2 years ago, my wife had come home from a leadership meeting with a book in her hand. The name of the book was Atomic Habits by James Clear. Having a joy for reading and productivity, I began to devour that book and gleaned knowledge that led to amazing results in my life. I have just finished reading the book a 2nd-time last week and found the core of the book to highlight a wonderful secret to productivity wrapped around growing yourself by 1% day after day.
365 Days Later = 365% better
This productivity hack simplifies much of our complexities. Often we push back tasks for lack of long duration and focused time on them. I enjoy drawing, coding, and writing, and I was finding myself not engaging in either task as often as I should have been because I was setting unrealistic expectations based on my circumstances. What Atomic Habits helped me to realize was that if I just improve by 1% daily, the improvement will be quite noticeable a year from now, 2 years from now, and 10 years from now!
No longer did I start focusing on writing, drawing, or coding when I had ample time. I could begin to even utilize 10 minutes for each task on my busiest days and notice the improvement as I look back. I still do try to mark out longer periods of time on specific work within those subjects for more improvement, but knowing that I was actively working towards them daily even if it was for a short while helped me to remain consistent and ultimately see change. I mean, this blog exists partly because of implementing the productivity tips found in the book!
The Opposite is Also True
What scared me most was that the opposite held true; miss out on improving by 1% a day and you’ll find yourself regressing into the negative percentages day after day. It reminded me of the unfaithful steward in the parable of the talents who buried his talent and went on with his day until the master returned. Burying that talent led to daily losses, whereas the faithful stewards daily gained an increase because they chose to steward their talents well.
If the unfaithful steward took that talent and sought daily to increase it by 1%, the earnings would be abundant! Imagine if you practiced a musical instrument 10 minutes a day instead of playing video games or spending it on something else that doesn’t add value to your life. A whole year of practicing something for 10 minutes daily would lead to 61 hours (rounded up) of time well spent with evidence of your skill improved.
Paul in his letter to Timothy pens something that I feel we should all catch:
‘Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. ‘
– I Timothy 4:12-15
Paul instructs Timothy to be an example by giving careful attention to reading the Word, exhorting, abiding in firm doctrine, and making use of the gift inside of him. Should he meditate on these things (consider them deeply and act upon them), and should Timothy sacrifice other things that he may give himself entirely to these things, then the outcome is progress that would be evident to all. Timothy may have had some days where all he could do is improve by 1%, but that 1% may look like everything in the eyes of God!
If Paul were to write this letter to you, he would encourage you to give yourself entirely to the vision of God for your life, to the very gifts that God has deposited in you. In order for Timothy to meditate on these things there had to be daily due diligence on those very things Paul mentioned.
Applying the Secret to Productivity
How about you? Will you give yourself entirely to what God has given you to do? Where will you be 1 year from now? Will there be evidence of progress by all or will a year have gone by with nothing to show for it?
There are far more things to learn from Atomic Habits, but I found this to be one of the game changers that has enabled me to improve more than 1% daily because of the consistency acquired. Definitely pick this book up and grow!