Yesterday, at my school, our Ministry Leadership Day hosted Tim Challies. It was a well-attended gathering; there were quite a few people standing at the back of the chapel. For a young man attending, I think he would have seen two positive things: a good example of someone exegeting a passage of Scripture, and being challenged in the area of productivity. I had no idea I would get as much out of the productivity session as I did. I went to the day intending to purchase Visual Theology, and came home instead with Do More Better.
The first session had Tim sharing from I Thessalonians 4:1-12. It was a very good session. I have never heard him speak in the venue of preaching, and I was really challenged by it. The theme of the session was how to live holy lives, and he focused on the areas of being sexually pure, loving others, and living quietly. The last point, living quietly, was about embracing being unremarkable. He even mentioned that perhaps these days, with our love of celebrity, it is more radical to be unremarkable. I think that was a good message for everyone, but especially for the young men there with a future in the ministry.
Lately, I have felt that despite having the time, I seem to accomplish less than I would like. The second session, where Tim introduced principles for productivity, gave me some good pointers; ones I had not anticipated getting. In the past, I confess to being a little aloof toward productivity books and tools. I don't have a job outside my home, and my responsibilities are few compared to my husband, who juggles many. Why would I need productivity tools? I had my mind changed. I find it is good to have one's mind changed every now and then.
One of the aspects of the second session was doing an inventory of our responsibilties. That alone, is a good exercise. Tim mentioned a few things which I had never thought of before. He recommended using tools that are best suited to the task, i.e. don't use your email to remind yourself of something; use a scheduling tool. He recommended separating our tools to scheduling tools, information tools, and task management tools. I am hoping to make better use of my Google calendar in the future, and I am planning on starting to use Evernote. As I looked at it yesterday, I saw how convenient that will be in keeping track of information with regard to working on my term paper over the next month.
One thing that happens when your kids move out and you are presented with this life of reduced domestic details is that it is easy to simply stop worrying about them. As I walked through my living room yesterday evening, with the sunset streaming through the sheer curtains in my living room, I could see a layer of dust on the hardwood under my desk. I used to be better at housekeeping. I am sure using productivity tools for work or school research is a good idea, but why not for home organization? Maybe the reason I am not getting enough done is that I'm not as organized as I thought I was.
Regrettably, I could not stay for the afternoon sessions, and I was particularly disappointed I missed the Q&A, because my prof was on the panel. But through the wonder of digital technology, I can catch it later. I left feeling challenged, and that is good. Being challenged will give us renewed purpose.