Organization has never come easy for me.  I can always get organized, but staying organized is not as easy.  Over the past year I focused on organization.  I have learned a lot in the process, the most important lesson being organization is still difficult, and it takes work.   Here are some of the things I have learned.

  1. PLAN – Organization takes planning.  Each Sunday I try to sit down and plan out my week.  This idea came from Michael Hyatt’sCreating Your Personal Life Plan” which I would highly recommend to everyone and the best part is it is free when you subscribe to his blog.  I use a weekly planner (cannot remember who I got it from) I modified to work for me.  (If you would like the Illustrator file let me know)  When I plan out my week, I have found I am far more productive.  It is funny, I use to just walk into the office and work on what came to mind.  I was fine with this and I always had freedom.  Since I started planning I get really irritated when people mess up my schedule.
  2. FILE – Find a system that works for you and stick with it.  I know it sounds simple, but far too many people jump from one trend to another.  I have found Evernote works incredibly well for me.  After experimenting with it for several months I even upgraded to the Premium version (around $50) a year.  It is web based; which means I can access everything I have from my PC, iPad and iPhone.  The premium version will allow me to upload any file type.
  3. SCHEDULE – It is imperative to keep one master calendar somewhere.  It does not matter; hand written or electronic, but you need a master calendar.  I use Microsoft Outlook because I like the color coding options.  This has been so important for me trying to balance, ministry, family and school.  It is so easy if you are not careful to overbook or double book yourself.
  4. REST – I know it sounds funny when talking about organization, but if I do not plan for rest, it will not happen.  I must find time to rest and refresh myself.  It is a Sabbath.  There is a great tendency in our culture today to produce, produce, produce and never take a break.  Sabbath reminds me I am not defined by what I produce.  When all I do is work I limit the quality of what I produce as well as my creativity.  Someone in ministry once told me, “I never take a day off because Satan doesn’t take a day off.”  At first I thought, that is great, it is what I should do.  As I spent more time in ministry it occurred to me Satan is not who I am trying to model my life after.  Jesus is and He observed Sabbath.

This past week at Catalyst I was reminded of  the progress I have made in this area of my life over the past year by a statement made by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great.  Collins said one of the distinguishing traits of a great leader is “Fanatic Discipline.”  Fanatic discipline is the discipline to not deviate from the plan no matter what the situation.  He defined it as the “20 Mile March,” which I will go into great detail on later this week.

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