PP1: 20/20/MIT – First things first

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

1. 20/20/MIT – First things first

The most important productivity principle for me is, appropriately enough, to do the most important things first. This is often called the “big rocks” principle, named after Steven Covey’s famous illustration of putting the big rocks in the jar before adding the smaller pebbles and sand.

I like to break this down into two areas. What are the most important things for me to do every day? And what are the most important things I specifically need to do today?

The two most important things for me to do every day are to read my Bible and pray. To make sure I do this every day, I do what I call my 20/20 – twenty minutes of prayer followed by twenty minutes of Bible reading.

For prayer I take a twenty-minute prayer walk first thing in the morning. I talk to God about my upcoming day, confessing any wrongs I have done, thanking him for the good things in my life, praying for my family and loved ones.

Then I come home, make a nice hot, cup of tea, sit in my favorite chair and spend twenty minutes reading from the Bible. I use a Bible-reading schedule that helps me read through the Bible each year. This is a peaceful time each morning as I read and reflect.

Now there are other things that are important for me to do every day as well – exercise, grooming, spending time with family, etc. I have a system to make sure I do all those as well. But these are the two most important things for me, so I make them a part of my morning routine and do them first every day.

Then I spend just a few minutes writing down my MITs – my most important tasks for today. I write down between 3-5 tasks that are the most important things for me to do today. I keep that list with me throughout the day and make sure I work on those things first rather than put them off until later.

The 20/20/MIT is essential for me to make sure I do the most important things every day. I encourage you to think through what the most important things are for you and to use some form of the 20/20/MIT to build these things into your daily life.

Next in series: PP2: Morning, afternoon, evening rule – Finding your rhythm


  1. SUPER excited about this series. As I gear up for a busy fall season, I’ll be checking in every day. Thank you!!

  2. Karen Frodge says:

    Great tips! Do you get up at the same time every day? I like the idea of prayer time while I’m walking!

  3. Ray Fowler says:

    Karen – Yes, I try to keep a regular rhythm of going to sleep at the same time each night, and waking up at the same time each morning. And I love my early morning prayer walk!

  4. Barrie Sobczak says:

    Great series, Ray. I am looking forward to your entries. When I start my day, I also ask what I need to do but I tie it in with my morning prayers to ask of God what he wants me to do on this day. I find it helps me stay focused on God’s plan for my life.

  5. Marvin Garbeh says:

    I live in Liberia and my wife and I just planted a Church in our community since we moved back home. I am the Lead Pastor of the church and I want to thank you very much Ray for the wealth of knowledge here. As a Rookie Pastor this website has been a tremendous source of help to me and my wife. We are very grateful to you. Your first thing first principle is just what I need to cretae a lifestlye of productivity in the Lord.

  6. Ray Fowler says:

    Marvin – That’s wonderful, thanks for sharing. May God bless you richly in this new work for Him.

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