Organize Your Life - Helpful Tips When You Feel Disorganized

Helpful Tips When You Feel Disorganized

Sometimes, you need help to organize your life.

You have piles of papers to fill out.

Reports a mile high.

You have a rather disorganized stack of who knows what waiting for your full attention. Receipts, slips of torn paper, printed emails, notes written in other languages, things that need translated and exchange rates added.

The great collision of personal life, work life and ministry makes a big mess. A perfect storm.

It is overwhelming.

And just when you think you made it to the bottom of the pile or get that next report filled out, your email fills with requests for a video or questions for a kids group or a notice that the next newsletter is due out to supporters.

The lists to organize your life never end, never go away and never get easier.

Truly, this paper chaos is a part of life #behindtheprayercard.

I often get asked, “How do you do that?” or “How do you keep things going like you do?” or “When do you have time for…”

How do you organize your life?

My answer is simple changes that help you every single day.

Organize Your Life - Helpful Tips When You Feel Disorganized

Everyone organizes differently but there really are some common ways that everyone can organize their lives in simple, helpful ways.

How does that help you?

{Some of these are written from our missionary life but the principles WILL apply to all!}

Here are my top tips to organize your life:

1} Know your gifts. And surround yourself with people who can help with where you are weak. For me, if a project is super detailed, I know I need Jeremy’s help. He knows that if something doesn’t really matter all that much, it just needs done, it goes on my list. Can you get a lot done at the same time? Can you complete a lot of tasks in an hour? What does your day of running errands look like? Do you get easily distracted? Can you accurately plan out a plan of attack or set a good working calendar? Find out these things about yourself and work with it. Capitalize on what you are good at, work at what your not and get help if you need it. If you are married, that help is often your spouse. See how we have learned to work together and some tips for working closely with your spouse. Because it is not always easy, friends. Not always easy.

Organize Your Life - Helpful Tips When You Feel Disorganized

2} Come up with methods that work for you. And use them. For example, I’ve tried every kind of highly organized filing system, folder system and color-coded whatever system. They do not work for my personality. Everything goes in one pile (peek at the above picture of my desk… anything that needs attention gets stuck under my laptop fan. no joke. but it works for me) until I’m ready to mess with it. Then, I attack it just like I would anything else. Sort, organize, report, stamp, scan… all at once. For some people, that would not work. For me, the filing system just sits there half filed and then I can’t find a thing because I can’t remember how I planned to file it all when I do it one thing at a time. Do what works for you.

3} Schedule admin days. Because of that big pile, I have to schedule blocks of time to get the work done. These days, it is my computer and me. I hate being unprepared or late on things so these admin days help me stay up-to-date and keeps my random pile from growing out of control.

Bonus tip:

Schedule a time to come back and actually DO the things listed in this post!!

4} Be a little OCD about email/texts/messages. I have 5 email accounts coming into my mail app. Blog stuff, writing deadlines, report info, statements, financial updates, newsletters, promos… some stuff can easily go in a file or get deleted right when I open it. Do it. Don’t wait until a ton of emails pile up. Only keep in your inbox what needs attention RIGHT NOW. Or things that you are currently working on and need access to the info repeatedly. This saves the whole “What file is it in?” search later. Keep up on email, what needs a response, what needs printed, what needs scheduled… otherwise it gets lost in email world never to be found again. Randomly look back through your inboxes and make sure you didn’t overlook something. Because that totally happens. A lot. Sometimes we think we did something and we never did. We thought the response but never typed it out.

5} When you have time, do it. Don’t waste time. If you can write a newsletter, do it. If you can respond to emails, do it. Faster is better. If someone messages you and you can answer them now, do it. Be someone who quickly responds to stuff. Be someone who communicates and helps solve things for people. Waiting and putting it off helps no one. It does not help your to-do list or theirs if they have to wait on you. Even when I don’t feel like it, usually once I get going, I’m happy I just got it done! Have a big pile of receipts that need scanned? Do it. Turn on some music, grab a small bowl of M&Ms and dig into the project. You’ll sleep better knowing it is done and off your list.

