This is an excerpt from chapter 6 of How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity, “Character: The Great Unsticking Force.”
Central to good time management is doing what is important, not merely what is urgent.
Yet, how do you know what is important? Importance is something even deeper than your own goals. Important things are things that align with correct principles and God’s truth.
And that takes us to the heart of why character is essential to productivity, for principles bring us into the realm of character. There are two sources for knowing correct principles. First, the Scriptures: “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!” (Ps. 119:1). And second, we have the capacity to discern correct principles through our conscience, which is directly informed by our understanding of the Scriptures. We have an inner compass that enables us to detect what right principles are.
The way to put first things first is to build this inner compass—that is, our character—so that we are able to discern what right principles are and desire to follow them. Character enables us to see and understand correct principles so that we can base our lives and decisions on them. That is why character is central to true productivity.
We then can articulate our mission and values flowing from those correct principles, and our personal vision can become an accurate way of identifying what is important. This is at the heart of time management and why productivity is rooted first in character, not techniques, for it is character that enables us to discern what is important and use the techniques well.