101 ADD Strategies: #81, #82 – Coping with Chaos

Some people love chaos, although I can’t imagine why. They seem to function better if their environment is in disarray and events are in constant motion. They are so comfortable with chaos that they constantly mess things up and stir things up.

People on the other end of the spectrum don’t function at all unless their environment is in order and their schedule is predictable. These people can spend so much time planning and organizing that they accomplish very little else.

Life is naturally chaotic. In order to get things done and get where you want to be, you have to learn to cope with a certain amount of chaos and continue to move forward. The following strategies can help you do just that.

#81 Cover It Up

The simplest way to cope with chaos is to cover it up. The saying “Out of sight, out of mind” can be applied in many situations.

If the person sitting next to you at work has a desk that looks like the recycle bin, you can ask to be moved or turn your desk so that their chaos is not within you view. If a part of your own desk is too cluttered for you to concentrate on the task at hand, you can rake the contents into a box or a drawer and deal with it later when you aren’t pressed to meet a deadline. In fact, you may want to keep one drawer or cupboard as your chaos container, and put anything in it that you intend to put in its proper place later.

Make it a rule to store things in containers that have covers. Instead of shelves, use cupboards with doors that can be kept closed. Instead of clear bins, use boxes with lids. Instead of keeping things on your desktop, have a drawer at your desk where clutter can be concealed from view. If those cupboards, boxes or drawers are a bit chaotic they won’t be a distraction.

#82 Isolate a Piece

One way to deal with chaos is to develop blinders. Find ways to block out or tune out the chaos that is not relevant to your current task. Only keep on your desk what you currently need to be working on. If you have several projects going at once, find a place to stash the ones you aren’t working on where you can easily pull them out when they become a priority.

The same thing goes for your time. You may have many things on your plate. Setting aside a time for each type of activity allows you to put away everything and focus on just one activity. The fact that you have a separate time for the other activities will help you ignore them for now.

Sometime blinders come in the form of earplugs. If the environment you are working in is full of random conversation that is not related to your current project, tune it out with a good pair of earplugs. The earplugs will also tell people around you that you need to focus on what you are doing and to not interrupt you with unrelated or unimportant issues.

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