At the end of What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done, I give a summary of the book in 500 words so that people can easily take away the core concept and a few key practices (and share them with others).
Here it is:
Gospel-Driven Productivity in a Nutshell
We need to look to God to define for us what productivity is, not simply the ambiguous concept of “what matters most.” For God is what matters most.
When we do this, we don’t enter a realm of spiritual weirdness, as we might fear. Good secular thinking remains relevant as a gift of God’s common grace. Neither do we enter a realm of over-spiritualization where the things we do every day don’t matter.
Instead, the things we do every day take on even greater significance because they are avenues through which we serve God and others. In fact, the gospel teaches us that the good of others is to be the main motive in all that we do and the chief criteria by which we determine “what’s best next.” This is not only right, but also the best way to be productive, as the best business thinkers are showing. More importantly, when we do this in God’s power and as an offering to him, he is glorified and shown to be great in the world.
In order to be most effective in this way in our current era of massive overload yet incredible opportunity, we need to do four things to stay on track and lead and manage our lives effectively:
The result of this is not only our own increased peace of mind and ability to get things done, but also the transformation of the world by the gospel because it is precisely in our everyday vocations that we take our faith into the world and the light of the gospel shines—both in what we say and in what we do (Matthew 5:16).
If You Only take 5 Productivity Practices Away from This Book
Learning and especially implementing productivity practices can be hard. It is easy to forget what we learned or forget how to apply it. One remedy is to keep coming back to this book (of course!). But to make this as simple as possible, if you can only take away 5 things from this book, they should be these:
- Foundation: Look to God, in Jesus Christ, for your purpose, security, and guidance in all of life.
- Purpose: Give your whole self to God (Romans 12:1-2), and then live for the good of others to his glory to show that he is great in the world.
- Guiding Principle: Love your neighbor as yourself. Treat others the way you want them to treat you. Be proactive in this and even make plans to do good.
- Core Strategy: Know what’s most important and put it first.
- Core Tactic: Plan your week, every week! Then, as things come up throughout the day, ask “is this what’s best next?” Then, either do that right away or, if you can’t, slot it in to your calendar or action list that you are confident you will refer back to at the right time.