Summary: What’s Best Next By Matthew Perman
Summary: What’s Best Next By Matthew Perman

Summary: What’s Best Next By Matthew Perman

Why Is It So Hard to Get Things Done?: Introducing the Villains

The reason it’s so hard to get things done is that we have transitioned as a society from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy, but we haven’t updated our strategies and tactics to align with the nature of knowledge work. The result is that we are unprepared to meet the challenges of ambiguity and overload.

Core Quote

When we closely analyze how the most successful and productive creatives, entrepreneurs, and business people truly make ideas happen, it turns out that “having the idea” is just a small part of the process, perhaps only one percent of the journey.

— Scott Belsky, Making Ideas Happen


Why We Need to Be God-Centered In Our Productivity: How Seeking to Be Productive Without God Is the Most Unproductive Thing In the World

We can be productive in an ultimate sense only if we center our productivity around God and the gospel.

Core Passage

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

— Proverbs 3:5 – 6


Does God Care About Getting Things Done?: Why Knowing How to Get Things Done Is Essential to Christian Discipleship

God wants us to be productive and even cares about things like productivity methods and secular thinking

Core Passage

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.

— Proverbs 6:6 –


Why the Things You Do Every Day Matter: Productivity Is Really About Getting Good Works Done

The things you do every day have great meaning because, in doing them, you are doing the good works that God prepared beforehand for you. Further, doing good for others is not boring, like broccoli, but exciting, like steak. It is the path to the life of greatest joy.

Core Passage

Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

— Matthew 5:16


Put Others First: Love As the Guiding Principle for All of Life: The Gospel Calls Us to Put Others Before Ourselves; This Is Not Only Right But Also the Way to Be Most Productive

The chief guiding principle of effectiveness is to put the other person first in all that you do, including your work.

Core Passage

Always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

— 1 Thessalonians 5:15


How the Gospel Makes Us Productive: The Only Way to Be Productive Is to Realize You Don’t Have to Be Productive

Massive practical action for good comes about not first as a result of moral exhortation or appeals to change but rather as a result of understanding doctrine — and, most centrally, the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Core Passage

[Jesus] gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

— Titus 2:14


Peace of Mind Without Having Everything Under Control: Don’t Turn Productivity Into a New Law: Productivity and Philippians 4

It is easy to unwittingly fall into the trap of basing our day-to-day peace of mind on our productivity or certain productivity practices. This is a law-based approach to the Christian life. Instead, we are to act from peace, not for peace. Ultimate peace of mind comes through faith, just as our justification does.

Core Passage

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

— Philippians 4:6 – 7


The Role of Prayer and Scripture In Our Productivity: God-Centered Character As the Foundation of All Productivity

The fundamental way to know what’s best next — to make good decisions in an age of unlimited options — is to be a person of character. While lists and techniques have their place, none of them will bear the fruit we are called to bear if our productivity is not first founded on being the right kind of person.

Core Passage

Note the connection between prayer, love, and decision making in Philippians 1:9 – 10: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent.”


What’s Your Mission? How Not to Waste Your Life: Setting a God-Centered Direction for Your Life

There is a purpose to life, and we can know it. The purpose of life is to know God, enjoy God, reflect his glory back to him in the pursuit of justice and mercy in all things, and do this in community with others through Jesus Christ.

Core Passage

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

— Matthew 7:24


Finding Your Life Calling: Discovering Why You Are Here, and How Vision Differs from Mission

You need to have an overarching, passionate, God-centered aim to your life — an overarching goal and message that flows from your mission and directs the priorities of your life.

Core Passage

I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

— Acts 20:24


Clarifying Your Roles: Our Roles Are Not Simply Areas of Responsibility, But Callings from God

Your roles are all callings from God and thus avenues of worship. You can serve him just as fully in the “secular” areas of your life as you can in the spiritual areas.

Core Passage

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. . . . So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

— 1 Corinthians 7:17, 24


Creating the Right Routines: The Six Routines You Need to Have

There are six routines that are the most helpful for getting things done and staying up to date: getting up early, daily workflow, weekly workflow, prayer and Scripture, reading and development, and rest.

Core Quote

I am hugely influenced in these things by Peter Drucker and his reminder that the effective executive maximizes his opportunities and knows himself. So we need to know whether we are more mentally active in morning or evening, and we need to maximize that.

— Al Mohler


The Problem With Full System Utilization: Avoiding the Ringing Effect and Why You Need to Reduce

The way to get more projects done is to do less at once, not more, because when you approach capacity, the productivity-killing ringing effect kicks in.

Core Quote

All white-collar work is essentially project oriented. This would imply that all [knowledge workers] are faced with the likely occurrence of chaos within their daily activities.

— Robert Monson


The Art of Making Time: Delegating, Eliminating, Automating, and Deferring In the Right Way

Put first things first, and stop doing second things. The fundamental ways to reduce are through delegating, eliminating, automating, and deferring (DEAD).

Core Passage

“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do [even delegating!], do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).


Harnessing the Time Killers: Harnessing Multitasking, Interruptions, and Procrastination

Eliminate time killers such as multitasking, procrastination, perfectionism, and interruptions not simply by eliminating them but by harnessing them for good.

Core Quote

Our research offers neurological evidence that the brain cannot effectively do two things at once.

— Rene Marois


Productivity In Organizations and Society: Why We Must Care About Productivity In All of Life

Productivity is not just about personal productivity. There are four dimensions of productivity: life, work, organizations, and society. In order to be effective in making our organizations more effective, we need to understand the basics of management and leadership; in order to make society more effective, we need to understand economics and government.

Core Quote

For free society to function we must have high-performing, self-governed institutions in every sector, not just in business, but equally in the social sectors.

— Peter Drucker

Core Passage

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

— Jeremiah 29:7


The Greatest Cause In the World: Productivity, World Missions, and How Our Faith Relates to Our Work

A concern for the good of others leads inevitably to a concern for missions. Our vocations are how we carry our faith into the world, and as Christians one by one, and together, seek to serve others in their vocations to the glory of God, the light of the gospel shines and the world changes.

Core Quote

The message of biblical Christianity is not “God loves me, period . . .” the message of biblical Christianity is “God loves me so that I might make him — his ways, his salvation, his glory, his greatness — known among all nations.”

— David Platt

Core Passage

When anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. . . . Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

— Ephesians 5:13 – 16