Last week, I synthesized my 5-part paper series into a 45-minute talk for a Bible study group at my church. These lovely ladies are going through Karen Ehman’s The Complete Guide to Getting & Staying Organized book. When Becky first asked me to talk on “Putting Paper in Its Place,” I was worried that I would have trouble speaking for 10 minutes. I wasted perfectly good worry time over that! Turns out I could probably have talked for an hour at least.
As I was working on my notes and putting them into speaking order, I came up with a nifty acronym for the handout. Yes, I am well aware that giving a paper handout at a seminar on eliminating paper clutter is oxymoronish. But I just couldn’t help myself! After all, how else would they become my blog followers? So, here are the notes I handed out last week to the Bible study ladies. Drop me a line to let me know what you think.
P—PLAN. Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Papers do not organize themselves. You’ve got to make a plan and commit to keeping it.
A—ARRANGE. 1 Corinthians 14:40, “But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” Decide whether you want to set up a filing system or a binder system, and then do it in a systematic fashion.
P—PERSEVERE. Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” The bigger the paper piles, the longer it will take to get them in order. Don’t give up! Don’t expect that you’ll be able to finish the job in a single evening, or even a single weekend. Give yourself permission to tackle it in manageable chunks of time.
E—ESSENTIAL. Isaiah 58:11, “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Do you REALLY need to keep it? Be brutally honest with yourself and keep only what is totally necessary.
R—REGULAR. Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Once a day, go through your to-do bin and take care of business. Once a week, file papers from your to-file bin and pay bills in the to-be-paid bin. Once a month, weed out the papers in your temporary files and put magazine articles, etc., in a file or in a binder. Once a year, collect all the papers you need for tax purposes and weed out other papers that need to be saved for only a year.
S—SELF-DISCIPLINE for a SANE SYSTEM. Galatians 5:22–23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Determine that you will gain control over your paper piles. Decide now that you will do whatever it takes to maintain that control. Ask the Lord for help to sustain your resolve to keep your paper system sane.