5 Quotes from Matt Perman’s How to Get Unstuck


I recently became a full-time pastor for the first time. So I read a fair bit these days. It occurred to me that I could put this reading to further good use by sharing 5 good quotes from each book I finish. So expect to see these periodically from now on.

The book I most recently finished is called How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to your Productivityby Matt Perman, former internet director for Desiring God. This book takes insights on personal effectiveness and time management from authors like David Allen and Stephen Covey and presents them from a Christian worldview.

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  • “Here’s a good summary: personal effectiveness is the skill of leading yourself every day to get the right things done in the right way, for the right reason, and in the shortest possible amount of time. We could say it’s knowing how to get things done, make ideas happen, and do great work. It’s the skill that goes underneath everything else you do and enables you to do it. It’s how you figure out what your mission is, stay on track with your mission, manage your tasks, schedule your activities, keep your stuff organized, and assess problems (such as procrastination and distraction) to find ways around them.” (55)

  • “Developing an overall vision for your life…is simply part of being an adult. Perhaps the failure of so many to deeply think through their vision these days is a reflection of the wider societal trend toward perpetual adolescence. That is an impoverished existence.” (103)

  • “[One] mistake we often make as Christians when we see people stuck is that we tend to assume laziness too quickly. When we see someone struggling with their productivity, we may assume they aren’t working hard enough or that they can just fix the problem by deciding to. We hear this type of thinking in phrases like ‘If it really matters to you, you will do it,’ and ‘People find time for what really matters to them.’ I call this the willpower fallacy. Such thinking assumes that change can be made simply by deciding to make change. It fails to recognize that often the causes of the challenge are complex, and that change needs to be grown instead of installed.” (49)

  • “Know that you have to do the easier before the harder. Covey points out that many are trying to conquer day four, five, and six problems (such as procrastination, impatience, and pride) without having conquered day one and two problems of getting control over the body (getting to bed early, rising early, exercising regularly, eating in moderation, and working when tired).” (232)

  • “So that’s why we need to set priorities. It’s not simply that tasks are not of equal value; it’s that there are limits on what you can do, and to spend time on lower-level tasks is not to spend that time on higher-value tasks.” (177)

For more by Matt Perman, go to his website What’s Best Next.

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