I pray most mornings before I start my work day. Prayer is undeniably something I’m called to do as a Christian, but it also makes me the best, most productive human I can be, too. I feel the most energized during and after prayer.

Praying for wisdom

For years, I’ve been deliberately praying for wisdom while claiming promises found in James:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

Years pass. I’m still not wise, but you know that feeling when you solve a puzzle, and the solution seemed obvious? Occasionally I’ll experience these brief moments of mental clarity when all of the pieces fit together, and it changes my life. God is faithful!

My eureka moment

While studying productivity, I struggled to find a technique that would be sustainable. James Clear introduced me to the Ivy Lee Method (which I blog about here), but it wasn’t until I saw Steve Persch‘s end of day worksheet that all of the pieces started to fall into place. Now I’m practicing a mashup of Ivy Lee + Seinfeld + Pareto that pays dividends in daily productivity and continuous improvement.

I had the pleasure of speaking about these principals at MidCamp in a session titled, “Peak Productivity with Ivy Lee” and I gave shorter applied sessions later. Watch the full presentation here:

I’ll continue writing about these things in coming months. The techniques are experimental, but the results have been excellent. The hardest part is having the discipline to stick with it. We’ve started trying some of these techniques at Pantheon with daily notes via Slack, and I’ll undoubtedly be writing about how that goes, too.

Here’s what I have so far:

Ultimately, the best productivity technique for you is the one that works for you. Leave a comment below and let me know your most effective strategies for improving productivity!

Categories: productivity

David Needham

David Needham is the Team Lead of the Technical Curriculum Development team at Datadog. When he's not blogging about productivity and faith at davidneedham.me or speaking at conferences, you can find him streaming on Twitch or playing fun board games with his wife and kids in Champaign, IL.


Tara Rowell · May 15, 2017 at 7:40 am

Nice post, David! I add “patience” to my daily ask along with wisdom. When it always seems that there is so much to do, I think it helps me to make a better effort to slow down and do things well vs getting overwhelmed by the sheer volume of jobs to be done! And I’ll just have to keep on praying, because wisdom and patience take far more practice than I have put in thus far! 😀

    David Needham · May 24, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Well said! Though I’ve been warned it’s dangerous to pray for patience.

Peak Productivity with Ivy Lee - David Needham's Blog · May 24, 2017 at 6:45 pm

[…] (If you’re looking for my session with the same title, check out the video on my previous post, “Praying for Wisdom and Discovering Productivity“.) […]

Bouncing Back from Failure: An Experiment - David Needham's Blog · January 20, 2018 at 11:53 pm

[…] months ago I felt like I was at the top of my game. In Praying for Wisdom and Discovering Productivity I write about a technique that allowed me to achieve a level of productivity and personal […]

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