get as much ink or pixels in productivity books or blogs.
Let us consider how to incorporate those in our mindset and our workflow, so that we can glorify God all the more in the work that we do.
22 productivity principles from Proverbs.
1. Productivity is a result of intrinsic motivation and self-direction. “Tools” won’t turn you into a productivity guru.
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. (Prov. 6:6-8)
2. Resist the temptation to continually chase new ideas. Focus on the responsibilities you have been called to do. Put the gifts and talents you have been given to work.
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. (Prov. 12:11)
3. Being responsible and diligent will probably lead you to opportunities for greater influence and leadership.
The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor. (Prov. 12:24)
Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. (Prov. 22:29)
4. Productivity is messy. Don’t confuse being organized with being productive.
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. (Prov. 14:4)
5. But when everything is a mess all the time, that is a sign that you are not being productive.
I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. (Prov. 24:30-32)
6. In productivity—as in all things—talk is cheap. Don’t tell me your life mission statement, tell me the one step you took yesterday toward your most important goal or project.
In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Prov. 14:23)