What’s Best Next (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014)

Some of you enjoy reading Scripture and putting it’s truths into practice. Some of you like reading productivity literature, such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People or Getting Things Done, and putting their principles into practice. And some of you enjoy reading both. Well, now there is a book that will satisfy all three camps: What’s Best Next by Matt Perman.

What's Best Next - book by Matt Perman

Being one who also seeks to integrate Scripture and productivity, I was quite excited to see this book released. And upon my initial quick read of it, I came away pleased.

This book successfully integrates Scripture and productivity literature, honoring both and diminishing neither. He grounds productivity in the gospel, stating truths such as these:

  • You work from peace, not for peace. In other words, productivity is not a means of achieving peace in your life. Rather, productivity is what flows from the peace you have from being saved by Jesus.
  • Effectiveness trumps efficiency. What is most important is that you do the tasks that God calls you to do, namely to love Him and our neighbors and to serve others above ourselves.

Once the Scriptural foundation for productivity has been laid, he then goes on to utilize the best of productivity literature to provide  for accomplishing what God has laid on your heart, such as:

  • Utilizing a four-part framework for productivity: Defining your priorities, Architecting your schedule, Reducing unnecessary tasks, and Executing your actions.
  • Making sure you schedule your most important tasks first. This is a critical point that I am glad he stated. It is not simply enough to identify your priorities. They must be scheduled in your days and weeks or else they will not happen.
  • Getting rid of lower priority tasks through delegating, eliminating, automating, or deferring.

Click here to see the full table of contents if you’d like to take a look at what’s inside this book.

If you’re looking at its 300-page length and wondering how you’ll fit a book this long into your busy life, the good news is that each chapter is relatively short and easy to read. He also provides a helpful summary and suggested application at the end, although I do wish the applications were more specific in places.

Overall, I would put this book as definitely accessible for people who are new to productivity literature, as well as a good heart check for the driven/productive people who don’t necessarily do it according to Christian principles. If you’re well-grounded in one or both, you may not necessarily find anything new, but even if you don’t, there is much value in the book. For you, then, the value is in having a book written by someone who has done the hard work of integrating both fields. This is quite a task for which we all should be quite grateful.

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