That’s one of the questions from my interview today on the book with Matt Mitchell.
Matt asked fantastic questions, and I really enjoyed doing the interview. You can read the interview at his blog, where I talk about why the book took so long, how productivity relates to sanctification and Christian discipleship, how it builds on but also differs from GTD, and much more.
And, here’s my answer to the first question, on whether “what’s best next” should be taken as a statement or a question:
1. What does the title, What’s Best Next, mean? Is that a statement or a question or both?
It’s first of all a statement. This book is about that which is best next, which is doing the will of the Lord (Ephesians 5:15-17).
So, what is the will of the Lord? We all know that what Jesus wants from us is love. So that’s what’s best next — love — and that’s the heart of the book. All of our productivity needs to be grounded in love — first, in terms of our motive (the good of the other person) but also in terms of how we make decisions at all.
And that’s what’s often overlooked: love is not just our motive in what we do, but is also supposed to be the guiding principle by which we decide what to do. What is best for the other person? That’s the question love asks, and therefore that’s the guiding principle of productivity. You don’t make choices based on what’s best for yourself next, but you make the welfare of the other person the motive and criterion for deciding what to do.
And so “what’s best next” is, second of all, also a question as well. We have so many things coming our way today. We have almost limitless options and opportunities now, and a massive amount of information to deal with every day. How do we make good decisions in the midst of this age of unlimited options? “What’s best next” is a question we can use to help guide us. The point is: you don’t need to do everything that’s next. You just need to do what’s best next.
The core principle of productivity is to do what’s most important first. So when you have a thousand things to do, stop and ask “what’s best next?” Then do that. Likewise, don’t do what’s easiest next; do what’s best next. This is a question we can continually use to guide us.