Some people just don't understand the meaning of the word "organization." I confess, I may be one of them.
One thing that one should note about a person who has an efficient and stress-free workflow is that they always know where to find their work. An efficient worker doesn't need to do more work to discern what their work actually is. This is because an efficient worker sorts their work into buckets.
When we receive new "work," that goes into our inbox. For some of us, our "inbox" might simply be our desk. For others, it could be a folder or a back pack. Our work should not stay in our inbox, however. Our inboxes are simply places where we discern what kind of work something is, and then it should be moved to a smaller "bucket."
In David Allen's Getting Things Done, he proposes seven kinds of buckets (p. 142). They are:
The reason for sorting our work into these buckets is two fold. First, if our work is sorted, then we will know instantly what to do with each piece of information instantly. If I receive a piece of reference material, if I move it into a "reference bucket", then I won't have to constantly ask myself "what is this" like I would if it were simply laying in my inbox.
The second reason for sorting your work is that this way, you will be less apt to lose material and information in the midst of processing everything else. If I have material for a project I'm working on, if I have a designated place to put it, I won't lose it, nor will I have to think constantly about where it is. I can trust that it is in its place.
Here is another confession: I don't have buckets set up for all of these items yet. Currently, I have buckets for Calendar items, Reference Material, and Project Support Material. My Calendar items simply go onto my calendar, and that's that. My reference material, such as tax information and important paper work, is kept in a filing cabinet in my house. My project support material is carried in a plastic folder in my backpack.
I would like to say that I have a "Next Actions list," since I often will simply add my agenda items into my reminders app (now I use Due, and it's so much better). Since I do not have a physical space, however, for these action items, my system is not as efficient as it could be.
Perhaps the first thing you learn in David Allen's Getting Things Done is that your brain is an awful place to store things. Your brain is a computer, not a hard-drive.
Because of this, we often find ourselves missing appointments, forgetting assignments, and spend our days in a haze of ambiguity regarding what our next tasks are. That's where Due comes in.
Due is an app for iOS that operates somewhat like the alarm function of the integrated "Clock" app, but is far more user friendly and obnoxious. You might ask yourself why someone would want an obnoxious reminder app. For those of us who are prone to ignore our reminder alarms, this app pesters you every minute or so, provoking you to actually get your work done.
The app allows you to easily control:
For people who are stubborn when it comes to reminders, I cannot recommend this app enough. It cost $4.99 in the app store, but is worth every penny.
"What is the Church?"
Before the pandemic, church pews were lined with people who cannot answer this question. At that time, in an era of comfort and complacency, answers like "it's good for you" and "my friends go there" were commonplace among evangelicals. Now, however, in the wake of online church streaming, social distancing, and church registration, many find themselves revisiting the initial question. They begin asking the question: "What's the point?" And many begin sleeping in on Sundays.
As we begin to see the light at the end of the pandemic-tunnel, it is incredibly vital that we arrive to a richer understanding of what the Church is. What we all can agree on is that the Church cannot afford to be seen simply as a place where once a week I sing songs and hear a sermon. If that is what Church is, then sleep in.
I do not assume to have the perfect answer regarding what the Church is. My view is influenced by a variety of sources, however, including Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Creeds, and works such as Andy Crouch's Culture Making. In sitting with these sources, I have arrived to the conclusion that the church is: An eschatological kingdom of people living in participation with the Holy Trinity.
Let me explain:
By "Eschatological," I am referring to the Church's role in the future fulfillment of creation. Orthodox Christianity affirms that one day Christ will return, and in his coming creation will be restored (Rev 21). The Church's role in this, then, is to make the reality of the future coming kingdom tangibly present today. The Church is to stand for and promote the laws of Christ's coming kingdom, summed up best in the call to love God and love your neighbor.
By "Kingdom," I am referring to our unity under one head and shared law. As Christians, we affirm that Christ is our true King, and that we desire him to rule in this world. By loving God and loving our neighbor, we allow Christ to rule in our lives, and effectively in the world. The notion of God's eternal kingdom should also evoke an ecumenical sensitivity in all Christians, in which the closure of denominational and traditional divides should be sought, so that Christians, whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox, can profess a shared and unified faith.
By "People," I mean anyone who comes to the table with a repentant heart. The Church should strive to be inclusive in every respect without being compromising on truth. This means, yes, love the sinner and hate the sin. This also means that the Church needs to nurture its communal side. Evangelicalism in particular, it's focus on an individual profession of faith and individual evangelism, often loses this side. Rather than focusing solely on me and my own faith, I should be committed to the faith of my community so that it as a whole may be sanctified. It also means living as if you are a part of the "communion of saints" mentioned in the creeds.
By "Living in participation with the Holy Trinity," I am talking about making God's presence tangible in a world that often feels so cold and broken. I am talking about the sacraments. In the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing the Sick, we have a means of grace through which the presence of God can be partaken in. Most evangelicals reject any notion of the sacraments, but regardless of whether or not they want to admit it, their practice often highlights a distant sacramental sensitivity. Evangelicals still have Communion. Evangelicals still baptize. Evangelicals still say that their congregants should confess their sins. Evangelicals still hold weddings and bless marriages. When someone is sick, evangelicals often show up with a warm meal. The sensitivity to making God's presence known is there in evangelicalism, and must be nurtured if the evangelical church is to survive.
In the definition that I offer, I believe that this invites Christians to view the Church as something larger than themselves and their specific parish. I pray that, if you find yourself asking this question, that my thoughts may help you in your ecclesial journey.