Productivity is not just about getting more things done. It’s about getting the right things done! How do we discover the right things that count and make a difference? We get help and biblical advice with Matt Perman, author of What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done.
Matt offers a few insights into the gospel and working. He comes from a theological background but was given large responsibilities – launch a national radio program, manage the website for Desiring God – and discovered he needed to know how to prioritize and get things done.
What does God want done? Is it ‘un-spiritual’ to want to be productive? God cares about the “practical, nitty-gritty details of our lives.” He set the world in motion. Matt points to Proverbs 21:5 – “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.”
Productivity is not the same as efficiency. It doesn’t matter how quickly you do something if it’s the wrong thing to do. Matt uses the acronym DARE to explain gospel-driven productivity:
Define – what is your mission?
Architect – set up a system for your time
Reduce – get rid of the things you don’t need to do.
Execute – do what you’ve prioritized. Matt points out that many people think of this last step as ‘productivity’ but it must be preceded by a strong process.
What heart posture should we use in our day-to-day labor?
Matt says, “Allow love to be the guiding principle in your good works.” What are good works? They’re things that are done in faith. Through this lense, even our emails and PowerPoint presentations can be good works for the glory of God!
Matt points out that relationships are ALSO about productivity, but we need to prioritize even in those situations. Matt uses the acronym DEAD to explain how to manage tasks within relationships.
Delegate – ask others to manage tasks and situations that are out of step with God’s calling for you. Delegate in a way that empowers and affirms the other person.
Eliminate – remove tasks that are unnecessary.
Automate – set up tasks to be taken care of technologically.
Defer – put off a task that is not urgent or time-sensitive until a later time.
The most important thing in this process is to clarify your values. “Value what God values.” Let God define what is valuable, and do it.