The Objective

 Identifying what you are trying to achieve

Taking what you have to figure out what you need.

Desk top overChaos management is essential to turn a chaotic or disorganised situation into a highly efficient organised structure that is easy to use or understand. This is applicable to any situation whether in the real world (e.g. moving things around), or making plans (e.g. organising an event) or just figuring out your own ideas (e.g. a story outline). 

This page looks at identifying the objectives of your task and how to work out what the basic requirements are for it. For other options please return to: Chaos main menu

Identifying the objective of your chaos management

Identifying the objective of a ