March 23, 2019

Chaotic Routine Follow-up

Thank you to everyone who wrote in with questions and comments about my email a couple days back about chaotic routines.

If you didn’t see the original message yet, search your inbox for subject:“Chaotic Routine” and read that one first.

Here are a few follow-up thoughts:

Chaos is not inherently bad

Chaos can be good. It is a big component in creativity, innovation, disruption, serendipity, etc. I just think it’s a waste to improvise your way through joyless and mundane tasks like taking out the garbage or sending an invoice.

You don’t need to create an SOP for everything

It likely that certain aspects of your work are inherently creative. Things that you don’t know how you’re going to do them until you do them. Things that will never happen exactly the same way again. This part of your work probably can’t be organized like an assembly line and optimized to perfection.

But I doubt that you operate in this creative zone all day, every day. There are probably all sorts of boring activities that surround this creative zone that could be ordered into repeatable and brainless routines, thereby leaving more time and energy left over for your creative work.

Start small and see how it feels

If you want to start trying to create systems in your business, maybe don’t start by trying to create an SOP for your core competency (e.g., refactoring a code base, running a design workshop, brainstorming a marketing strategy, etc).

Instead, pick a small boring activity that happens often (e.g., processing your inbox, scheduling a conference call, publishing a blog post, etc.), come up with the best possible system for achieving the desired result, and then follow the system the next time the need arrises. You might find it addictive :-)