I recently assisted in helping organize an area for a friend and it was one of those situations where you just do not know where to even start. There was obviously a need for “reworking the area” but the task seemed so large and unwieldy that I was tempted to analysis paralysis.
What Disorganization is Not
The word disorganization means “a condition in which an orderly system has been disrupted.” Thinking of my scenario above, yeah…I’ll say!
Last post I gave a few thoughts about a view of productivity that incorporates a Gospel mindset. Though it is not true that “organization is next to godliness,” there is a ton of value in having organizational techniques in my hip pocket for both how I think and what I do.
I know I tend to be a bit type-A at times, but I do believe that being organized is helpful in my own work and in my service to others. Perhaps there is something greater at stake with organization than we have given thought to.
Being disorganized in your work habits is not a complex idea that takes a lot of deciphering. Typically, it means there is scattered thought process about what has yet to be done and what needs to be done, difficulty managing priorities in light of other priorities, as well as a lack of clarity for how to get from A to B and when to commence the steps.
The problem lies in how to initiate change in our life. Good intentions are not enough.
Being disorganized is not simply a visual display of a desk with a thousand sticky-notes or piles of paper. Nor is it just associated with flying by the seat of our pants or not getting things done in a timely manner. In a Gospel mindset, I believe there are some other factors that should be considered because as a member of the body of Christ, my actions never just affect only me.
So please don’t think I am pushing one way to work or manage details. I am just offering some observations that may be worth considering.
Four Ways Disorganization Impacts
1) It is challenging to live out a Philippians 2 mindset.
Please do not interpret this that being disorganized is equated with being a non-servant. Not at all. It is just when one does not have a scope of how today’s activities sync to both short- and long-term planning, direction, and its details, it can be so easy to be consumed with the critical-now that the present needs of others can go unnoticed.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
2) It is challenging to live out 360-degree leadership.
John Maxwell talks about being a 360-degree leader: leadership that leads up in how a leader is influenced, leadership that leads across in influencing peers, and leadership that leads down in helping others realize their potential.
Disorganization tends to limit the scope of that type of impact because we are unaware how our work and influence connects to more than our own agenda.
3) It is challenging to differentiate between top-tier and second-tier work.
When I feel disorganized in my own thoughts or planning, the fallout is typically my blurring the lines between what is first priority and what is a lesser priority. Everything seems to fall into the same category and it all seems to be due now or yesterday.
4) It is challenging to see beyond “today” because life is either in a panic- or crisis-mode.
When I am disorganized or feel disorganized, my mind is always questioning “what did I miss?” “where am I supposed to be?” and “what did I say I would do for whom?”
These questions crowd out the more critical questions of “how will doing ‘x’ help my coworkers?” “how is my personal mission able to integrate with the organizational mission?” and “how will my work help us get from our purpose statement to our vision?”
It is similar to driving down a road at high-speed and you only look at the ground immediately in front of the hood of the car. In other words, there is no anticipation for how to adapt to what lies ahead. Many decisions become reactions instead of responses.
Organization and the Gospel
Being an effective organizer does not mean you use some nifty app, have a clean desk, have a Day-Timer in your hand at all times, or store all your documents in the Cloud.
Being organized means that your planning and actions reflect a mindset that extends beyond now or yesterday; it means you have context for how your planning and allocation of time influences and serves those around you; it means you have the margin to intentionally plan your work as it affects the good of the team. The Gospel influences all of our life.
Organization is simply a tool that can make you a more effective servant of others. It opens up opportunities to not just get work done on time, but effectively meet and anticipate the needs of others that you might otherwise overlook.
What are your own thoughts about organization as it relates to the Gospel?