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Transforming “I’m Swamped” into Purposeful Productivity By Zándra Bishop

The Path to Purposeful Productivity

As leaders and executives, “I’m swamped” is far more common in our professional vocabulary than purposeful productivity. It’s a candid expression of the overwhelming flood of responsibilities that can leave us feeling like we are fighting to keep our heads above water. Yet, we can take this profound wisdom to glean from a timeless narrative that offers guidance on turning the tide of busyness into a stream of purposeful productivity.

The biblical account of Jesus and his disciples caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Luke 8:23-24) is a historical event and a powerful metaphor for the storms of our work lives. The disciples were swamped, yet Jesus calmed the storm with peace and authority. This story is a compelling allegory for leaders today, offering transformative approaches to time management that can revolutionize our work.

Embracing Grace-Based Productivity

The first approach introduces the idea of “grace-based productivity.” Unlike traditional time management strategies that rely on the rigidity of systems for peace and efficiency, grace-based productivity starts from a place of inner tranquility. This tranquility, rooted in personal values, faith, or a sense of purpose, is the foundation for all organizational tasks. By finding our center, we can engage with our schedules and to-do lists from a place of calm and focus, empowering us to feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

Learning from the Master of Time

The second approach is to draw practical lessons from Jesus’ own life as a model of effective time management. While the gospels may not depict Him as a planner, they illustrate His strategic prioritization, handling interruptions, commitment to solitude for rejuvenation, and dedication to being fully present in each task. These observations provide practical principles for modern-day leadership that can be readily applied in our work lives.

Begin with Purpose and Reflection

As leaders, it’s crucial to start each day grounded in purpose and reflection. This principle is mirrored in Jesus’ practice of rising early to pray and meditate, as seen in Mark 1:35. Allocating time for strategic thinking and alignment with our core values enables us to lead intentionally and direct our teams.

Implementing Purposeful Productivity in Your Team

Leaders must not practice these principles in isolation to truly impact the organization. They must be embraced and mirrored across the entire team, fostering a purposeful productivity culture that permeates every aspect of the organization.

Here are actionable ways to turn the “I’m swamped” mindset into a more purposeful and productive culture within your organization:

1. Encourage Reflective Practices: Foster an environment where team members begin their day or week with a reflection period. This reflection moment could be through team meetings that align tasks with the organization’s vision or encourage individual planning time.

2. Model Prioritization: As a leader, show your team how to identify and focus on high-impact activities. Share your process for determining what takes precedence and why.

3. Create a Culture of Calm: Lead by example by maintaining a composed demeanor, even when the pressure mounts. Promote stress-reduction techniques and ensure your team knows that taking breaks for mental health is accepted and encouraged. This culture of calm can significantly enhance team productivity, making everyone feel encouraged and supported in their work.

4. Offer Tools and Training: Provide your team with resources and training on time management tools and techniques. Equip them with the skills to manage their time effectively per the organization’s goals.

5. Celebrate Intentional Work: Acknowledge and reward team members who demonstrate purposeful productivity. Celebrate those who accomplish tasks with a clear focus on quality and strategic impact over mere busyness.

By adopting grace-based productivity and drawing on the time management principles modeled by Jesus, leaders can shift the narrative from a frantic “I’m swamped” to a purpose-driven “I’m strategically engaged.” Within this transformation, leaders and their teams can navigate the demands of the workplace with poise, purpose, and productivity.


ZC Consulting LLC: ZC Consulting brings more than 20 years of cumulative experience in nonprofit, socially responsible, faith-based consulting, talent strategy solutions, leadership coaching, and retained executive search. We help reduce turnover, develop high-performing teams, create successful succession roadmaps, attract and retain high-potential talent, and empower organizations to scale confidently—transforming intentions into scalable growth.

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Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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