I love being productive. I love Getting Things Done and OmniFocus and Evernote. I love blogs like Matt Perman’s What’s Best Next. I love syncing between devices using the Cloud so that I’m not even  aware of doing it. I love boshing through a To Do list like there’s no tomorrow.

to do listBut perhaps too much focus on productivity can also distract us from what really matters. Productivity tools are exactly that: tools. Tools to help us in the particular roles and responsibilities we have. And for Christians that means tools to help us serve God, his people, and his world.

And yet sometimes I sense within myself that the completion, perfection, and achievement these tools offer instead become a means to serve simply me. I slip into measuring myself by my productivity, and that is what matters most to me in a day. Life become about me being productive at all costs, and God help anyone who puts themselves in between me and my To Do List.

And so my heart was prodded when I read this:

“The gospel teaches us that we are not machines, we are creatures, and in our creatureliness, we cannot work out with any certainty the various values of individual actions. If we think we can identify and accurately calculate the fruit of our labours, we fool ourselves into thinking we are God.

The application of modern management practices to the Christian life ends in ungodliness because it results in the maximisation of things that can be quantified – like hours spent, sales made or products produced. But godliness cannot be quantified in any absolute sense. At least in part, this is because it is a matter of the heart.

We will not grow in godliness by squeezing more productivity out of life, but by learning to obey the word of God in all its fullness.”

Paul Grimmond, “Trusting in the Dark,” in Facing Depression Together (ed. Paul Grimmond; Matthias Minizines; Kingsford, Australia: Matthias Media, 2010). 8.

What do you think? Agree? How do you balance productivity and having a gospel motivation?