Started drafting from 25 Jan 2012
Starting from January 2012 this year, I made arrangements at my study table for the New Year. My wife had done away with our big Vhive table and I have a small study table. That was several months ago. I agree with her to make way for hosting guests and to do away clutter. There is a mystery to the desk of busy people: the greater the space, the greater the clutter – at least this is me. The study area is the most important areas in the house, as it is the place where God speaks to me most. If it is the most important, I thanked God for giving the creative ideas to remake my small area for the best productivity.
1) Personal Equipping, Blogging, Normal Work
I bought a 23 inch Dell IPS Monitor a few months back. It was originally meant for learning more things (like programming), praying if God can open up any business venture. I found a good use for it and it is for equipping. I use it mainly for typing down transcripts of Bible Overview messages which I need about 10 hours a week. (This lets me get equipped into details.) I also use this setup for blogging. I also bought an Apple Bluetooth keyboard (not cheap but worth the typing quality) so that it can be used with my laptop being kept away so that I can focus working and put internet and multitasking at bay. I also have to refer to the bible always, so it is at a place for easy reference.
2) Gospel Station / Small Group Preparation
If you write and read things, you will find that looking down at the desk horizontally at the bible and paper is quite uncomfortable. Our pastor Zhishan had a very wonderful raised and angled platform that he always uses for bible reading and message preparation. That was quite expensive (if you add the shipping cost from America to Singapore) and I was not sure if I would make full use of it. It had always been in my mind for years as I know God’s calling on me. I find I can only prepare messages productively by writing instead of typing. Thoughts in my mind are in Chinese, English, circling, boxing, highlighting with colors, flowcharts and diagrams. No laptop or tablet can fulfill this requirement yet. In fact, the laptop turned on for reference actually serves to distract more than to help. Everything is turned off here. You see the raised plastic platform? That is actually meant as a laptop platform, and has served its purpose for a few years. It was a gift from Aunt Diana (She bought a very good quality one actually). I finally found a great use for it by holding iPad for reference (iPad can be taken away if not needed too), and a simple A4 paper folded into half for writing and highlighting. In fact, I really love this platform. It has all been there with my conditions. The two tabs at near to the base of the raised platform served to hold iPad and paper in place. Since the keyboard is wireless, I store it away in the drawer. After the meeting, I would scan the message for archiving into dropbox for future reference, if any.
3) Daily Morning Quiet Time
Through years of trying, I discover that quiet time can never work when my laptop is on. There are just too many distractions. I also tried with just closing my eyes to pray with nothing turned on – my mind just wonders away. Then I tried writing on pieces of paper – they really help, but they pile up since this is daily quiet time! Since my wife has an iPad, I take it from her to use for my quiet time. (In the past, she used it more. I think I use it a little more than her now.) The Apple Bluetooth keyboard works on the iPad too! A globe (for Malaysia, China and World Gospelization), a half a cup of coffee in the morning (for letting my mind dwell, catching the Holy Spirit’s convictions in the spiritual realms), the bible for reading (every word of God actually brings power), and typing down fast the convictions received from God in prayers and the bible – these makes a simple setup and also keeps all distractions away. The iPad can also be taken away to the bathroom where I hear about 2-3 chapters of Psalms in English NIV (youversion free dramatized NIV audio reading) and Chinese (from wordproject.org) before going to work.
4) Sunday Message Preparation
Here is the last setup of Sunday Message preparation. During this time, I need to do lots of bible reading. Good thing is that the bible can lie on the center raised platform. With the Apple keyboard, I can type in notes. I also use the computer to read the Chinese words aloud as my Chinese reading is quite slow and I have a problem with concentration in reading Chinese (I dream off easily). The IKEA table light helps to illuminate the bible well.
How is your setup like? Have you found something that works productively for your prayers?
Why more productivity? Time management has always been in front me. Though children and promise are together, the Lord has encouraged instead of putting emphasis to raise up remnants. That has been my goal in life. Yet, His voice to convict my wife and I to have kids has grown louder. The past year has been when God made us two free up our time better for the purpose to enjoy the grace the Lord Christ has set between us, i.e. my small groups became from 3 (gospel station, brother’s group, elderly group) in 2010 to 1.5 (gospel station weekly, elderly group fortnightly) by end of 2011. Yet, because of the vision God has set in me unforgettably, the Lord impressed upon me to go on equipping more intensely especially in re-studying Bible Overview in the past year 2011. Therefore, I still could not manage my time and lifestyle well. Managing time and lifestyle is an art. Without spiritual food, you cannot live for the day; if you do not live by what God has planned for you daily, i.e. bulk of time in the office, you cannot come before totally boldly before the throne of the grace of God. That may be one of the reason why both my wife and I were not really being able to make babies. For many years, resolutions in the New Year to manage God’s given time and lifestyle well have failed. Yet, this year, the Lord convicted me to set apart my Most Holy Place, with whatever He has given me already. The pictures of the setup you have seen above are the result of God’s answers to my prayers. And really thank God, He has tuned my daily time and lifestyle for 2.5 months already.