Matt Perman, former Desiring God web guy, Christian productivity expert, and author of What’s Best Next has a new book out: How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity.
Maybe you’re like me and get stuck from time to time with work or other projects. I am a serial project starter and often need extra motivation to keep working until something is done. That’s why this book called my attention.
What does it mean to be “unstuck”? Perman’s expanded definition:
“To be unstuck is to be making a difference through obstacles in things that matter to you. More specifically, it’s to know how to set the right goals and get them done. It’s to know what God’s purposes are for you and to make them happen with him and in his power. It’s to be able to move and navigate in life and work from where you are to where you want to be—to where God wants you to be. It’s to be able to say, ‘I want this to be different,’ and then be able to make it happen.”
Here’s a sampling of lessons I gleaned from reading How to Get Unstuck:
- Vision drives everything. When you’re stuck in a certain project or at work in general, it’s possible you have lost vision for what you’re doing and just don’t care enough to focus and get things done. Then, the stuck person should spend time redeveloping a vision for their work to not only guide them toward their goal but also to instill needed motivation.
- A lifestyle of productivity isn’t built only by knowing and applying productivity tips or life hacks. It requires a new paradigm through which you look at life and productivity. You need to address the foundational values that drive everything. Once that is set, tips and tricks are more useful. Spending time thinking and praying through foundational values may seem like a waste of time (it won’t help you cross something off your to-do list), but is the most important thing you can do.
- Create a “stop doing” list. This is simple, but necessary for someone like me with several brands in the fire. For me, this means no more major book reviews or starting new projects until old ones are done. It also means not being lured by new book releases that take me away from my reading/research goals.
- Structure your work day so it has a clear end. This forces you to be productive in the number of hours you have and not have your work expand for more time than it needs to be—something especially useful for those who work from home like I often do.
Overall, Unstuck is a worthy addition to the Christian productivity conversation.If you’re like me and wish you could read more on productivity (like Essentialism, Getting Things Done, and Deep Work), let Perman share key principles and apply them to you from a Christian worldview.
While a good follow up to Perman’s What’s Best Next, it still suffers from WBN’s biggest drawback: length (although How to Get Unstuck is much shorter than What’s Best Next). How to Get Unstuck is about 250 pages and could have easily been in the 150–175 range—but don’t let that deter you. This book could be the game-changer you’ve been looking for. Perman’s teaching, taken to heart and applied, will help you break free from productivity barriers. And since life is short and we are all called to meaningful work, that’s a big deal.