August 13, 2008

Getting Organized; what to do about unwanted chaos

Chaos is paradoxical; you need a certain amount of chaos to be creative but not to the point that you feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff.

Getting organized is helpful for people in offices and at home. Unwanted chaos is non-productive; there are several systems, tools and principles for this. Getting organized is a general topic within problem solving which is said to be most effective to clarify feelings because it is primarily aimed at the physical environmental level. The clean desk feeling, nice labeled folders, knowing where your stuff is stored and where to put it (back) when done.

Usually the problem of increasing unwanted chaos is that new stuff doesn't have a place to store it.

A nice helpful diagram to process "stuff" from your in-basket to a destination from David Allen's Book "Getting things done" :

Stuff - Workflow Diagram

The level of accepted chaos may vary from person to person. In my experience the tolerance level of chaos for men tends to be higher than it is for women. If the values of cleanliness and order differ within a household this may cause tension. For example a woman might feel uncomfortable with dirty laundry on the floor or a pile of used dishes in the kitchen long before a man finally does. Even within a emancipated society this might be one of the reasons women still do more of the household tasks than men... (It might be interesting to use the value-system as a variable for social science research)

Order is the reshuffling of Chaos using sets of Rules. These rules don't have to be logical, reasonable or even sane, but they do have to be internally consistent, and most of the things or people involved must fit or be made to fit the resulting Pattern. Sweeping unwanted facts under the Rug usually includes those who found them. In Reality, order exists in a sea of Chaos, for Order must be be recognized as such so that Meaning can be attached to it.

[Toine Fennis, 2001]

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