What’s Best Next: How The Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman
I’m sure that many of you, like me, have read any number of books on how to organize your time, avoid procrastination, or on being productive. However, what caught my eye with this book was that it didn’t focus so much on the tasks we need get done, although that is part of it, but rather on how doing them helps to promote and extend the gospel to every segment of society through them, regardless of your vocation. (This is not a book just for in professional ministry.)
Perman’s shares his personal history of productivity throughout the book, especially using David Allen’s methodology from his book, Getting Things Done. He used the GTD method for a while until he realized that there were some drawbacks to the method. So, he began studying the scriptures regarding what God would have us be doing and researching other methodologies, and then compiled his own methodology, Gospel-Driven Productivity, which he presents in this book.
Perman begins by focusing on putting God first in our planning and then doing things that will promote the gospel and bring honor to God through helping others. This is very similar to a process that Daniel Henderson outlines in his book, The Deeper Life (an update to a previous work, The 7 Most Important Questions You’ll Ever Answer). I would imagine that it is similar to Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Life, although I’ve never read the book.
One of the features I found most helpful were the summaries at the end of each chapter called “The Box”, which included one or more of the following: a Core Point, a Core Quote, Further Resources, and an Application. There were also other illustrations were highlighted in the chapters that gave additional insights into the subject being discussed. He has also created a website, whatsbestnext.com, on which he has articles on a number of Gospel-Driven Productivity subjects and some additional tools to help with implementing this methodology.
Perman also references a great many books on time management and productivity, leadership and management, finances and economics, projects and tasks, and developing purpose in life that are too numerous to list them all here. I’ve included a few that I have from my own library at the end but I encourage the reader to note his suggestions while reading.
As you can see from the Table of Contents below, Parts 1 & 2 of the book lay the groundwork for the methodology and then Parts 3, 4, 5, & 6 give more specific details as to how to implement it. Finally, Part 7 gives some insights into why what we do has a greater impact for the gospel than we might think.
If your looking for a good source to point you in the right direction toward a more Gospel-Driven Productivity, I can recommend this without reservation. Perman serves as an effective guide into this new approach of how you can organize your life and the use of your time to God’s glory and the benefit of other.
NOTE: If you’re needing additional help with defining a vocational path to take or looking to reinvent your career here are a couple of other tools that you might want to consider. I’ve used both.
Follow Your Calling – a paid service from Focus on the Family, thecallonline.com
Business Model You – a book that outlines a simple way of presenting your personal business model, businessmodelyou.com
Table of Contents
Preface: Busting The Twelve Myths About What It Means To Get Things Done
Introduction—Why We Need A Uniquely Christian View On Productivity
Part 1—First Things First: Making God Supreme In Our Productivity
- Why Is It So Hard To Get Things Done?
- Why Efficiency Is Not The Answer
- Why We Need To Be God-Centered In Our Productivity
- Does God Care About Getting Things Done?
Part 2—Gospel-Driven Productivity: A New Way To Look At Getting Things Done
- Why The Things You Do Everyday Mater
- Put Others First: Love As The Guiding Principle For All Of Life
- How The Gospel Makes Us Productive
- Peace Of Mind Without Having Everything Under Control
- The Role Of Prayer And Scripture In Our Productivity
- The Core Principle For Making Yourself Effective
Part 3—Define: Knowing What’s Most Important
- What’s Your Mission? How Not To Waste Your Life
- Finding Your Life Calling
- Clarifying Your Roles
Part 4—Architect: Create A Flexible Schedule
- Setting Up Your Week
- Creating The Right Routine
Part 5—Reduce: Free UP Your Time For What’s Most Important
- The Problem With Full System Utilization
- The Art Of Making Time
- Harnessing The Time Killers
Part 6—Execute: Do What’s Most Important
- Weekly Planning
- Managing Email And Workflow
- Managing Projects And Actions
- Daily Execution
Part 7—Living This Out
- Productivity In Organizations And Society
- The Greatest Cause In The World
Perman, Matt. What’s Best Next: How The Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2014. Print. [Amazon] [Christianbook] [Barnes and Noble] [Alibris]
Other books to consider
Henderson, Daniel. The Deeper Life: Satisfying The 8 Vital Longings of Your Soul. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2014. Print.
Henderson, Daniel, and Patricia Roberts. The 7 Most Important Questions You’ll Ever Answer: Sparking Daily Renewal by Defining the Issues That Really Matter. Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1998. Print.
Snead, G. Lynne, and Joyce Wycoff. To Do-Doing-Done!: A Creative Approach to Managing Projects and Effectively Finishing What Matters Most. New York: Fireside, 1997. Print.
Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic. 1st Fireside ed. New York: Fireside Book, 1990. Print.
Warren, Richard. The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2002. Print.
Rath, Tom. StrengthsFinder 2.0. New York: Gallup Press, 2007. Print.
Sinek, Simon. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. New York: Portfolio, 2009. Print.
Sinek, Simon. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. New York, New York: Portfolio Penguin, 2014. Print.
Marquet, L. David. Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders. New York: Portfolio Penguin, 2012. Print.
Clark, Tim, Alexander Osterwalder, and Yves Pigneur. Business Model You: A One-Page Method for Reinventing Your Career. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley, 2012. Print.