Your empty desk and dewey decimal worthy bookshelves might be fooling you into thinking you’re organized. The truth is that your physical environment is only part of what needs organizing. Information, commitments, resources, ideas, and goals all have a place where they need to be put. Mere tidiness is faux organization.
Why even worry about being organized?
Disorganization is like engine sludge. It slows you down so that you can’t run on all cylinders. But just like you can’t see the sludge, there are invisible signs that we are disorganized. Here’s three.
Forgetfulness is a sign that you are bad at organizing your ideas. An idea or thought is organized when you’ve written it down and put it somewhere so you can remember it later.
How often have you said to someone, “I’ll be praying for you,” and have forgotten to?
An easy way to fix this is to carry something around for recording thoughts. It could be as simple as a mini notebook, as trendy as a moleskin, or as fancy as your iPhone.
Inefficiency is a sign that your resources are not well organized. We pastors already have more on our plate than we can humanly accomplish. We don’t have time to waste looking around for stuff.
How long does it take you to find notes that you have filed? Do you even file notes? Or do you trust your brain to remember your ideas? Go back to #1, do not collect $200.
Working from piles of articles, having files that are not labeled by topic, and not keeping often-used books right next to your desk are all ways disorganization siphons efficiency.
A telltale sign that your tasks are disorganized when you’re distracted. When there is an important outcome with a next step missing, our brain lets us know by stealing our attention from the task at hand, and giving it to the task that needs closure.
You have experienced this when you are trying to study for a sermon, but yesterday’s counseling session keeps coming to mind. You haven’t decided how to follow up yet, and your brain lets you know.
I have found that even writing out a task, “Figure out how to follow up with so-and-so” gives my mind a break – as long as I attach a reasonable due date to it. I no longer have to pester myself with a decision, and can get back to studying. I haven’t actually figured the problem out, but I have told my brain that it can chill out because I will in a timely manner.
You bring much more focus to your pastoral work when you get organized, not only in your physical surroundings, but your mental world, as well. Wondering how to do this? Stay tuned for these posts on how to get organized:
- 5 Nerdy Tools that Will Make You an Organizational Jock
- You Don’t Have to Be a Neat-Freak to Stay Organized
- How To Set Up Your Files for Efficient and Effective Sermon Prep
- Task List Options from Around the Web: Choose What Works Best for You