Give Close Attention to Personal Organization
1 “If you want a job done, give it to a busy person.” The reasoning behind this saying is that a busy person is usually well organized and can therefore accomplish more. All of us have 24 hours to use each day. Whether we squander that time or we use it wisely often depends on our personal organization.
2 There is always “plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58) We have meetings to attend and the field ministry to share in. But preparation comes before these. In other words, we need to spend time studying so that we can effectively “make disciples” and incite others “to love and fine works,” as we have been commanded to do. (Matt. 28:19; Heb. 10:24) The ordinary things of life, such as secular work, shopping, eating, cleaning, traveling, attending school, and sleeping, all have their place. Some time, too, may be spent in recreation. Fitting everything into its proper place presents a challenge we must meet. How can this be done?
3 Jesus said: “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33) Obviously, Kingdom interests should have the first priority when it comes to the use of our time. If we were to schedule our time the way we budget our money, the hours we set aside for Christian meetings, family Bible study, and such theocratic activities as the field ministry and personal study would not be used to pursue other interests.
4 Into every schedule must go the necessary things of life. Time is set aside for doing secular work to support oneself and one’s family. Eating and sleeping, as well as giving personal attention to the needs of one’s family, must be included. High on the priority list of elders and ministerial servants is the time they spend preparing for and carrying out theocratic responsibilities. Why not sit down and make such a schedule, and see if there are nonessential items that are higher on your priority list than they should be?
KEEPING A SIMPLE EYE
5 When Jesus was discussing the activity of his followers, he noted: “If, then, your eye is simple, your whole body will be bright.” (Matt. 6:22) What would be involved in this? Basically it means keeping one’s life uncomplicated. There are many distractions that can steal one’s time. Television is one of these. In some homes, the television set is turned on in the morning and left on all day. A person may sit down to watch a program of short duration. But then he finds that time he had originally planned to use for personal study or with the family slips away as he continues watching other programs. How easy it is to waste an entire evening with nothing worthwhile being accomplished! Many do not know when to turn the TV off. If you have this problem, you may decide it is best not to turn the television on. Hobbies, a form of relaxation for some, may also end up taking away time that was set aside for more important matters.
6 Engaging in sports activities, attending sports events, or watching them on TV can swallow up precious time. Husbands, wives, and children do well to see that they are not robbed of time they could use to study and associate together. All of us must be careful not to complicate our life with excesses in sports or recreation.
7 A serious problem can result if we allow secular work to encroach on priority time. Some may find themselves so absorbed in their work or so concerned with the prospects of financial advantages that they no longer have a place in their schedule for meetings, the field ministry, or their family’s spirituality. (Eph. 5:15, 16) It is good to ask ourselves, ‘Who is it that would really take delight in my selling to secular interests time I have already dedicated to the worship of Jehovah God?’
WAYS TO USE TIME EFFECTIVELY
8 Organizing one’s life for the most effective use of time calls for having spiritual goals and a clear set of values. This is the key to setting daily priorities. Do not procrastinate. If you have set aside time to do a job, use it for that purpose. Set deadlines for yourself. Strive to study certain material in ample time to make use of it in the field ministry or at meetings. Do the same thing regarding everyday tasks around the home.
9 Practice making use of time that would otherwise be lost. For example, when you must wait for others, use that time well by reading, writing letters, or accomplishing some other essential task. If you find yourself waiting in line, you may be able to strike up a conversation that will lead into giving a witness. Another essential for all is to get sufficient rest and relaxation so as to stay healthy and alert. This will enable you to work more effectively. Illness brought on by a lack of necessary rest or sleep can keep you from giving proper attention to things of high priority in life.
IMPROVING PERSONAL ORGANIZATION
10 In the business world, much time and effort are spent just planning how to accomplish a given task. A good businessman finds it cost-effective to organize workers and material before producing a given product. He realizes that if the necessary workers and materials are not available when and where they are needed, much time and money can be lost and he will not realize a profit. We, however, have far more noble motives for organizing ourselves. These include our desire to maintain a fine relationship with Jehovah, be effective in making disciples, and reach our goal of everlasting life. It is necessary, therefore, to make sure that we have available to us the right tools at the right time.
11 For instance, we have five congregation meetings each week. The material for these meetings is based on several different publications. Are these publications readily available? Is the Watchtower issue we are studying that week set aside, or is time spent searching for it? And what about other needed publications, such as Our Kingdom Ministry, the songbook, a Bible, and the publication we are studying at the Congregation Book Study? It is good to have a designated place for these items and keep them there when they are not being used. In this way, we can quickly find the appropriate publications when we prepare for either field service or meetings.
12 Elders and ministerial servants especially need to be mindful of their personal organization. With so much to do, both secularly and in the congregation, “the more important things” can sometimes be forgotten or pushed to the side. (Phil. 1:10) Using the suggestion of maintaining a list of priorities can be truly beneficial. Have you tried this? One brother has such a list and reviews it before every meeting. In this way he accomplishes much and can see to it that the necessary work of the congregation is done.
13 Elders should have a good system for keeping track of congregation correspondence. Paperwork can sometimes be confusing and cumbersome if it is not organized properly. It is good, therefore, to take a few minutes regularly to sort out papers that need to be kept or passed on to someone else and to discard those that can be destroyed. If you have letters in your possession that need to be circulated to other elders, be sure to move them along quickly. Designating a place in your briefcase or perhaps putting correspondence in a separate envelope or folder can help you to keep track of letters and other material needing attention. In this way, important paperwork will not be lost or delayed.
ORGANIZATION—A SLAVE, NOT A MASTER
14 After reviewing your schedule, determine how much organization you need. We do not want to become fanatical perfectionists, overorganizing our personal lives to the point where there is no room for variation. Remember, we are all individuals and we each have a unique set of circumstances. Some of us are single, some married. What may work for one family may not work for another. Personal organization ought to take into consideration our individual and family circumstances. Exercise discernment and be flexible in line with Bible principles that will serve to guide you in having a successful schedule.—See The Watchtower of September 15, 1988, pages 28-30; Awake! of December 8, 1987, pages 24-7; and Awake! of December 22, 1965, pages 9-12.
15 In recent years, simplification through following principles of good order has brought about improved efficiency in the operation of Jehovah’s earthly organization. Some may feel they have methods that work better for them personally. They would like the Society to encourage others to use such methods, but often these have been considered and discarded because they are not organizationally practical. In the interests of unity and efficiency, then, it is wise to follow the approved organizational procedures, using ways and methods that are understood and used by others who may be affected by your work.
16 Jehovah is a God of order and peace. (1 Cor. 14:33, 40) He has a set time to accomplish his will and purpose. (Acts 1:7) Through his Word, he has lovingly outlined what should concern us as imperfect humans. By means of direction from Jesus Christ through “the faithful and discreet slave,” Jehovah provides helpful instructions on how to accomplish the most important work being done today. (Matt. 24:45-47; 28:19, 20; Eccl. 12:13) So by following Scriptural admonition found in the Society’s publications, including the timely reminders set out in this insert, we can become better organized for fully accomplishing our ministry.—2 Tim. 4:5.