So Maybe I Do Have a Problem

I have known for quite some time now that I am not the most organized person in the world. It's not like it's a great secret. But I think I am getting along in life just fine. Or I did think that until recently.

As a co-worker of mine would say, I obviously have a pilots license.....I pile it here, pile it there. It's just sort of my default way of dealing with most everything, most especially papers.

Let's take my office for example. If someone comes into my office and says, "Hey Matt check out this cool piece of paper that has important information inked on it" then I would take it from them, and if it had any semblance of interest to me, I would look at it and then once done, I would place it in a specific corner on my desk. Now, after looking at this paper, it may never need my attention again. However, my thought most often is "I may want to look at that again" or "I may use that sometime" or if it is an especially important document, I may say to myself "I need to come back to that." And it gets special attention if the paper is some color other than white (oooo.....pretty paper....aaahhhh).

It's the same thing with my drawers (no not my desk drawers). I will look in them for something, and think, "Oh yeah, there is that duct tape that I may need one day" or "Oh yes, there is that dry erase board marker eraser that I might need if I ever teach again with a dry erase board" or "Oh there is my pile of rubber bands that I rarely, if ever, use, but you never know when a pile of rubber bands might come in handy. Better leave those there" or "Oh there is my wig and make up...." wait...did I type that out loud.

You get the idea. I am similar in my thoughts. Someone will come up to me let's say on a Sunday at church (when I am usually the busiest and most stretched for time, patience, and mental capacity) and say "Hey Matt, you know that song you sang three weeks ago, the one that talked about Jesus. Do you remember that?" To which I usually say out loud "Uh.....yeah....uh....can you give me a bit more of a reminder" while I think in my head "What...we sang three weeks ago? There was a three weeks ago. Wonder where did I put my keys. And why is that little 2 year old about to walk up and touch my guitar that costs more than his little life could ever repay!!! Hey there is this person in front of me singing...who is this person.....hey person.....oh song song..uh.....yes we definitely have never sang a song that sounded like fact...that's not music...that's what my cat sounds like when I pull her tail...keys...kid.....mmm song song" Anyway so the person now has stopped singing and is starring at me awaiting my answer to "Remember that one?" Oh yes, OK I DO remember it. "Why yes, I remember that" Other person: "Can I have a copy of that on CD?" Me: "Sure, I have that I can get you a copy, I'll do it tomorrow when I come in and get it to you Wednesday."

Of course, following that conversation I have a thousand other "Heys" "How are yous" and "Can you help mes". Monday comes, and no thought of making a CD has even crept close to the forefront of my mind. Then Wednesday come, Mr. Person comes up all excited "Hey did you make me a copy of that CD?" And in my head I think "CD? Copy? Copying music is illegal. Illegals, now there's something we have a lot of around here in Albertville AL. Alabama.....I live in Alabama....of goodness...CD...CD.....CD...OH YEAH THE CD" and then I have to tuck my head and say "No Mr. Person...I completely forgot about that."

Let's stop right there and just say that I wish I had a dollar for every time I have said "I forgot." I'd be terribly rich.

But alas, my forgetfulness...and my lack of organization has become a bit of a problem in my life. As I continue to add more to my already full schedule of school, work, family, etc. I also need to continually increase my level of organization. The problem is that it just doesn't come naturally. I tend to be more spontaneous in my daily planning (though for the record I do have a system...more on that in a second). I like the freedom to move throughout the day as needed. In ministry, there is an inherent need and expectation of flexibility. And what I lack in organization, I definitely own in flexibility. And I am more and more conscious of the fact that I think differently than a lot of people. I think it has something to do with being left-brained or something. I will never be a rigid person, stuck to a strict schedule, control ed by the calendar. But I do have to do something.

In effort to get a leg up on my organizational skills, I recently attended a one-day Franklin Covey conference. If you've never been to one, you should go. It was really great, and had some wonderful principles to apply not only to work, but also to personal life. I am really working on this organization thing. I don't want things like forgetfulness or planning to hinder my effectiveness in life. I don't want to be held back by the hang up of scatter-brained-ness.

But I need to make two observations that will hopefully prove to be therapeutic at least for me. The first is that it seems that in my recent quest to become more organized, more people have been brave enough to point out to me that I am unorganized (and by brave I mean obnoxiously blunt) as if I didn't already know it. I will, however, take that as a sign that I desperately need to make some changes before this delimma bites me. But people, come on, I don't tell you that you're too fat and you need to get your weight under control, or that you talk to loud on your cell phones when standing in line at the grocery store, or that your breath reeks and you need a breath mint before we all pass out for the putrid smell. I don't point out the obvious shortcomings in your life, because I assume that you, like me, are a self-evaluator and you already know those things. Listen I am the first to wave the banner for truth in love, I am, but COME ON!!!

Secondly, and most selfishly, I just want to say that I am not unorganized because I want to be, because I am incapable, or because I am lazy. Organization just alludes me for whatever reason. It's tough for me. It's hard but I am working at it. I AM WORKING AT IT! But I'd like to think that there is some beauty in the way I am made. That my lack of organization, it free-spiritedness, creates balance in my life, the life of those around me, and in my line of work. If we were all so driven by planning and organization (and please don't hear me devaluing those things, I truly realize their purpose) we would probably miss out a lot on moments of joy, laughter, and spontaneity that keeps life interesting.

My final word is simply this: If you are like me and suffer from the terribly disease of disorganization there is hope. You can work at it and get better. But don't do so to the detriment of your personality. I am convinced that though we need to present ourselves in an excellent manner, God created us artsy, left-brained, creative folks the way we are for a reason. I am also convinced that we may perhaps be a bit under appreciated in our society. Maybe I should say our approach to life is a bit under appreciated...that sounds better. But find joy in how you were created!

And for those of you organized people out there who get frustrated at us less gifted at organization, I would just say to you: Cut us some slack! Maybe that's why you are around us. To help us. And we're to help you!

See how beautiful this could really be!



it's nice to read your blog. :)
i learnt a lot .

November 20, 2007 at 9:15 AM  

Unorganized????? You???? Surely not.

November 20, 2007 at 11:14 AM  

haha, What i learnt is language. Between, i dont think unorganized was that bad huh??! :))
Sometime, things went better when you didnt organized, less dissapointment too. :p
haha..have fun ^^

November 20, 2007 at 6:22 PM  

Hmmm. Are you, in some round about way, trying to make me feel guilty about not getting you a copy of the Nice CD yet? It worked. I'm really sorry. I do plan on it.

Dude, I'm the opposite. I'm super-organized. As Adrian Monk would say, it's a blessing...and a curse. I get very stressed out when things are not organized. I don't just mean papers on my desk. If there's not a schedule and a plan of action, I get stressed. It's hard for me to "go with the flow".

Although I have developed the knack for seeming like I go with the flow. But on the inside, I actually have a plan in mind. Shhh. Don't tell anyone.

November 25, 2007 at 5:27 PM  

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