12 Favorite Productivity Principles

I am a pastor and have a variety of tasks to fulfill each week – study, prayer, counseling, visitation, teaching, administration, etc. I also enjoy reading about productivity and learning how best to use my time for both professional and personal pursuits. I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way and have compiled my twelve favorite productivity principles below. I trust you will find them helpful in your life as well.

(Note: You can also access all twelve principles in one longer posting here: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

Links to individual articles in the series:

1. 20/20/MIT – First things first
2. Morning, afternoon, evening rule – Finding your rhythm
3. Habit stacking – Habits are hard, but routines are routine
4. Ideal weekly schedule – A place for everything, and everything in its place
5. Appointments, tasks and information – Using the right tool for the job
6. Task processing – One thing at a time (micro-tasking)
7. Working with resistance – Resistance is not futile
8. 10-3-2-1-0 rule – Countdown to a good night’s sleep
9. Capture notebook and pen – One book to rule them all
10. “Briefcase” principle – Avoiding the last-minute rush
11. “Default” principle – Choosing enjoyment over easy
12. “Do it first” principle – Tell what you’ve done, not what you will do
00. Miscellaneous – Your mileage may vary


  1. June James says:

    These principles are so practical, and do-able. Wish I had known them a long time ago, especially before retirement. My life would have been so much more organised and ultimately more productive. However I guess I can still make a start. The rest of my life, however short or long can at least be more organised, productive and more helpful.
    Thanks Ray, not only for sharing the principles, but also for explaining them in a way that is easy to understand and does not make one feel afraid- fearful to try them.
    Thanks from a grateful reader.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    June – Thanks for the encouraging words, and glad you found the series helpful!

  3. Normand Lavoie says:

    Tim Challies just wrote a post regarding your Productivity Principles. He is also an avid productivity enthusiast. His small book, “Do More Better” is a gem. So, thanks to both of you for helping us live lives filled with good works for the glory of God!

  4. Ray Fowler says:

    Normand – I agree, Tim’s book is a gem, and I’ve found it super helpful. I even plugged it in this series in Principle #5 on using the right tool for the job: http://www.rayfowler.org/2019/08/19/appointments-tasks-and-information/

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