Getting Organized!


Getting organized comes natural for some people but is a real challenge for many others—like me!  I am a people person by nature.  I have been known to get things done “in a pinch” and known as a “fly by the seat of your pants” kinda guy.  But personality and “winging” it can only take you so far.  In order to go up I’ve learned you have got to grow up.  What I mean is that in order to be more effective in life we have to work hard and learn skills and disciplines that do not come to us naturally!


I had been out of the Air Force for a couple years.  I was now a sophomore in college (way back in 2000).  God was using me in His service.  I had been leading a singles Sunday school class while going to college, singing in a quartet, working over 30 hours a week and so on.  But one day I was talking to my father-in-law about life and he told me directly, “You are doing great, but you are not going to excel, grow, or go to the next level as a leader unless you get organized!”  You cannot go up unless you grow up.  I had been cruising through life winging it just fine until now.  He was absolutely right.  here was no way I was going to be able to grow as a leader—know the way, go the way, and show the way for
others if I did not step it up and decide to grow.  Since that day I have graduated from college and have a Bachelor’s and master’s degree, been a church planter, and am currently a pastor of an existing church in Macclenny Florida.  And guess what?  I am still working hard at getting organized.


Being the pastor of a church is exciting and also challenging in many ways.  I am currently the only pastoral staff member of a church of about 100.  The great challenge for me is determining what the MOST important tasks are to accomplish.  There is always sermon and lesson preparation to do, visits, etc that must be done.  But what about all of the other stuff?  There are many “little things” that get
placed on my desk, told to me in passing, sent to me via e-mail, or snailmail.  Plus there is of course  ministry structure building that needs to be done: mission, vision, and strategy communication and implementation.  And then there is leader and worker training and development that must be done too.  So what’s the answer?  Get organized!  My personal motto is “Simplify…Everything!”  Getting organized has helped me do that!  Doing things like developing a simple master “To Do” list and a  weekly “To Do” list for all of those “extra” tasks has helped greatly.


I have read some good books like “Organizing Your Day” by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims.  Great
book!  From this book, other resources, and just life experience I have found some simple yet effective and efficient ideas:

1.  Write down all tasks on a master to do list.

Don’t put non-negotiables on there—things you have to do each week, but all other tasks that have been piling up or neglected.

2.  Transfer tasks from the “Master” list to a “Weekly Do to” list.

I found one onlinethat I modified.  My list has 4 sections:  to do, to go, to call, and to write.  Could also add a to read section.

3.  Prioritize your tasks and then transfer them on your weekly to do list.

As you get them done simply check them off for completion.  At the end of the week review your master and weekly to do list and make a new fresh weekly to do list for the following week my nephew is only 10, yes just 10 years old and is pretty organized.  I shared my new way to get organized and he thought it was awesome and had me e-mail him the list.  Since then he has modified it and is using it now!  He wants to be as organized as his Papa who I believe coined the phrase,“Organize or Agonize!” Although getting organized is a lifelong pursuit it can be done with some smart work, and good old blood, sweat, and tears!  Getting someone more organized than you are to help is also a great idea too.  My lovely and able wife Emily is that person.  I may bounce off some ideas to her and she will make some very helpful suggestions.  She is awesome and truly a gift from God.  But don’t wait until you pull your hair out or it turns gray to start getting organized.  Start now.  A few simple steps and you will be on your way.

Are you an organized person?  Do you have some systems in place or good ideas to get things done effectively and efficiently?  Be the first to start the conversation by leaving your comment!


10 thoughts on “Getting Organized!

  1. Great suggestions! One thing I’ve done in the past and am re-developing for my “new” church is an institutional timeline that includes every major item that needs to be done throughout the year for events, budgets, maintenance, legal compliance, etc. Using a spreadsheet or a database (I use MS Access), the items can be organized or reported by due date, assignments, completion, etc. Great blog. Keep up the good work! Praying for you, Bro.!

  2. I like that you put my idea about “to read” in there.

  3. jim nevill says:

    Mike,a very good post,and very much needed all around….myself included! So good to ‘see’ you here again! You will always hold a special place in my heart for all you did,as Dad was dying. You have all the necessary tools/attributes,and I’m so glad to see just how effective you’re being! But you DEF don’t need me to tell you that…ha!

    Keep up the good work! I’ll be following you on fb,as well as here on your blog.
    May God continue to bless you,your family and your ministry! Love you!

    Jim Nevill

  4. Patrick Powell says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading this post. I just finished my division officer tour onboard a ship and I was chosen to be the Executive Officer for a command that directly supports 17 helo squadrons and 2 fixed wing Hawkeye commands. I have about 72 military and civilian employees working under me. (Talk about wanting to pull your hair out). :).
    This was a must-read article before my transition and a great encouragement. God bless you and your church.


    • mike says:

      Thanks for your comments–glad it helped! Also, congrats on your promotion–I’m not surprised! Be blessed …Mike

  5. Mike Morris says:

    Great post…especially for someone like me who is at the “agonize” portion of the cliche’. LOVE the 4 categories of the to-do list…actually…the 5 categories (including the ‘to read’ category). I will definitely be putting this system to use, and hopefully reduce the agonizing, and on with the organizing! 🙂

  6. Mom says:

    Organize or Agonize – got that stuck in my head now – great advice, Michael, going to print out your ideas & try to slow down long enough to follow the principles you shared. I love you, Hooney & am so very proud of you! MoM

  7. Great tips, seeing what needs to be done will help keep you focused and knock out that list in no time.

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