What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman
Gospel-driven life, gospel preaching, gospel living, are we done yet with the tag? Yet, as I picked up Matt Perman’s new book, What’s Best Next, I think the gospel used here is crucial to the entire book. The book is about how we see work, productivity, and the gospel intertwined together. In reality, you come away with a book that relates the good news and work to many areas of life including business, your core principles, mission, love, and good works. My initial response to the title and the cover was that this was going to be a boring book about work and faith, but boy was I wrong.
Matt goes into the discussion of productivity with a razor sharp aim on the key issues. He comments concerning intentionality that, “What we see here is that love for God should also lead us to be concerned with time management (65).” Our faith is not to be sequestered in a corner where moth and cobwebs appear but as an impulse to make intentionality, time management, and putting first things first in order. Referencing Mike Allen, Matt also indicates that the greatest obstacle to productivity is the amount of input that we receive on a daily basis (64). It is overwhelming to deal with email, texts, and other avenues of communication in our global world. Not only is an obstacle to deal with the amount of input, but it is also a challenge to know how to put priority matters in order and less priority matters as well.
We would all do well to read and re-read Matt’s chapter entitled Put Others First: Love as the Guiding Principle for All of Life. He writes, “The guiding mindset of our lives is to be: how can I do good for others? How can I benefit my neighbor? In other words, the good of others is to be the motive and criteria for all that we do. The good of others is “what’s best next.” (87) Rather than placing the motivation for good in our self-satisfaction, turning outward toward our neighbor allows our love to be evidenced by others. I would also add a caveat here; namely, the good that we do to our neighbors does not help them if we don’t know their personalities, their wants and the things they desperately need. Material means are great, but many times people desire a listening ear or a friend to play with their children. By serving others in this way, we show them the love of Christ very clearly.
One key thing mentioned by Matt is worth repeating here about workflow. He writes, “I’m not advocating checking email once a day. I do advocate checking it in batches, rather than continually, because otherwise you are essentially interrupting yourself all day (212).” Why is this so important? Well, for one, constant email checking (guilty as charged) can move you away from focusing on your primary or most important tasks of the day. Second, checking constant email moves you away from human interaction at times when a face to face conversation is the best kind of communication. Matt has some really good points here that are worth going back to.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about work and the gospel.
Thanks to Zondervan and BookLook Bloggers for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.