To date I have 46,439 emails that I need to read, delete, or place in folders. That’s just my emails that need to be organized; please don’t ask me about the files on my personal computer. A good percentage of the emails are reoccurring ones that I honestly would rather not receive. Yes, I know there’s a way to unsubscribe, BUT THEY WILL NOT UNSUBSCRIBE ME. Sometimes I wonder if my computer is possessed with demons, and I need to exorcise them. I think it’s called delete.
My computer isn’t the only thing in my life that needs to be cleaned out. If you’re going somewhere with me in my car, I recommend not getting in until I can make room for you to enter because you may end up sitting on some fruit, or my glasses, or my keys or my… Thank God for trunks since they hide a multitude of… junk. The other day I discovered I’m in good company when it comes to messy cars. As a favor for a friend, I offered to clean out their trunk. I found money, gift cards, one of their children (just kidding), and enough clothes to stock 3 JCPenney stores. By the time I was done I think I had retrieved enough stuff for them to sell the treasures I found and retire.
Betty Lin Fisher just completed a series in the Akron Beacon Journal on this subject called “The Checklist: Get Organized.” Betty enlisted the help of Lynne Poulton, a professional organizer and owner of Akron-based Wholly Organized, to help her organize her arts and crafts room. Betty Lin, like many of us looking to make a change, wasn’t even sure where to start. Lynne gave her several great ideas, which you can read here. However, until we get to the point where we decide it’s time to actually buckle down and begin the project, all of the ideas and tips will mean nothing.
My car, basement, computer, house, office, and schedule aren’t the only things that become cluttered and need cleaning out in my messy world. My life itself too often is filled with what is often referred to as the “tyranny of the urgent.” In the 1960s Charles Hummel published a little booklet called Tyranny of the Urgent, and it quickly became a business classic. In it, Hummel argues that there is a regular tension between things that are urgent and things that are important—and far too often, the urgent wins. Steven Covey, in his ground-breaking book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, addresses this subject of life management. He created a matrix that helps us to determine what is really important and what needs to be deleted out of our lives. In Habit 3 Covey identifies four categories for how we manage our lives. One category is urgent and important; the second is important but not urgent; the third is not important and not urgent; and the fourth is not important and not urgent. Where do you live most of your life?
Yesterday was the first day of spring. Perhaps now is a good time for spring cleaning your priorities. Take some time to take inventory of how you’re spending your time, energy, and money. This is a great time for all of us to consider a simpler life and think about how to downsize rather than how to upgrade or supersize. Organizing our private and public worlds according to what is really important brings a greater peace of mind and greater effectiveness as we live out the life God has given us.
Gordon McDonald is the author of the book, Ordering Your Private World. In each section of the book, he shares what he calls “Memos to the Disorganized.” Here are a few. If my private world is in order it will be because… I am convinced that the inner world of the spiritual must govern the outer world of activity… because I make a daily choice to monitor its state of orderliness… because I have courageously confronted the messiness of my ways of living and chosen to bring them under rigorous discipline… because, having faced up to what drives me, I listen quietly for the call of Christ… because I have made a deliberate decision to begin the ordering process. Now! WOW!
Do you know what I did this morning before I came to the office? I cleaned out three closets and decided what needed to be kept, given away, or thrown away. So, I’m seeking to practice my own preaching. The Haven of Rest is about to get blessed with some of the fruits of my spring cleaning labor. Now it’s time for me to stop and spend some time ordering my private world. By the way, my computer is really sluggish today. Do you have any idea why?