Episode 30: Productivity Myth Busters – Who Said 3 Was The Magic Number?

Productivity Myth Busters - Who Said 3 Was The Magic Number?

In a world that values getting things done, have we gone too far in our pursuit of productivity? Have we stretched our boundaries beyond what God intended and made productivity an idol? In this first episode in the Productivity Myth Busters series, I’ll share how we can start reframing some of our productivity habits so that, as David says in Psalm 16, our boundaries fall in pleasant places.

There is nothing wrong with being productive. The Bible instructs us to make the most of our time …. to make the most of every opportunity. But on our worst days, we’ve made productivity our idol, the checks on our to-do list our offering, and our emotional and spiritual well-being our sacrifice.

For the next few weeks, we’re going to look at some common productivity advice, and re-frame it. We’ll find ways to use the concepts in ways that create space, rather than chain us in. In this episode, we’ll start with one of the most common: this whole idea of choosing three top priorities for a day, a week or even a month. Who decided that 3 was the magic number?

Rather than planning around an arbitrary number of things to do during a period, it’s more important to understand our capacity and plan accordingly.

Capacity is more like a balloon. It can stretch and shrink depending on the atmosphere inside and outside, and if you try to cram too much in it, it will burst and fail. Capacity is not just about time. It’s also a function of your energy level and your resources. Being in tune with your capacity will help you make better, more productive plans.

Let me share two tips for learning more about your capacity: one micro and one macro. On the micro side, sometimes when I have a large block of time, like a whole afternoon or even a whole day, I’ll make a list of the things to do on a sticky note and an expected start and finish time for each item. Then I stick it on the edge of my computer, so it stays in front of me as I work.

On a macro level, doing weekly reviews consistently is a great way to learn more about your personal capacity.

When you use these methods to get a handle on your capacity, you will be able to make plans that fit within your boundaries, whether that is one thing, three things or 10 things.

I do want to say that I’m not criticizing anyone who gives time management or productivity advice. After all, that’s a lot of what I do myself! But I want us to start thinking of our time as a boundary that protects us from overwhelm and overcommitment, rather than a barrier to keep pushing against.

Try one of these two tips this week and let me know how it goes. If you hop over to my free Facebook group Plan & Pray with Do A New Thing, you’ll find a weekly review worksheet to get you started.


As a busy, multi-passionate woman, you always wonder if you are doing the things that really matter. If your to-do list gets longer and longer as your frustration gets higher and higher, and you get to the end of the week and don’t know where your time went, the Build A Better Week system can help!

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Take Back Your Time: The Guilt-Free Guide to Life Balance by Christy Wright.

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My friend Esther Littlefield and I have created a FREE Pre-Launch Assessment just for you.
We’ll help you figure out if you’re ready for your launch, and give you some tips based on your readiness level!

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