You can listen below or at their website.
How can you tell if you are stuck? The following is adapted from the “Unstuck Clinic” at the end of chapter 2 of How to Get Unstuck. It can help you know if you are stuck and, if so, in what areas. (Once you’ve identified that, how do you get unstuck? Well, that’s what the book is for!)
Note: Writing down your answers to the questions has been scientifically shown to be more effective than just reading the questions or thinking bout the answers in your head.
What Does it Mean to be Stuck?
We get stuck in our productivity when we don’t know where we should be going, don’t know how to get there, or keep encountering obstacles.
Are You Stuck?
What are the biggest ways you are stuck right now? Take a few minutes to reflect, and write them down.
Taking it Deeper: Diagnostic Questions
To help you think this through further, here are a few diagnostic questions grouped into the three areas where we get stuck in our productivity.
Need help getting unstuck? If so, I wrote How to Get Unstuck to help!
How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity released yesterday. Here is the beginning of the intro.
If you’ve ever been stuck, you are in good company. Mark Twain got stuck when writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Einstein got stuck when developing the general theory of relativity, and Martin Luther got stuck trying to grasp the doctrine of justification by faith alone.
Even the apostle Paul got stuck on his missionary journeys (Acts 27:20; 1 Thessalonians 2:17–18).
We all hate being stuck. But it happens to everyone in various ways—sometimes in big ways and very often in smaller ways. You can even be stuck in multiple ways at once.
You likely are stuck in some way right now. You might feel like you don’t know where you are headed in life, which is certainly one major type of being stuck. Or you might know where you want to go but keep running into obstacles—another way of being stuck.
You might be trying to do something large and important that you just can’t push forward. Or the ride to accomplishing your goals is just plain bumpier than it ought to be because of various “sticking points” in your productivity approach, workplace environment, or time-management tools. You know there are ways to do things more effectively, but you just aren’t sure what they are.
The encouraging and surprising truth is that it’s okay to be stuck. Being stuck can be a mark that you are doing important things, because important things are often hard. And when things are hard, we are likely to get stuck.
Further, God meets us where we are stuck. In fact, it’s when we are stuck that he often meets us most deeply. David often prayed things like,
Rescue me from the mud;
don’t let me sink any deeper!
Save me from those who hate me,
and pull me from these deep waters. (Ps. 69:14 NLT)
Now that’s being stuck.
We’ve all been there, and all is not lost when we are. It’s okay to be stuck. But we don’t want to stay stuck.
None of us enjoys being stuck. And it sometimes puts crucial, important things at risk. There are things we want to do, things we need to do, and things that make a difference in the world that won’t get done if we stay stuck.
The good news is that it is possible to get unstuck and overcome the obstacles to doing great work and getting the right things done. David prayed for deliverance and got unstuck. Paul never became passive, in spite of his many obstacles. Mark Twain finished The Adventures of Tom Sawyer after taking a year off to replenish. And Einstein got the help he needed with the math to bring the theory of relativity all the way through to completion. (Yes, Einstein needed help with math! — of a very advanced sort, of course.)
It’s May 1, and that means How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity is now available! Go get your copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, WTS Books, or your local Christian bookstore.
Like What’s Best Next, this book has been in the works for a long time. I’m excited that it is now available and hope it can enable you individually to be more effective for God’s purposes, with more peace of mind, and to build up the church so we can be collectively more effective as well.
What Will This Book Do For You?
As Christians, there is an important tool that we’ve been overlooking for how to do our work and live our lives in a God-centered way. This is the tool of personal effectiveness, or personal productivity.
There are lots of great secular books on productivity, such as Getting Things Done, and lots of Christians have been finding them helpful. But none of these look at the issue from a biblical perspective. And we need to do that for a few reasons:
There is now a bit more now on the gospel and productivity than there was a few years ago. But we still need more.
In What’s Best Next, I sought to give an overall system for productivity. In How to Get Unstuck, I focus on helping you overcome obstacles to your productivity. The approach dovetails well with What’s Best Next by going deeper into this specific issue; in doing so, it also includes several principles that I wanted to include in WBN but didn’t have room for. (You can start with either book, as they both stand on their own.)
In How to Get Unstuck, you learn:
So if you want to get more of the right things done, with greater peace and fulfillment, do this through obstacles, and do it for the advancement of God’s purposes in the world, check out How to Get Unstuck.
Here are two endorsements:
Perman’s new book on productivity goes beyond the how of effectiveness to the why: Why do anything well? The answer is found in our theology: Excellence, attention, and care are all ways that we leaders love our God and our neighbors. Drawing on the wisdom of business gurus, neuroscientists, and pastors, Perman has provided a resource for all of us who desire to steward our time, talents, and resources better so that we can live out the gospel more faithfully and fully in the time we’ve been given.
— Katelyn Beaty, former managing editor, Christianity Today, author of A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World
Getting stuck is frustrating, disruptive, and unavoidable. Getting stuck is also not the way it is supposed to be, suggests Matt Perman in his new book, How to Get Unstuck. Gleaning the wisdom from the best of the personal-effectiveness gurus, Perman combines common sense and biblical principles to help you get out of the rut that may have become your new normal. This book will help you joyfully bring more flourishing to the communities God has called you to serve.
— Hugh Whelchel, executive director, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, author of How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work
Here are a few comments from readers so far:
“I had high expectations for this book because of my love for Matt Perman’s previous book, “What’s Best Next”, and I am so very happy that it didn’t disappoint. I am an avid reader with a significant number of professional / business books on my shelf at home and work, and this is one of the few that I intend to re-read on an annual basis.”
“I found What’s Best Next (Perman’s first book) to be super helpful for me, so I was pretty excited to tear into How to Get Unstuck to continue to grow in the area of personal productivity. Good news…I wasn’t let down at all. Perman’s second book builds off the strengths of What’s Best Next, while addressing a struggle all of us encounter in our productivity: getting stuck.”
“Biblical, brilliant, and beautiful.”
Table of Contents and Sample Chapter
I’ll be posting more on Unstuck today and this week. But in the meantime, pick up your copy now!
(How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity is out today! Here is the table of contents. For more details on the book, see the next post.)
Introduction: We All Get Stuck in Some Way
Part 1. The Problem and the Principles: True North
1. How We Get Stuck
2. Flourishing: What it Means to be Unstuck
3. The Unstuck Cycle
4. Recovering Personal Effectiveness as a Force for Good
5. Understanding Urgency and Importance (For Real)
6. Character: The Great Unsticking Force
Part 2. Personal Leadership: The Compass
7. Understand the Power of Vision
8. Be Missional: Understand How Your Faith and Work Relate
9. See Yourself as a Professional (…Sort of)
10. Preparation: Get the Knowledge You Need
Part 3. Personal Management: The Clock
11. Start with Your Time, Not with Your Tasks
12. Set Your Priorities: Make Importance Truly Work
13. Deep Work, Part 1: The New Superpower of Knowledge Work
14. Deep Work, Part 2: Put Deep Work into Your Schedule and Overcome Distractions
15. Renewal: The Power of Preaching to Yourself
Part 4. Special Obstacles: The Laser
16. A Basic Approach to Getting Unstuck from Problems
17. Taking an Adaptive Time Management Approach
18. Building Your Willpower and Growing in Discipline
19. Making Your Workspace Clutter-Free
20. Getting Projects Unstuck
21. Overcoming the Number One Sticking Point for New Leaders