We live in a crazy-busy culture. There is always something to do. Yet with everything to do, few of us seem to accomplish our goals and the items on our to-do list. Why? Well, many of us are simply unorganized. Admittedly, many of us go from one crisis moment to another crisis moment and fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to getting things done. Tired of such a crazy lifestyle? Here are some tips to a more efficient, organized life:
- Promise Carefully. Why? Because our words matter. We often get so careless with our words and promises, don’t we? We say things like: “Yeah, I’ll be sure to text you about meeting for coffee this weekend.” OR “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that…I’ll be sure to pray about that.” OR “You bet! I’ll be sure to call you about that project this week.” And then…we forget. We get busy. We fail to do what we promised we would do. Why?! Why are we so quick to make well meaning, but empty promises to people? Well, I believe it’s because we are merely interested in saying nice things to people and looking good. We care little of our words and promises, and our actions (or lack thereof) proves it! If you promise someone something (whether “big” or “small”), plan to follow through. So obviously you can’t do everything…so make your promises carefully!
- Write Everything Down. That is to say, everything you do promise, should be written down in your planner/calendar. As my Associate Pastor, Jon Rocha, would phrase it: “A paper brain never forgets, but we sure do!” We are forgetful creatures…so write everything down. Certainly write down in your planner or calendar the “big” things (e.g. meetings, project deadlines, etc.), but be sure to write down the “small” things as well (i.e. call so and so, send email to so and so, pray for so and so, etc.). We are prone to forget…so write everything down!
- Plan in Pencil. I have chosen the word “pencil” very intentionally in order to distinguish it from the word “pen”. Now I’m not saying you can’t physically write down items in your planner/calendar using a pen, but by “plan in pencil” I mean have the mindset that legitimate crises do arise, and so your plans might have to change in order to accommodate for a genuine need. Bottom line: People are more important than our plans and projects…so if someone is hurt or in trouble, change your plans and go be a good husband, wife, son, daughter, or friend!
- Strive for Balance. Listen, I don’t care how awesome you are, you simply can’t do everything in one day or even one week…so learn to achieve balance with your to-do list items. I generally only choose two “big” items in a day (e.g. sermon prep and a blog post) and maybe four or five “small” items in that same day (i.e. phone calls, emails, etc.). Once I’m done with my list, I’m done for the day. I don’t try to “work ahead” and thus exhaust myself for the next day’s activities. I simply rest by means of working out, spending time with my family, reading a book, etc.
- Organization IS Fun. Usually blog posts on organization and planning end with some sort of cute statement like: “Remember to have fun too!” Well, I would submit to you that being organized IS fun. It’s not either/or, it’s both /and. That is to say, Organization = Fun. It’s fun to keep your promises. It’s fun to see your goals and objectives being met. It’s fun to know where you’re going in life and the plan to get there. Another word for “fun” is “rewarding”. The organized life is the planned life and such a life is downright rewarding.
Interact with me on social media and share with me your tips on how to get and stay organized…and be sure to use the hashtag #PrairieOrganized.