February 3, 2015

Intention and variability

I read blogs and books on minimalism, simplicity, and productivity and encounter a fair amount of writing on living with intention. This is an attractive concept. I would like to be able to design my life more, be less reactive. I would like to have my days unfold in a manner which is comfortable, productive and meaningful.

But then life happens. Unexpected issues arise at home, at work and elsewhere. Things come up and items break and malfunction. Entropy is at play.

Most task management systems don’t inherently account for this kind of variability in my experience. However, I do wish there were finely-tuned tools to accurately plan a day with intention and account for an average amount of unexpected variability.
Variability might be studied in a person’s life. For a simple example, I kept a log for a while of driving times and was able to establish averages. I’ve also kept time logs for durations of common tasks and events at work. Such knowledge is useful in planning. It is helpful as well if workflows are being adjusted: which is faster - the old or the new workflow?

Perhaps there is benefit in being more accepting of variability. Could one be, as part of living with intention, more accepting of the idea that the unexpected and the variable are often beyond our control? One could intentionally relax, be mindful, and allow acceptance of unexpectedness. Such a stance would be the opposite of being tensely braced against surprising detours.

I’m going to continue to try to live with intention and, as part of that process, purposefully allow space for variability.

  • mindfulness
  • simplicity

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