Monday, February 21, 2011

Getting Organized is an Act of Worship

Today begins the 12 principles and base for the (perhaps) book on Getting Organized: 12 Steps to Peace. (Remember that Tuesdays are devoted to this theme while Fridays explore a potpourri of organizing tips.)

Let's dive right in.

Getting organized is an act of worship.

So often, we separate the sacred and the secular in our lives. Our time reading the Bible, or going to church or Bible studies, or praying is considered sacred. Our time updating the checkbook, dusting the mantel, attending a business meeting or writing a report feels more "secular." But I have news for you. It's all sacred. God really does care about how you and "do" everyday life, including how it is organized. After all, how we manage--or steward--what He gives us, brings honor or disappointment to Him.

We are created in His image. That means that we reflect Him. He desires us to be holy like He is. So, in terms of our lives and homes, what would that mean?

Let's take a look at the following verses:

  • 1 Corinthians 14:40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
  • Colossians 2:5 - For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
  • Proverbs 31 tells of a woman that looks over the affairs of her household well
  • Titus 2:5 encourages us to be busy at home
  • Colossians 3:17 – Whatever we do (including homemaking) is to be done to the glory of God

So if He is a God of order and peace, it makes sense that when we live in order and peace we are mirroring His characteristics. The bonus is that it also leads to peace in our relationships--something that brings great joy to Him! (Psalm 133:1)

So let me ask you (and me) a question. When we are doing household chores, what is our underlying attitude? Are we sighing and mumbling? Or are we using the opportunity to worship?

Home chores are a great time to worship the Lord. Put on some praise music and vacuum in a worship dance to the Lord. Fold all those clothes with a thankful spirit for the people who wear them. Pray and ask for help and strength to do the necessary chores for that day--and only what God wants done, not the huge list we often expect of ourselves. As you de-clutter, think of "putting aside weights" that easily drag us down (Hebrews 12:1) and consider the freedom you will feel when that area is no longer a pile of junk!

Pray while you type that report. Have a thankful spirit as you answer that customer's phone call. Be a light in your workplace.

Experiment this week with worshiping while organizing at home or in the workplace and comment about it! This blog will be more helpful as you comment and we get a discussion going!

Friday, February 18, 2011

To Do Lists and Calendars: The All Together Separate Principle

Part of the reason for launching this blog (among several) is to provide me a disciplined mechanism for (perhaps) writing another book. (If you are not familiar with my book, Time Management, Jesus' Way, check out our store or become a silver member of HOPE Online for an e-copy.)

I recently completed teaching a class called "Getting Organized at Home: 12 Steps to Peace." I will be sharing the 12 steps over several weeks here, hoping to flesh out what may become some chapters in the book.

I also want to mix in a potpourri of posts and tips about organization, so here's the plan (subject to change when necessary!)

I'll post something specific to the 12 steps on Tuesdays. On Fridays, I'll post something more general. That way we'll have a mix. I'll try to update Scripture and tips every week as well, and when possible, add pictures to our slide show that, well, "picture" various organizational ideas and tools.

So, since this first post is arriving on a Friday, let's go with a tip about To Do Lists and Calendars.

I call this tip the "All Together Separate" principle.

There are lots of ways to maintain calendars and to-do lists. This idea is just one of many, and it boils down to having one calendar, but separate to-do lists.

All-together: Keep one master calendar for your personal and professional life. You may choose to use Google calendar so it can sync between various technologies (phone, laptop, desktop) or have one master printed calendar in one room of the house with a copy kept up in a day planner. (Try to keep backups somewhere.) I recommend one calendar since it will give you a bird's eye view of everyone's schedule and where plans could potentially bleed into each other. You don't have to have everyone's daily plans for every minute, but having all major family events in one place is a good idea.

I use Outlook and Google calendar to sync my calendar between my phone, home desktop, work desktop, and iPad. That keeps one calendar of what I'm up to on all the resources I happen to be near. I know the basic schedule for my son's college classes, and general schedule for hubby's work but don't choose to put them on my calendar at this point since they are pretty consistent every day. (I don't feel the need to keep track of anything deeper than that--i.e. hubby's meetings or young adult son's specific social plans...that would be a little too much micro-managing!)

Note: check settings if you are concerned about the Google calendar being public.

Separate: Keep unique task lists for home, employment, and "third space." Likely, you won't (or shouldn't be) doing employment tasks while at home, or home tasks while at the job site. So keep your task list for workplace--at the workplace. Don't allow the mental clutter of professional tasks to interfere with your life at home (as a general rule, anyway.) Keep home tasks away from the workplace so you can focus on your job when there. If you have things to do in the "third space"--which includes your vehicle and the errands you do as well as other locations where you do things such as church, coffee shops, etc,, keep that ongoing list separate. A good place for this could be your phone if it has that feature.

I work part-time at a church in addition to running HOPE Unlimited, (which is run mostly from my house.) My task list for my church work remains on Outlook on the desktop computer they provide. I don't sync the task list from the church with my task list at home or on my phone. I keep a separate task list on my home computer for tasks related to home and HOPE. I keep an app on my phone, and a Google doc for tracking writing projects, to handle my "third space" list.  When I am ready to tackle tasks, I can take out the appropriate list and focus on that.

The "All Together Separate" principle is one way to manage the mental clutter in our lives. It gives you a birds-eye view of the direction of your days while compartmentalizing the lists you will need for specific places. Write it down. Keep it "all together" or "separate" as appropriate, and keep your mind from getting quite so tired.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Welcome to "organizing hope," a new blog in the family of services offered by HOPE Unlimited. I'll be updating this blog on a regular basis, hopefully at least once, and preferably twice, per week with topics related to getting organized.

I recently took, and then taught, a class called "Getting Organized at Home." This topic really resonates with people who have too much on their plate. It's been a great experience sharing ideas and encouragement. More importantly, there is a connection between our everyday lives and our walk with God and relationships with others. Many people are running on empty, stressed, tired, and experiencing tension in relationships because priorities are out of whack.

The number one priority in your life is your relationship with God, and yes, He cares about how you organize your life! Everyone is capable of being orderly, since we are made in His image and He is orderly. Now, He created each of us uniquely, so my sense of order may look different from yours. The key is to obey Him in stewarding ourselves and our environments so that we are in tune with His leading and live His abundant life with growing peace and shrinking stress.

Are your ready to take the journey with me?

I look forward to you reading, commenting, participating in the polls, and telling others about this blog!

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