Years ago I read the book What’s Best Next and had a dinner with the author. It’s an excellent book that ties theology to productivity, focus, and purpose. The title is the thesis: always be thinking on and doing what is best next.
Asking, “What is best next?” is a helpful question to reframe my day, hours, and minutes. It’s simple but anything except easy. The difficulty is 1) knowing what my objective is and 2) out of all the actions I could take what is the best one now.
Best does not mean doing the easiest, most obvious, or most immediately rewarding “action”. Best means the next action I take it aligns with my objectives, my purpose, and my values.
This question has become more top of mind recently as my work priorities shift from accomplishing a large volume of work to supporting and leading a department.
As an individual, “best next” is often an action or piece of work that needs finishing. As a leader, “best next” is often a person or a plan. The former has a quicker pay off, is in my wheel house, and I thrive on finishing work. The latter is quite different, more complex, and is not fully in my control.
Now, best is leveling up the team, pushing them to do their best work, and helping them to raise their own self-standards.