Monday, July 27, 2009

The Organized Pastor -1

I am not the most organized guy. In fact, I tend to go through spurts. I get highly organized and then slowly that organization descends into chaos, only for my to get reorganized again. In fact, my whole process is rather a bit like Sisyphus, pushing a rock up a hill only to have to repeat it all over again. Sometimes, I'm like one of those "you can find it in that pile" types of people. When I'm studying my test becomes alive with papers, books, sticky notes, etc. etc.

I thought I would embark on a bit of a different series for my blog: I thought I'd discuss some of the ways I organize things. Recently I have embarked on an endeavor to be more organized. One thing that has been consistently organized for me since college has been my files. I've maintained some consistent habits so I can usually find things with relative ease. In this process I've picked up things along the way and I thought I might share them.

My philosophy of organization is simple: it has to work for you. Organization has to be tailored to your personality and your habits. For example: I regularly preach and study God's Word. Often time when I'm studying a passage I want to know what research I've gathered on it. So my filing system is actually divided into two filing systems. One system, has all the books of the Bible, one file per book. Then I have a second system of topics. So an article on Romans 10 goes under "Romans" in the Bible files while a discussion of the New Perspective on Paul goes under: Pauline Theology: New Perspective.

I've used this system since college and it's worked for me. It is great for writing exegetical papers or filing sermons because they all go under "Bible". Studying a tough passage allows me to keep the exegesis and the topic a bit distinct.

Everything else in my office, my desk, email and my computer is set up in a way that I've found to be most efficient for me. In this series, I'm going to elaborate on how these things have worked for me. Organizing things have to be flexible in the "system", meaning if I'm constantly putting something somewhere or looking for something somewhere I have to change the system. You have to make things intuitive to how you think. Sometimes you occasionally have to train yourself to think a certain way that makes more sense but I've found too much of this creates habits that are to easy to break and 'poof' the boulder roles back down the hill.

The goal of organization is to avoid wasting time but being able to retrieve information and details when needed. If done correctly you declutter your mind but have in your head the bare minimum of how you store things not necessarily every detail of where you stored what. So in your studies you think: "I read a great article on X" or "I remember reading a statistic on Y" so you should be readily able to find this.

In this series I hope to discuss of a number of little areas that I've learned to organize. Being organized doesn't necessarily make me a better person or a better pastor. Hopefully it does keep me from wasting time which makes me a better steward. In small ways, a bit of organization can go a long way.

Time to go, I have to declutter my desk.

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