Lent is over but my Lenten resolve is not. I had 2 goals:
- TO CLEAR MY MIND OF THE POLITICAL FUNK that was crowding my spirit by trying to better understand those who have different political beliefs than mine and voted for Trump. I spent a lot of time during most of Lent conversing with Trump voters and believe I made progress in understanding their motivations. I restrained myself from entering into a debate mode since my goal was understanding not winning. A number of people, however, asked me how I would refute some of the claims that I disagreed with made by Trump supporters. I have now added what would have been some of my rebuttals had I been asked. Click here to read my revised blog post with my responses in red.
- TO CLEAN OUT MY WORK FILES & SHELVES
(see discarded paper photos at right)
Due to a two week trip to Korea and procrastination, it was Holy Week before I could seriously tackle pruning my file drawers. At first I considered this delay to be a failing on my part, but as I finally forced myself to go through my first file cabinet, I realized that it was becoming a very “holy” experience of reviewing my life over the past 35 years. (Some people come to this point through a move, job change, marriage/family change, or retirement. For me I just kept hanging on to papers, filing them neatly, until I no longer had space.) Following are 6 things I learned.
- IT WAS HARD TO GET STARTED.
I had put this off because I knew it meant going through most file folders paper by paper and it would take a lot of time. What helped me get over the hump was:
a. Guilt/Accountability. Lent was almost over and I had announced to you all that I was going to do this.
b. Holy Week was timely because much of my work is with church related organizations which were busy with Holy Week liturgical stuff and thus I had fewer meetings. Holidays and Holy days are freer times for me.
c. Just starting. Once I actually started, momentum started to take over. I committed to an hour the first day but ended up taking two hours since I was on a roll, experiencing progress, and had the afternoon free.
- IT WAS TIME CONSUMING.
a. I ended up averaging 4 hours a day for 4 days. These 16 hours didn’t finish the job but merely got me through 2 file drawers of my first file cabinet. BUT, I now have a plan for the final 2 drawers. That leaves another file cabinet and numerous shelves to go.
b. Eventually an organizing principle evolved that helped me see what new or different categories I needed and how to differentiate the major categories from minor ones by using labels and different colored folders. (I had enough folders left over from pruning that I didn’t need to buy anything.
- IT WAS WORTH IT.
Going through files from several life stages and jobs gave me a perspective on my life.
a. What had been worth the time? – Relationships that have endured; Memories of accomplishments and tasks finished
b. What has changed over the years and no longer is necessary? – I easily pitched resources on helping parents guide their children through the internet and media from 20 years ago. Attitudes about sexuality (especially homosexuality) have changed both in me and in our culture.
c. Somethings barely change – I found an article titled “The Growing Income Gap” dated 1996.
- THINGS FOUND BOTH VALUABLE AND TRIVIAL:
a. Our wedding liturgy booklet
b. Handouts that are still relevant for current talks I give. (They were always there, but buried so deep I didn’t know I had them.)
c. A whole bunch of paper clips from papers I discarded.
- THINGS DISCARDED:
a. Duplicates of agendas, outlines, notes, and rosters long past.
b. Outdated resources or those that I have on my computer or can get on the internet.
c. Almost 2 feet of paper stacks so far.
- BOTTOM LINE:
I can now find things more easily. It makes me feel better. Now I can eat my Easter chocolates.
I still have 6 file drawers and 20 shelves to go. It may sound daunting but the fact that I started and have a plan for the future is motivating to me.
What strategies and techniques have helped you organize or review your life?