Productivity is Really About Good Works

That’s essentially the thesis of my upcoming book and it was the main point in my seminar at the Desiring God national conference last month.

There are lots of reasons we care about productivity — we might want to have less stress, we might want to get more done in less time, or we might simply find the subject interesting in itself. And those are all good reasons.

But there are deeper, better reasons to care about productivity. There are, in fact, some amazing and incredible reasons to care about productivity that I am seeing almost no one ever talk about.

Chief among these reasons to care about productivity is this: Productivity is really about good works.

That’s worth saying again: Productivity is really about good works — which we were created in Christ to do (Ephesians 2:10) and which we are to do eagerly and enthusiastically (Titus 2:14). That’s why productivity matters, and that’s why I write about productivity. My aim is to help Christians be effective in good works.

This changes how you think about everything.

It means that when you are getting your email inbox to zero, you aren’t just getting your email inbox to zero. You are doing good works. When you are going to a meeting, you aren’t just going to a meeting. You are doing good works. Everything that we do as Christians, in faith, is a good work.

And therefore we are doing good works all day long — and consequently need to learn how to be more effective in them so that we can be of greater service to others.

And that’s where understanding productivity and productivity practices comes in. By learning how to be more effective in our everyday lives — in all of the work and projects and initiatives and intentions that come our way — we are able to serve others more effectively.

Or, to put it another way: Everything we learn about productivity (and at all levels — work, life, organizations, and society), every productivity practice we might implement, and every productivity tool we might use, ultimately exists for the purpose of helping to amplify our effectiveness in good works, for the glory of God.

That’s the essence of the framework in which, as Christians, we need to think about productivity.

  • Philip Canarsky

    What an excellent thesis! I am really looking forward to reading this book.

    Do you by chance have a link to the audio of the workshop you mentioned?

  • Matt

    There was a technical error and the audio wasn’t captured. That was frustrating! I might give it again at the church, and we’ll catch the audio then.

  • Philip Canarsky

    Bummer! Now I will really have to buy the book :) May the Spirit lead you as you write.

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  • Will Pareja

    Hey Matt:
    This is great stuff. Thank you. I like the thesis. So, given that, can you given the theological backing behind your thesis, are you are going w/ a Christian publisher?
    Also (on a slightly different note), at what point will the doctrine of common grace come into your discussion. Because, I really think that others who are not Christians can (and probably have) benefit from your writings.

  • Matt

    Will: Good questions. I have given some of the theological backing in the seminar I did at the DG national conference (for which the audio failed!) and will be giving more in my book. I’ve also given several other forms of the presentation and have some notes I could send, if you are interested (just contact me through the “contact” page).

    I will be going with a Christian publisher.

    Yes, common grace is huge and, I think, not appreciated as much as it should be. I will definitely be talking about that.

  • Alejandra

    This was really interesting! Reminds me of 1 Peter 4:11, that God can be glorified even through all the mundane day to day things.

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