Applying chaotic time management correctly: plan and order to success?

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Rigid scheduling methods are long considered obsolete, because reality often changes faster than you can plan. Chaotic time management sounds so tempting. A reality check.

Chaotisches Zeitmanagement richtig anwenden: Plan und Ordnung zum Erfolg? Chaotisches Zeitmanagement richtig anwenden: Plan und Ordnung zum Erfolg?

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Chaotic time management: a self-test

Some time ago I had read something about chaotic time management. It works something like this: work through the urgent things, let everything else go and see what happens. But it can quickly become an endless spiral. At first I thought that was completely nonsense. But the thought has not left me since.

That's why I tried it myself. My conclusion: If I leave much lying, I soon no longer know where my head is - and it creates an endless spiral, because the loose ends are endless. But what exactly does it look like?

3 steps to chaotic time management

Work through the urgent matters, let everything else go and see what happens - chaotic time management essentially takes place in 3 steps:

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  1. You have to wait and be able to do without. Wait until something has settled by itself. If not, you can get up to personal top form and get it quickly. Wait for someone else to do it. The work finally goes where it is done. If possible, avoid being there.
  2. Avoid planning, it always comes differently than you think. Better wait and see how it actually happens. Then you improvise, and you're guaranteed to get it sorted out. At the same time you train your surprise skills and soon you can not scare anything.
  3. Stay underorganized and refrain from such pointless activities as cleaning up your desk and dropping it off. You've saved more time than you ever need to search. Avoid the nonsense of making important things artificially urgent, as the planners do.

Should you try it

Now I'm not a fan of fixed time management plans - I see it as a guide rather than a "must-do!". First, it is different and second, as you think. Therefore, a rigid planning corset in my experience is more of a hindrance. However: Not planning exactly like that. After all, what you plan or undertake, you go through sooner.

But, the idea of ​​not sticking to rigid planning lists, I found quite attractive. And so I have started a self-test: The urgent work off, leave everything else and see what happens.

Everything at the last minute?

First of all there is the idea to push everything out until the last minute. It counters the tendency that most of us feel under stress and pressure to be more effective. In addition, we can procrastinate just fine with important things - for example, because you are actually afraid of the task or just a mountain of work sees and does not know where to start.

Honestly, I think that's pretty daring. Remember the stories of friends who have messed up the hard drive the day before submitting the thesis, or something similar. Therefore ... sure, some things are really done by themselves: I recently wanted to call my ex-gas provider, but knew that would cost me that endless time in the waiting loop. Then I learned via Twitter that he is broke. I could give the call to me!

The thing with the loose ends

But the most important argument: who has the nerve to delay an important task to the end while remaining calm and relaxed? You are really relaxed when you have done the job. Or am I the only one who does that? So my tip: Do the job better immediately, then you can continue working quietly.

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That is also my main criticism of the chaotic time management: Like in that Article described, too many loose ends remain. In my self-test, I have focused on one important thing in recent weeks: my new book, which will be published in September. With tunnel vision and blinders, I was really able to do a lot. However, the mountains of paper piled up on the left and right. Worse were the imaginary loose ends in the head. I knew that there was a lot left and I always had a guilty conscience.

Chaotic time management and reality

So I had to take a break to work things off and sort them out. And lo and behold, I'm feeling better now. But that was not exactly relaxing. A balanced mix between the main task and secondary tasks would have been better.

The experiment "Chaotic Time Management" failed for me. Maybe next time but to make to-do lists again? Or you just do not get that with the balanced work, because in between there are always stressful high-productive phases? How does it look for you? Maybe that's the most important insight in the whole thing: that there is not a time management method. Because everyone works very differently. And so we need flexible scheduling methods.

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