(A Guest Post by David Doran, Jr.)
Every mother, pastor, roofer, and sanitation engineer in the Western world has felt the wrath of life’s relentless assault of tasks-to-be-done. You’re probably calling them tasks-to-survive by now. Western culture is drunk on going faster and faster and doing more and more. It’s no surprise, then, to see the huge market of books, conferences, and media teaching workaholics to drink responsibly from the fire hose.
Many of these works are helpful in managing the flow—or tidal wave!—of life. I, much like author Matt Perman, had not made use of systems or strategies or lists in getting through college. When ministry and seminary hit the gas peddle, however, I had to adjust and fast. Still, after writing lists and next actions, etc., etc., I found myself stuck in the iconic “I Love Lucy” scene at the chocolate factory. Ethel and Lucy begin their post at the conveyor belt managing just fine; however, before long, the onslaught of chocolates simply becomes unstoppable. (You really need to take 2 minutes and watch for yourself. Don’t worry; this quick dose of joy will help your productivity. Perman agrees, see, e.g., p. 248, where Perman argues that Facebook can increase your productivity.)
Many productivity resources become a designated driver for the workaholic. And What’s Best Next (WBN) answers the call for those feeling like Lucy & Ethel. Perman (former Director of Strategy at Desiring God) presents a savvy biblical approach to getting things done. WBN prepares readers to (1) launch right by making God supreme and by viewing productivity through a Gospel lens (Parts 1 & 2); (2) navigate right by following the steps summarized in the acronym D.A.R.E.: Define, Architect, Reduce and Execute (Parts 3–6); and, finally, (3) land right by living for the Great Commission and uplifting the downtrodden (Part 7).
I could say so much more about the usefulness of his book. However, here I’ll simply list 5 reasons why you should read WBN next.
- WBN prioritizes eternity. The only way to be truly productive in a lasting way is to do what God thinks is productive.
- WBN inspires. If students truly take a teacher’s passion more than anything else, WBN readers will come away with at least Perman’s heartbeat for God-exalting living through ambitious, creative service.
- WBN enhances the Greats. Perman isn’t starting from scratch. In fact, I found WBN’s ability to borrow, adapt and enhance the brilliance of others incredibly helpful. Perman draws Edwards, Wilberforce, Covey, Drucker, and Allen in together in a Gospel-shaped symphony for your benefit.
- WBN anticipates the struggle. Perman anticipates the challenges of becoming more productive. He provides helpful advice and pathways for better scheduling, delegation, time management, and more.
- WBN frees you from the rat race. Perman consistently reiterates that our goal is to please, not appease, God. The only way to be truly productive is to realize we don’t actually have to be productive. The good news of someone else doing all the work for you is rarely heard in the halls of “do-more-faster-bigger-and-better-to-be-accepted.” WBN flies in the face of earning status and preaches a radical “more, faster, bigger, and better” flowing out from our accepted status. IOW, this is, to say it again, Gospel-driven productivity at its finest!