What’s the best book that you should read next? I would have to suggest Matt Perman’s What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done.
This is the most important productivity book that I have ever read. It approaches productivity from a Christian view in light of eternity and exposes the global mission of the individual.
This introduction offers this thesis:
“The essence of gospel driven productivity is this: we are to use all that we have, in all areas of life, for the good of others, to the glory of God-and that this is the most exciting life. To be gospel driven Christian means to be on the lookout to do good for others to the glory of God, in all areas of life, and to do this with creativity and competence. Further, being gospel driven also means knowing how to get things done so that we can serve others in a way that really helps, in all areas of life, without making ourselves miserable in the process to overload, overwhelmed, and hard to keep up systems.”
Matt Perman doesn’t just give us a philosophy of productivity. He gives us a practical process. Like David Allen’s Getting Things Done, He helps you build an entire productivity system that can be adjusted to suit your personality and work style.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is the author’s use of the Scriptures in proving his productivity philosophy and process. Never have I seen the topic of productivity so closely tied to the Gospel. It is God’s desire for His people to be productive in expanding the Kingdom of God.
Every person on earth has a desire to understand their purpose and place in this life. In The Deeper Life Daniel Henderson identifies and explores the “eight vital longings of your soul,” establishing the questions and providing guidelines for arriving at the appropriate answers. Those eight longings expressed in the form of a questions are:
- Who Is God? (My Theology)
- Who Am I? (My Identity)
- Why Am I Here? (My Purpose)
- What Really Matters? (My Values)
- What Shall I Do? (My Priorities)
- How Shall I Do It? (My Goals)
- When Shall I Do It? (My Time)
- How Will I Finish? (My Legacy)
This book is divided into two parts. The first part is very informational. Henderson reviews these eight longings, giving guidelines to properly answering each question and guiding the individual to arrive at answers that are uniquely their own. As you read this section you will discover that your theology is the basis of your identity. Your identity is expressed through a clear purpose. Your purpose is guided by values. Your values determine your priorities. Your priorities are implemented by your goals. Your goals are accomplished by your stewardship of time. And all of this, when understood clearly and embraced daily, results in a legacy that really matters.
The second part of the book is very practical. It is the application of all that was learned in parts one. Henderson guides the reader through a series of exercises to answer the eight questions satisfying the eight vital longings of the soul. The combination of information and practical application in this book make it a wonderful read for anyone who struggles to find their identity, understand their purpose, and establish and accomplish their goals. When we prayerfully answer these questions we begin to understand and fulfill our life’s purpose.
Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review of the book. All opinions are mine.
I recently tweeted that I had downloaded Michael Hyatt’s first e-book, Creating Your Person Life Plan. A good friend of mine responded by asking my opinion of the book, asking if I thought Mr. Hyatt’s approach was Biblical. I’ve had other friends who suggested that goal-setting and life-planning of any kind were directly opposed to God’s Word.
I can understand the concern. After reading through Mr. Hyatt’s book, I must confess that I am not comfortable with all of the verbiage that he uses. For example, the subtitle of the book is “A Step-by-Step Guide for Designing the Life You’ve Always Wanted.” If I am responsible for designing my life, I’m afraid it will fall incredibly short of what it could be if I allow God to design it.
Also, Mr. Hyatt prioritizes his “life accounts,” stressing the importance of taking care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. His list looks like this:
3. Gail (Spouse)
Others would argue that “self” should come after others as we are called to be servants to all. The problem is in trying to list these accounts in order of importance. Rather than a list, I suggest we put our relationship with God at the center of our life. When our relationship with Him is correct, the other accounts are a natural outflow of this relationship.
That being said, Let me tell you why I love Mr. Hyatt’s book and how I have been using these ideas and resources for the past year.
If you know me well at all, you know that I am task oriented. I am a planner. I set goals and strive to meet those goals. I have been using the Life Plan format and the Weekly Review and Quarterly Review for the past year and I can honestly say that it has increased my focus and productivity by leaps and bounds.
The key is in how you use tools like these. Planning and goal setting can be dangerous or it can be beneficial depending upon your starting point. When I set goals, they are based on the vision and purpose that God has already revealed to me concerning His will for my life. I don’t use a Life Plan to design my life. Rather, I use it to move me forward in God’s revealed plan for my life.
And that has made all the difference.
Download a copy of Michael Hyatt’s e-book here.
This is a neat little exercise that I first read about on Chris Brogan’s website. Every year, Chris picks three words that will serve as “guiding pillars” for the year. I thought this would be worth trying for myself so I have picked three words for 2011. I will not focus on these three items at the expense of other important things, but I will narrow my focus in 2011 to improve in these specific areas.
I have been taught to distinguish between knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Knowledge is recognition, wisdom is application, and understanding realizes the value and purpose of application. Need an example? Lying is wrong; recognizing that is knowledge, not lying is wisdom, and realizing the value and purpose of not lying is the understanding. All three of these can be applied to (and may even be considered the components of) Truth.
I will endeavor to increase in my understanding of Biblical Truth in 2011.
I will be preaching and teaching in 2011 more than I ever have in any given year of my life. Let me tell you, the guilt of feeling unprepared to share the Truth is not a good feeling. We ought to be well-prepared regardless of our duty, and even more so when we are called on to share God’s Word. Good preparation is vital if we are going to be effective.
This one is a little tricky for me because my personality can lead me into the ditch on the other side of the road. It is possible for preparation to become a form of procrastination. And when it comes to preaching and teaching God’s Word, it is possible to lean too heavily on preparation at the expense of Divine interruption.
I will endeavor to be well prepared and willing for God to interrupt when He desires.
I want to get my focus off myself and more on others in 2011. I don’t want a ministry that serves me. I want a ministry that serves others. It is easy as a young minister trying to become established to always look for the personal benefit in opportunities. This year I want to look for opportunities that serve others.
I will endeavor to serve in 2011.
What are your three words?