How to Get Unstuck

Matt Perman: Breaking Free From Barriers to Your Productivity

How to Get Unstuck
Breaking Free From Barriers to Your Productivity
(Zondervan, 2018)

WHO: Matt Perman, cofounder of What’s Best Next and former director of marketing at Made to Flourish.

HE SAYS: “Many of us feel like we are not getting done what really matters to us and what we are truly capable of doing. And even wen we are accomplishing things, doing so is a battle that surely must be harder than it really has to be.”

THE BIG IDEA: This book’s goal is to help readers get unstuck in their productivity in work and life, and do it through a God-centered, gospel driven way. It addresses how to accomplish God’s priorities using quick tips for getting unstuck in common time-management problems.

THE PROGRESSION:
Part 1 examines the chef problem that gets everyone stuck: busyness. The chapters look at the urgency versus importance battle in time management and how it is the root of all other problems.
Part 2 shows that we can’t go straight to setting priorities if we don’t examine what is behind the priorities. Then the chapters look at developing a vision for life and determining priorities, or life planning.
Part 3 talks about applying discipline to implement our vision. It involves organization, motivation and carrying out the plan.
Part 4 offers quick solutions to common sticking points.

“As we get unstuck, we can change the world. We can advance the common good, tackle large global problems effectively and further the spread of the gospel.”

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A CONVERSATION WITH MATT PERMAN

1. How do you see the principles developed in your book applying to the lives of pastors?

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Pastors have an overload of competing demands on their time just as much as everyone else, often more so because you are always “on” in a sense because an emergency hospital visit or marriage crisis can happen at any time. Many pastors struggle with how to manage this load better with less stress.

Many pastors also are eager to carve out more time for things like study, sermon preparation and pastoral care. The principles in this book can show them how to do that, especially the chapters on “start with your time, not with your tasks” and on how to set your priorities.

2. Do you see pastors being able to use this book to motivate their staffs? Congregations?

Absolutely. A key part of our productivity comes from how well we are able to motivate others, since all good work involves a team in some way. Unstuck can help pastors motivate their staffs in three ways. First, as the staff sees their pastors becoming more effective, that will be motivating in itself. It is a very motivating thing to see the leader on top of things and running with good momentum. Second, there is a chapter on productivity and leadership, and how to keep your individual productivity from crowding out your leadership tasks. That is a key obstacle for leaders that needs to be overcome. Third, giving this book to their staffs can be motivating, for as we learn how to be more productive, we find our work more motivating simply because we are doing it better. Effectiveness in our work is a key aspect of motivation.

3. How can your book help the average person who feels stuck in life?

First, the book shows how all of the work we do matters for God’s purposes. All lawful work has immense value when done for Christ, no matter what your profession or main work is. Second, the book lays out a process, or a map, for how to get unstuck. There are three main parts to it. First, we need to understand the basic principles of effectiveness and what it means to be unstuck. That is “true north.” Second, we need to develop our personal leadership—knowing where we are going in life and the main principles by which to live. That is our “compass,” by which we detect true north. Third, we need to know how to take our vision and get it done—with focus and discipline. That’s personal management, or “the clock,” which is about doing the right things faster and in less time.

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