The Secret to Productivity

Do you ever go through a day that is just crazy busy and look back at the end and say, “I had great intentions of partnering with God in my day, but it just flew by, and I’m not sure if I really did?” I know that I have had many of those days.

Building a business, managing people, and frequent meetings can consume the entire day, and that’s just with the things that are already on your schedule when you get to work in the morning, let alone all the other things that come up throughout the day.  My schedule was so busy that there were several times that I had my PA book meetings with my staff for me while I was walking between meetings in our building.  They would wait for me to come out of one conference room, and talk with me while I walked down the hall to another meeting in another conference room.  Those three minutes gave me time to approve or re-direct what they were doing, and keep everything streaming forward.

For years, I thought that this was simply the way it had to be.  I’d ask Jesus to be with me all day, direct my steps, allow me to love the people in front of me and bless my work.  But, at the end of the day, I was not sure if I was really partnering with Him.  When I spoke with other business executives that were followers of Christ, they had much the same experience.  Really good intentions, but we all agreed that it seemed like there should be more.  More connection, more guidance from heaven and more time to do the important stuff, rather than the necessary stuff.  My guess is that if you are in business, you can relate.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve walked in the garden, and their job was to fill the earth and subdue it. (Gen.1:28) That sounds to me very similar to running an agricultural management business.  They walked with God in the garden and it doesn’t appear that they were having a difficult time with the job God had given them.  You know the rest of the story. After the fall, they were tasked with the same job – but now had to deal with thorns, thistles and hard work. (Gen 3:18-19) So they went from a place of communing with God throughout their “workday” in a place of peace and productivity in His presence, to one of striving.

I believe there is a solution to our harried work life today that is embedded in this story – an on-going encounter with the presence of God, rather than a brief devotional time in the morning, and occasional quick prayers throughout the day.   2 Cor. 6:16-18 tells us that we are the temple of the Living God and He will walk among us, be our Father while we are sons and daughters.  That sounds to me a lot like Eden. God’s presence filled the garden, it filled the temple and now, because of Jesus, it fills us. We are a mobile temple – the place where God dwells on earth, especially at work. We were originally made to work with Him, in His presence all day, not toil over our jobs.  I think we can get back to that place.

My previous approach had always been to ask God to join me in my day, but I have now shifted to recognizing His all-the-time presence in me, and that my tasks for the day are actually completely tied up in simply walking with Him, hearing His voice and living out my workday from that place. His presence in me is the primary driver of my day. This might sound fanciful, but since taking this approach, I am working half as much and accomplishing more than twice as much.

As a test case, I’d like to ask you to commit to doing something along with me: 

  1. Take at least a half hour each morning before your day starts, put your smartphone somewhere else and simply enjoy the presence of God, through His word, worship or just talking to Him.
  2. Don’t ask Him to help you with the things in front of you, instead ask Him what He wants to talk about, and what He wants you to know. If you are like me, this will initially be hard, but will get easier, so stick with it.
  3. In one month, measure your results, and let me know how it goes. My guess is that you will be getting more done in less time, and can use the extra time to do the important stuff.



Gary Klopfenstein is a highly successful business executive with over 30 years’ experience in asset management, strategic consulting and leadership development.  His specific areas of expertise are in the design and implementation of investment strategies, across both traditional and alternative investment classes, investment research, client acquisition, business growth and catalytic leadership development.  Gary has a wealth of global expertise including successful client relationships in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Gary is Chairman of GK Investment Management, a private asset management company established as a family office.  In previous roles Gary has served as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors of Berenberg Asset Management, the U.S. asset management arm of a 400-year-old German financial institution, and as Senior Managing Director, member of the Board of Directors and Head of Direct Alternative Investment Strategies for Mesirow Financial, a Chicago based diversified financial services firm.  Gary was responsible for growing the business from $1 billion to $60 billion in less than ten years.

He has written one book, Trading Currency Cross Rates, and edited two others, FX: Managing Global Currency Risk and Strategic Trading in the Foreign Exchange Markets.  Gary is a frequent speaker at conferences and a regular publisher of thought leading papers for global publications.  He is considered to be one of the industry founders of the specialist management of global currency risk.

Gary and his wife Candice live in Chicago, have been married for over thirty years and have two adult children.

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