Many time management systems have already challenged Chaos and tried to fight it as with the Lernaean hydra: when one head was chopped, three grew back. Chaos management was more artful. He decided not to fight Chaos, but to tame it. First, he noticed that the name of Chaos was not so scary but nice, and took it as his own. Then he studied Chaos’s habits and found out what kind of sugar it loves. Finally, time management concluded that Chaos is a cutie, and we cannot do without it. And there are the reasons.
Not everything is in your hands (and this is a big relief)
One thing is for sure: Murphy ’s Law works and everything that can go wrong will go wrong. In chaos management, we do not make detailed hourly plans for the day. Such plans always fall flat as soon as one random event (Hello Chaos!) turns everything you planned to useless stuff and you had to do it in a different way. Chaos management teaches to focus on the system as a whole, but not on minor details. Devote definite time to what is important for you this month / year / life. The rest is better to be transformed into tasks for the day. And Chaos will tell you when and what is better to do ;)
Your time will never be enough to complete all tasks, answer all questions, read all books, and visit all places
GTD (Getting Things Done) is very cool if your goal is to become a mega-efficient robot that cannot remember why it is so effective, because there is no time for thinking, you must “complete the task that can be completed now”. We do not try to catch everything and turn our lives into one endless checklist, which is increasing. This is very tiring. It’s a straightforward way to burnout.
Chaos management develops the best ideas of GTD, but abandons its high-speed stereotypes. He teaches us to say “no”: you don’t have to run to every meeting, support every conversation, answer all letters, or do everything that can be done. Instead, listen to yourself, ask yourself questions, understand yourself, and prioritize. Invest your time deliberately in what is really important for you.
The world doesn’t care about your plans. It has a bunch of its own ones for you (and that means someone needs you)
The world insists on your attention. This is a great song, that is an ugly building, this is a delicious smell, and there is Vanessa Paradis at the next table. All this strikes your eye, suggests ideas, distracts, steals time. Marketers are on guard and skillfully set their traps, and it’s easy to get in. If you have not got lost in nirvana, it is difficult to ignore many things.
Chaos management teaches us to imagine Chaos not like random external stimuli, but like an improvisation where you can find something for yourself. We let ourselves to seek, make mistakes, and we do not beat ourselves up. This leaves room for creativity. Moreover, all our tasks, plans and ideas are always at hand. either plan for the day, for a year, or for the whole life. And regular project retrospectives allow you to stay the course.
What if Chaos is a perfect order and we just don’t understand it?
If contemporary art seems like nonsense to you, then this is not contemporary art’s fault, it’s your problem. Read the biographies of contemporary artists, the history of paintings, and learn what’s what. The same is true with Chaos. It seems to be an awful mess, because it is about 14 billion years older than us, it’s as big as the whole universe compared with us, and we really don’t know anything about it. But if you start to study it, you will notice soon that Chaos has favorite places (in every house there are places where the mess is most likely to appear) and favorite moments (situations that most often result in chaos).
In mathematics there is a separate branch — Chaos Theory. According to it, small alterations can give rise to strikingly great consequences. This means that small, well-thought-out actions can lead to great improvements. Do not fight chaos unconsciously — dig deep. Find out in what situations it appears and learn how to plan actions for preventing it. This is the same as feeding the dragon on time, rather than waiting for it to get hungry.
Read more about Chaos
- Tim Harford “Chaos. How Disorder Transforms Our Lives”
- Alexander Friedman “You or Chaos. Professional planning for regular management”
- James Glake “Chaos. Creating a new science”