Over the years, I have tried about everything available for planning, goal-setting, and project management. In my earlier years, I tended to be a gadget freak. I used PDAs, which predated the PalmPilot. I have used the Psion 3a, the Casio, various versions of the PalmPilot, various versions of the PocketPC, smartphones and enough software for my personal computers that I could have run NASA. I have settled in on Outlook, PlanPlus for Outlook by Franklin-Covey, MindManager Pro by MindJet and Microsoft Project for my basic recording (once it is developed) and keeping up to date with plans and projects. Now don't run out and purchase all of these because you may be surprised to find that I use an extremely low tech method of brainstorming and planning: pen and paper! With more years experience than I care to count, I have found pen and paper to be the most powerful medium ever developed.
In Habakkuk, we find God telling the prophet to write down his visions:
KJV Habakkuk 2:2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
Although this is used in the context of sharing a vision from God to others, there is a principle here. When we write something down and make it plain to understand, there is an anointing for those that read it to accomplish it.
In the Success Mastery Academy taught by Brian Tracy, he shared powerful information in this area with the attendees (which included many executives from Fortune 500 companies). I am going to share a summary of what he presented. (To be able to get an exact quote, I would have to listen to all twelve hours of the seminar again.) Here is my summary:
In having these men and women prepare their goals for the next year, he had them brainstorm on paper. He shared that there is a "hand to brain connection" discovered by success psychology experts that they cannot yet explain. By writing down the goals, an individual increases his chances of completing them by about 300%. To illustrate this, some in attendance made their lists, only to tuck them away in the folios they use for such conferences, and never looked at them again until the following year. To the surprise of many, when they pulled the paperwork out the next year, they had completed over 70% of the goals that they had written down!
Now imagine what would have happened if they had looked at them each week or rewrote them and expanded them each week. The power of paper is amazing. How many powerful business plans started on the back of a napkin written down during dinner at a neighborhood restaurant? How many world-changing ideas were quickly jotted down on paper when the Holy Spirit first breathed it into the heart of someone!
I personally have found that technology can be a hindrance to establishing goals, brainstorming, and jotting down inspiration or the initial phases of project planning. Paper and pen provide a permanent record of not only the ideas, but the process. It is readily available. You never have to wait for it to boot up. You never will have a pen or paper hang up on you (i.e. the MS blue screen of death). You just grab, write, scribble, draw, sketch and develop!
Here are some tips to keep you moving forward:
Always keep something with you to write with. I keep a notepad in my briefcase and on my desks at the office and home at all times. I also carry 3 x 5 cards in my pocket to jot down ideas, tasks, etc. This is paramount to you moving forward in life and ministry. You have no clue how many sermon ideas, inspirational truths and powerful teachings I have lost over the years because I did not write them down the moment they came to me. When the Holy Spirit breathes something into your spirit, there is an anointing for understanding and accomplishment in it. When you write it down, the anointing will stay with what you have written!
Once you write it down and hash it out on paper, you then can move it to some electronic format. This is really helpful if you are like me; when I write in English, everyone thinks it is in some ancient biblical language. So typing everything out is important for not only yourself, but others as well. Remember to create a file system and ALWAYS keep those papers of hand written inspiration. The anointing to understand and accomplish will always be there for you to refresh yourself when you need it.
It's time to pick up your pen - inspiration is about to be loosed in your life!