In the first principle, truth or tip — however you want to regard it –, I tripped over my second life lesson: Get Organized.

A lot of good it does to write it down if you stick the slip of paper or note some place never to be found again.

But organization is more than keeping up with a piece of paper. It’s a Way of Life.

Organization brings personality to the fore. As parents know, some are orderly by nature, others are born Disaster Areas. Son #2 discovered this when his sloven older brother went off to college.

Inherent or no, orderliness can be learned and practiced faithfully.

One of my first introductions to personal organization as an adult was a book published by (don’t laugh) Reader’s Digest, Organize Your Life, I think was the title. I probably read it three or four times in my early years and consulted it now and again.

Nowadays, my wife is addicted to FlyLady and the personal agenda/organization industry has exploded, with Covey and Franklin and DayTimers vying to meet a need as broad as humanity.

So today we’re into time management, sophisticated planners, professional home and office organizers, free printable charts, online calendars — you name it, you got it.

What, then, can I say to you in short space that will make a difference?

1. Organize up to your need. Don’t overdo it. Make it workable, not a new exercise in frustration.

2. Simple is usually better. I find that three questions cover many people’s organizing needs:

  • What past obligations or deadlines did I fail to meet, and what, if anything, can or should I do about them now?
  • What is the best use of my time today?
  • What do I need or want to do in the next week, month or year that I can work toward now?

The more I work these questions, the less I ought to need the first one.

3. Unless you have a photographic memory, and even if you do, write it down. Back to Principle #1. Seeing it written down makes it more concrete and more likely you’ll actually carry through.

4. Write today’s tasks, in order of importance, on a 3 x 5 card. Do what you can, be glad of what you did, don’t sweat what you couldn’t do.

5. Don’t tackle too much. In organizing, in life. Pare it down, do what is most important, most fits your gifts and interests.

To the theological tack, again. The Lord is a God of order.

“”Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven” (Job 25:2 NIV).

God is not the author of confusion, so all should be done decently and in order, said Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40. And that goes not only for a church, but for an individual.

Because of him, we live in a cosmos, an “orderly arrangement” in the universe. In spite of the popularity of chaos theory (and popular notions of what that means), we depend on 24-hour days, 365-day years, predictable seasons, infallible gravity and a hundred other orderly, consistent, reliable divine laws that keep the world inhabitable.

So make your personal world hospitable by getting organized.

What do you think?