How To Be Productive According To Ancient Philosophy

Darius Foroux
Stoic Letter
Published in
5 min readNov 13, 2018


Improving productivity has been a pursuit of the modern human being from the start of civilization.

Somehow, we believe that productivity is something that became important after the industrial revolution. We assume that, because we live busy lives, we need to optimize our time — especially in the 21st century.

That’s not true. Productivity has been a topic of discussion ever since ancient eastern and western philosophy started. It’s a universal theme. I believe it’s in our nature to make better use of our time.

Because that’s what productivity means. On a deeper level, we all realize we have limited time. You and I both know that we’re not getting younger.

Time is ticking. It stops for no one. We need to use it. Etcetera, etcetera — we get the idea. And yet, without a clear productivity strategy, we squander our time like we have a limitless supply.

We watch endless hours of mind-numbing TV shows and movies. We spend too much time on social media looking at the lives of people we don’t give a shit about.

And when our lives and careers do not progress, we complain: “Why does my life suck and feel empty?” Because you’re wasting your damn time!That’s why!

It’s time to say “No” to wasting time on useless things that do not bring you anything but short-term pleasure. It’s time to say “Yes” to a life of productivity that will bring you a better health, wealth, and more inner satisfaction.

Let’s start by learning the following 7 productivity lessons from the most well-known philosophers in history. These lessons have helped me a lot, and I hope they will do the same for you.

1. Don’t Try To Do More

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” — Socrates

Who else could give this monumental piece of advice other than Socrates? The founder of Western philosophy realized that it’s easy to fill your life with meaningless tasks.

But what happens when you do that? The busyness leads to unproductiveness. You end up doing many things in a mediocre way. Instead, focus your time and energy on a few important things.



Darius Foroux
Stoic Letter

I write about personal finance, productivity, habits. Join over 100K readers who get my newsletter, Wise & Wealthy: