Conquering busyness, doing great work, and escaping average… with Matt Perman

Conquering busyness, doing great work, and escaping average… with Matt Perman

Matt Perman has written 2 books on productivity, What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done and How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity. He has an MDiv in biblical and theological studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Project Management Professional Certification from the Project Management Institute. He was Director of Internet and Strategy at Desiring God for 13 years. Matt is now serving as the Director of Career Development at Kings College in New York City.

Unstuck “is a book about conquering busyness, doing great work and escaping average for a cause greater than yourself – and doing all this in a holistic way that doesn’t sacrifice one area of life for another (such as a sacrificing your  family for your career)” (p. 14).

Before you listen to the podcast with Matt, please take the following self-assessment.

Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10, 10 being highest.

___ I always make time during my work week for intellectual growth and ministry preparation because I not only value production but also production capacity.

___ It’s my actual practice each workday to do first things first and to do one thing at a time because I value proactive work over reactive work.

___ In a 40-hour work week, I typically devote at least 16 hours to priority (high-value) work that is slotted into very specific time slots in my weekly schedule.

___ During a typical work week, I often find myself doing deep work in a state of “flow“ – the ability to concentrate without distraction on cognitively demanding tasks. I often feel alert and strong, the task feels effortless and a sense of time disappears.

___ I always end my workday at a specific time because I know downtime aids insights, a decisive end to the workday helps me recharge and a hard end to the workday helps me be more efficient during the workday.

___ Your total

Where did you score highest? Lowest? How might you grow in your ability to conquer busyness, do great work and escape average for a cause greater than yourself by being more effective and efficient with your time?

In the podcast, Matt shared how Titus 2:14 and Ephesians 2:10 were verses that motivated him to learn more about personal productivity. Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Think back. How have ineffectiveness and inefficiency in managing your time limited the good works you’ve done for Christ?

Matt talks about how the urgent, non-important tasks can crowd out the non-urgent, important tasks. Make a list of the non-urgent, important tasks that God is called you to do. What are some of the main urgent, non-important tasks in your life that crowd out the non-urgent, important tasks? What is a strategy you can’t create to keep that from happening?

How would you define “deep work”? How much time do you think you spend each “deep work”? How much time do you think you need to spend in “deep work“? Matt shared a formula: The Amount of Productivity = Time Spent x The Quality of Focus. What are some ways you can increase the quality of your focus?

Matt taught us that three commitments can increase your mental energy.

  1. Exercise
  2. Taking a full day off
  3. Implementing a hard stop to your workday

Which of these is easiest for you? Which is most difficult? Which one have you not tried? What change can you make it to your life in order to experiment with Matt’s suggestions?

Matt shared an acrostic – DEAD – that can help us eliminate some of our busyness.





Write down two or three things each category that might actually help fee up some of your time.

Take some time to reflect on the experience of listening to this interview with Matt. Ask yourself, “What have I learned? What is one personal practice that I need to implement?” Write down your answers. Tell someone—a team member, a fellow trainer, a training Champion or your Regional Send Network Trainer—about the changes you want to make. Ask them to pray with you and encourage you. Now, develop a strategy—next steps—to make those changes a reality.

Learn more from Matt at You can follow Matt on Twitter at @mattperman. Here are links to buy the book

What’s Best Next 


Published September 26, 2018