What's Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Gospel-oriented look at productivity.
Perman connects these two worlds excellently. Productivity is not the end all and be all, defining our success or happiness. God is. The secular stuff on productivity often assumes a wrong attitude on this.
But thanks to God’s common grace, there is much good wisdom to glean from that material, too. Perman uses it. Quoting Peter Drucker and Stephen Covey right alongside Al Mohler and John Piper was a little surreal, but it works. He interviews some interesting people from both worlds on their productivity techniques.
We can summarize Perman’s strategy with the acronym DARE.
Define your foundation, purpose (mission statement), goals and next task, all in the Lord’s will.
Architect – design your week and day accordingly
Reduce hindrances, clutter, distractions, and any drags on your productivity
Execute – either do it now, or schedule it for later
A lot of this is obvious stuff that we just forget in our laziness. Figure out what’s most important to do right now, and work at it first until it is done. Then go on to the next thing. Duh. But many people really think they work better bouncing from one thing to the next without focusing on one thing. I agree with Perman that multi-tasking really isn’t more efficient. It’s just giving in to distraction most of the time. As much as it is up to you (sometimes it isn’t!), stay focused on your task until it is done. You’ll do it better, your mind will be clearer, and you’ll be more ready for the next thing.
What’s Best Next brilliantly combines the big picture with specific and practical help. Starting with the big picture look at the significance of work and gospel centeredness, he winds up talking about how to handle your email and plan your day and week. While there is some “filler” in the middle (I found myself skimming some), the end material is an excellent summary and reference.
I’ll be returning to this book to reference it again.
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