Why the Most Productive People Do NOTHING | The Productive Leader

Sometimes doing nothing is the most productive thing you can do in your day. Now, if you read that first line and you were excited because you now have permission to sit on the couch and play video games, this post is not for you. I’m writing to all of you workaholics out there (you know who you are) to whom work is like a drug. The thought of just doing nothing gives you the heebie-jeebies. You don’t like just doing nothing. I know, I know. You’re a driven person. You have an enormous amount of ambition. Your schedule is hectic. But, there are still times in your life when you need to just do nothing.


In this session, I’m going to give you permission to push against your natural instincts and find some time every day to do nothing. Read until the end, and I'll leave you with a huge practical tip that will help you do nothing!






Leaders, especially church leaders, are known to struggle in one specific area of their lives. They don’t take time to rest. We can’t help ourselves! With the "always-on" nature of church ministry and our drive to make disciples of Christ pushing us forward, taking time to rest and recharge every day is often the last thing we make space for.


Here’s the problem, scripture is very clear that we need to rest occasionally. In fact, there are times that we not only need to rest, but we also need to do absolutely nothing. Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” You see, when we try to over-cram our lives to a point that we don’t have time to just be still and know that He's God, we can quickly find ourselves in a physical, spiritual, and possibly even an emotional crisis, especially if this behavior goes on long enough.


I believe that taking breaks and scheduling intentional rest throughout the day is critical for the health of everyone but especially church leaders. When you take time to properly rest, you feel refreshed, energized, and ready to continue to serve in the Kingdom of God. I’ll repeat what I said earlier, sometimes doing absolutely nothing is the most productive thing you can do.


There are incredible spiritual advantages to resting, but let’s talk about the other benefits. Most of you are overworking your minds in a way that, if you aren’t careful, will negatively affect your performance. This pattern will lead to burnout and, in the most extreme cases, depression and other mental and physical sicknesses. Your mind must rest. It’s critical for the longevity of your ministry and leadership.


I know the mission of the gospel drives you. I know it causes you to want to push yourself to the extreme. You love the people of God, and you also love the many people in your community that need Jesus. These burdens cause you to wake up every morning, helping you to take on loads and do things that most people can’t do; but I want you stop for just a moment. You’ve got to switch off your mind on a regular basis and allow yourself to just “be” with Jesus, even if it’s just for a few minutes every day. This will give you the God connection that you may be missing, but it will also give you the mental refreshing that you need to keep moving forward for the weeks, months, and years to come.


There are many ways to stop and rest. You can take time in your prayer closet if that’s close by, but you could also take a walk out in nature or sit in your favorite easy chair. Maybe you have a place you can go sit in your backyard or a private location you can go to at work. Go to your car if you need to. Whatever it takes to give your mind and soul time to relax and do nothing, do that thing.


Here’s what resting does: With the Lord’s help, it increases your focus and your ability to perform well when you get back to the daily grind of work. Here’s another thought: Why not do absolutely nothing multiple times a day if you can? Studies have shown that most people only have a window of about two to three hours of focused work before they need a break. For some people, it’s even less time. Taking time to rest has the potential to give you the focus you need to be highly productive when you get back to what is next on your agenda. Just be still, and know that He is God.


Let me leave you with one of the biggest practical tips that I can give you. Get rid of the phone distraction. It’s so tough to do nothing if your phone is buzzing in your pocket or on the table beside you. This is one of my biggest distractions, and I bet that you probably struggle with it as well. You can either leave it in another room or place it on “do not disturb” mode. It doesn’t matter how important you think you are, I promise you that the world can live without you responding to your phone for a few moments so that you can have solitude with Jesus. My challenge to you today is to figure out how to build some time into your day to do absolutely nothing. I promise it will make a difference in your ministry.



Copyright © 2021 Ryan Franklin. All rights reserved.