How many attempts at organization have you attempted and abandoned? How many times have you failed at meeting your plans and expectations for getting organized?
It’s easy to look back at what hasn’t worked and how many times our hopes and dreams and visions of organization have crashed and burned – how many times we’ve boomed, only to bust – and decide that it’s just not worth it.
But it is worth it, and that’s why you keep getting drawn back to the hope and the dream and the vision.
There are innumerable bad reasons to get organized: personal ambition, pride, desire for control, lack of trust.
But bad reasons can be – and should be – repented of. Our bad reasons don’t negate the goodness of getting our life – particularly our personal thought and emotional life – in order. And all organization means is putting things in order.
The best option, of course, is to organize for good reasons.
Here are three good reasons you should organize your life:
Organize your life so that you can be zealous for good works.
Just as the Bible says “As much as depends on you, live peaceably with all,” so our motto with organization and productivity should be “As much as depends on you, do good to all, for all, in all.” Being organized should be a means for love, not control or power. You are the only one whose choices you control.
Our planning needs to be more about exerting self-control than situation-control or others-control.
We don’t get more done just to get more done. We don’t organize just to make ourselves feel better or look good to others.
We get our life organized and pulled together so that we can deliberately and cheerfully pour ourselves out for the glory of God.
Organize your life so that your mental, emotional, and physical resources are not squandered.
Making decisions is fatiguing. Decision fatigue is a real problem not only in the modern world but especially for modern mothers. All day long we make decision after decision, answer question upon question.
Research confirms that our decision making abilities diminish with each decision we are called upon to make. That’s why we wind up eating the whole bag of cookies or wasting half an hour on our phones without even thinking about it as the day wears on. Our willpower has been used up because of the number of decisions we’ve had to make.
The solution isn’t getting more willpower (which is a very hard and gradual process, like muscle-building), the first solution is to reduce the number of decisions we have to make.
That’s why we plan. So our decision-making abilities are conserved for the urgent and the creative and the needed decisions and not things like whether to clean the toilet or vacuum the living or decide what’s for dinner and when to start.
Whenever we can reduce the number of decisions we make in a day and increase our trust in our systems (because we’re looking at them and following through instead of deciding not to), we gain willpower points for the rest of our day.
Organize your life so that you can continue in faithful obedience.
We want a long obedience in the same direction, not a flash in the pan awesome that earns “likes” but gets us nothing but exhaustion afterwards. We want to short circuit the boom and bust cycle and have steady progress instead.
Even steady progress is itself a misnomer in our lives if we judge it by the state of our house or even our emotional state.
People will get sick (including ourselves) and the house will fall apart. We will have a few off days and think everything is terrible when everything is actually just fine.
Our standard for progress needs to not be solely based on our checklist or our perception or our housekeeping. It’s not based on our accomplishments or our goals.
We do want organization, but not for its own sake – so that means the state of our homes isn’t the final arbiter of how we’re doing.
We want organization because we want to be good stewards of ourselves and our resources – our homes, family, time, and money. We should want not more of all these for ourselves, but more for giving away, more for serving and glorifying God rather than ourselves.
Living organized will result in living according to your priorities.
If your priorities are looking good, it will show in how you organize.
If your priorities are glorifying and enjoying God, it will also show in how you organize. Your organization won’t look like the magazine ads. Your organization will look like sacrificial service, love, and joy. It will have more mess because people and living is messy, and it will recover from those messes with resilience instead of resentment.
You should organize your life, but only if by the right principle.
Organize so that you can cheerfully serve.
Organize so that you can resiliently recover.
Organize so that you can make decisions that will honor God.
Want some help with that?