I love books on productivity. They help me solve problems like these:
- On Sunday, someone volunteers to serve on a nursery team when I pass her in the hallway.
- How do I remember to add her name to the schedule on Tuesday when I sit down in my office to work on this?
- Let’s say that Saturday night I see someone in Publix and they will ask me for a DVD of the previous week’s service.
- How can I remember this on Monday morning when I make DVDs?
- On Wednesday morning, I sit down at my desk and have no meetings or appointments scheduled.
- How do I decide what I should specifically work on?
- It feels like I spend all my time taken by things that are urgent.
- How do I make time to work that is important to me but is not necessarily urgent?
The study of productivity and workflow helps me solve these problems. It helps me develop systems to handle these situations. I love reading books that discuss these topics. One such book is David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I was blown away when I first read that book. In fact, I return to it often to help me get re-focused on the best ways to get my work done. However, the problem is that most books on productivity are not written from a Christian perspective. They are written with a non-christian worldview. So, while they are helpful, they are often lacking.
Recently, I read a book that filled this void. Matt Perman has written an excellent book – What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done. In his introduction, Perman writes,
“This is a book about getting things done and making ideas happen, with less friction and frustration, from a biblical perspective.” (p. 17)
Perman’s book is highly practical and yet it is God-centered. He skillfully merges sound principles of productivity with a Biblical worldview. I found this unique combination to be highly beneficial.
The Book is Divided into 7 Parts
- First Things First – Perman shows us why it is hard to get thing done.
- Gospel-Driven Productivity – Here is where Perman begins to merge the ospel with productivity.
- Define – Parts 3-6 form the acronym DARE and detail the practical nitty-gritty. These are the parts I was most looking forward to. They did not disappoint.
- Living This Out – In this last section, Perman pulls it all together. It is not just about our personal productivity. We should be trying to make the organizations, cities, and society around us more productive as well.
Some Personal Highlights from the Book
- “One of the best places for efficiency is being efficient with things so that you can be effective with people.” (p. 49)
- “Generosity is to be the guiding principle for our lives…Success in business and life does not come from crushing the weak, doing as little as you can get away with, and trying to get every dime you can out of people. It comes from the opposite: helping the weak, going the extra mile, and putting others first… Hence, the overarching principle of the Christian life is that we are here to serve, to the glory of God. We are to be in this world not for what we can get out of it but for what we can give.” (p. 86-87)
- “The key to effectiveness – putting the most important things first – is knowing what is most important and then weaving it into your life through simple structures and systems.” (p. 193)
- “…the most important thing to realize is that the biggest interruptions are those that we do to ourselves – like multitasking.” (p. 248)
- Perman ends his book with this great quote from Charles Spurgeon, “Let us be on the watch for opportunities of usefulness; let us go about the world with our ears and our eyes open, ready to avail ourselves of every occasion for doing good; let us not be content will we are useful, but make this the main design and ambition of our lives.” (p. 325)
Who Should Read This Book?
In my opinion, this book is not for everyone. While everyone can benefit from the principles taught, not everyone will enjoy this book. That being said, if you enjoy books on productivity and workflow – then this book is a must read for you. If your brain is constantly looking for ways in which you can do your work more efficiently – then this book is a must read.
Productivity and serving Christ go hand in hand. They are not mutually exclusive. Increase your productivity by reading this book today. Buy it today at Westminster Books.