6} Check for things that bog you down. Do you have a blog you never plan to use or write? Get rid of it. Build a nice stagnant website that gives people the info they need without you having to give it any time or upkeep. Do you have a group page that you never visit? Delete it. Do you have responsibilities that you could possibly let go of? Gaining some focus of what God wants you to be doing and letting go of things that are bogging you down is very helpful for getting organized, staying purposed and feeling on top of your to-do list. Catch the beginning of the last sentence. PRAY about this. What does God really want you to be doing and focusing on?

7} Schedule, schedule, schedule. Paper calendar, cute little organizing calendar, app on your phone… doesn’t matter. Pick a calendar and use it. Look at it. Write in it. Connect your husband to it. Our schedule is crazy. Especially as we go into furlough. I pretty much know where we will be every Sunday for the next year. That takes some intense scheduling. And a lot of time working through details. Put ALL those details in the calendar. Even the things you think you’ll remember. Write/type it into the calendar.

8} Social Media is your friend… or it isn’t. I’ve written out some simple tips for this with an audio link to a breakout session specifically for people in ministry. In today’s culture, to organize your life you must organize your social media. Especially when you live and work overseas. It can also be a HUGE issue for missionary families. And to be perfectly honest, most days it is both an asset and something I want to throw out the window. Walking the tight rope of social media is tough. But it can be done. Schedule your time, schedule your posts, work ahead, pray before ever pushing send/post/comment. But staying organized, for me… includes a whole lot of communication online. Staying on top of what is happening around the world, at home, in churches, in life in general means utilizing social media well.

9} Simplify your newsletters and communication. It doesn’t have to be this huge publication. Actually, your support team won’t read a big, long, drawn out, too-much-info newsletter. Simplify. Write something personal, short and meaningful. Add a picture or two. Hit send. Done.

10} Have a notebook. Just a plain, old notebook. I keep mine by my computer. Everything gets written down there. Lists, details, event info, blog ideas, writing deadlines… anything I’m currently working on goes in that notebook. Then, cross it off, check the box, draw a line through it… whatever works for you, and show yourself it is DONE. When a page gets too messy or I finish it, I tear it out and start a new to-to list page and so on. There is something so good about tearing out a finished page. And this is how I organize, prioritize, remember and bring together everything from email/text/facebook/messenger/calendar. This notebook tells me what to work on TODAY. I review my list in the morning, pick something and get to work.

Write our your pages  with something like this: Click here for the PDF if you want to print it.

Organize Your Life - Helpful Tips When You Feel Disorganized

11} Speaking of mornings… this is KEY time to organize your life. Even 15 minutes of responding to email, scheduling a few facebook updates, and looking over the calendar in the morning helps me feel more focused and prepared. After that, I can dig into laundry, washing veggies, refilling the water filter, baking gluten free bread, french lessons or whatever else is needed that day. And I can send Jeremy off for his day in the village or running errands or meeting with pastors knowing we have things covered.

12} Be prepared. I hate not feeling prepared or making the wrong decision because I didn’t put the time in or get the information I needed. I am so much more organized when I have a plan and correct information. This takes a lot of learning, time and hard work. Research, make notes and plan. But remember that things happen and well, God steps in to help.

13} Abiding in Jesus. I only put this last on the list because I want you to remember it. As a personal goal, before the morning begins, I spend time in the word and in prayer. It doesn’t always happen and sometimes it is messy, but I’ve learned it is the most important organizational thing I can do. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. Then, at night before bed, we do family devotions. And this ends our day with Jesus and gives us the most valuable parenting moments with our girls. Organize your life with this in mind. always.

Ask for His help in organizing your days with skillful hands. He will answer and give you creative ways that utilize your personal giftings for the tasks ahead. Promise.

Need some motivation? That should get you going and give you a way to start to organize your life.

What is one thing that stands out as helpful on this list?







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *