Being An Organized Leader

By Ryan Irwin

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. —1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)

This text has always challenged me to consider the ways that Satan can have a foothold in my life, and one of the ways is busyness. When we are busy, we often can be distracted. When we stop and consider the depth of how being organized can change us, we see it affects more than just our productivity.

Being organized changes you.

Organizing all the areas of our lives can make a positive difference, even in our personal lives. One of the benefits of living an organized life is that we are better able to see gaps in the lifestyle we aspire to. I try to make a habit each day to read. Reading is fun, but if I do not have a plan and goals for selecting books I am reading, what time of day I am reading, and how long I am reading, I will never be a “reader.” Reading doesn’t just happen—you must be skillful and careful in developing a plan. The same can be said of other disciplines such as healthy eating, Scripture memory, and daily exercise.

Clarity of mind is another benefit that we receive personally from being organized. Consider the mental checklist that is floating in your head right now. What if you gave yourself the mental bandwidth to free those things from your mind by placing them on a to-do list for you to accomplish? How much more mental clarity might you have to make important decisions? How might that change your stress level?

Being organized changes your family.

If you really wanted to, I am sure you could be at the church every night of the week for meetings, social gatherings or discipleship opportunities. But there are also things you should do with your family each week, such as having a date night with your spouse or going to your kids’ sports events or music lessons. Having a family calendar not only helps you keep your commitments to your family, but also balance your commitments with the church.

No doubt, due to our responsibilities, some events at the church are unavoidable, but when we know our available dates, we can strategically plan to make sure we are home for our family. For example, when I know I am unavailable to be at home on Wednesday and Thursday nights due to church-related activities, I make sure to be more intentional on Monday and Tuesday when I am available to spend time with my family.

Being organized changes your ministry.

Let’s be honest—regarding our ministry, we are all busy, but the more we can digitize and organize our lives, the more we can keep things from falling through the cracks. The fact of the matter is when we are following God’s leading each day, we often find ourselves stretched several different directions serving different needs. I call these “blessed distractions.” Jesus often worked in the distractions, showing us that the distractions are where we need to be. At times, I look up and it is time for lunch, and I have not done a single thing that I planned to do that morning due to these distractions.

To be faithful to the distractions as well as our other responsibilities, we need to have a plan. We should prioritize each day what we need to do, what we want to do, and what we dream to do. This will make sure that none of our responsibilities, whether distraction or regular task, falls through the cracks. When a person, need, ministry opportunity or task falls through, there can be eternal consequences. That is why organization basics such as keeping up with your calendar, having basic spreadsheets or records to track statistics, goals and milestones, and a system to organize e-mails, especially by their priority level, are “musts.” When we are stretched thin, we can rely on the technology and tools that God has given us.

 

Recommended Resources (Resources are free unless otherwise noted with “$.”)

Best To-Do List Apps

Microsoft To Do: to-do.microsoft.com

Todoist: todoist.com

Omnifocus (Mac, iOS only, $): omnigroup.com/omnifocus/

Apple Reminders (Mac, iOS only): icloud.com

 

Best Calendar Apps

Apple Calendar (Mac, iOS only): icloud.com

Cozi (free, $): cozi.com

Google Calendar: calender.google.com

 

Best Miscellaneous

Otter Voice Notes (free, $): otter.ai (Records and automatically transcripts conversations.)

Evernote (free, $): evernote.com (database for storing and recalling documents/information)

Google Drive (free, $): drive.google.com (database for storing and recalling documents/information)

Slack (free, $): slack.com (team communication and collaboration tool)

Toggl (free, $): toggl.com (timer for long tasks/production)

Ryan Irwin serves as Associate of Spiritual Development at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.