Monday, May 21

Time To Do Some Analyzing

Analyze--How did it get this way?

Do you ever look around your home, your office, and wonder—how did it ever get this way?

There are numerous reasons for why our living spaces and working spaces get so crazy. We might have too much work to realistically get everything done. Perhaps we just collect or produce too much stuff to possibly take care of. For some of us, it’s pure distraction that sends us running from one attention grabber to another. Yet another reason might be that we get caught up in activities and then run out of energy, so we leave half-finished projects everywhere. We’ll analyze the first potential culprit in a minute.

We’re working on getting things in order so that we can be freed up to better serve God and others whenever an opportunity arises. A by-product of being better organized is that we’ll experience a little more peace of mind. When we feel like we’re spending more of our valuable time in activities that are meaningful then we’ll have the more satisfying feeling of using our time wisely.

Without getting into too much “psychology,” here’s a breakdown of one common reason why many of us become surrounded by clutter and unfinished tasks:

1. Our lives are too busy. When so many things in life are so interesting, how can we pare down our activities, belongings and papers to what we can truly manage?

Overcommitment is a time robber. Recently I realized that I couldn’t start up a volunteer commitment, although it was perfect for me. Even though it was only once every two weeks and it would put me in a part of town that would allow me to also take advantage of my yearly pass to the botanical garden, I couldn’t afford the preparation time, travel time and volunteer time. It was awful to call the program director and tell her I had overcommitted my time. I felt like an idiot. A week later I feel a little bit bad, but I also feel free.

Here’s an idea: write down all the things you need to do and like to do. My list had items such as a) spend 25 hours a week on work, b) garden, c) spend 2 hours a week on investment club research, d) clean one hour a day, e) attend/host small group Bible study most Thursday nights, f) meet for investment club the last Thursday each month, g) cook dinners (with leftovers!) on Tuesdays and Saturdays, h) walk on home treadmill 45 min., 4x a week…

Now, turn a different piece of paper sideways and write Sunday through Saturday across the top. Take each item you listed and fit them in on your weekly calendar. Do it loosely, and include an estimate the amount of time it takes you to travel to the activities away from home. Does everything fit?

This rough calendar might help you see where you have planned too much into too little space. If you have many, many interests and can’t bear to give them up, try “seasoning” them. Perhaps you like to garden and quilt. How about gardening from March to August and quilting the other months?

We’ll explore the other disorganization culprits in the next message.

Write and let Karen and Georgia know how you’re doing and send us your tips and victories!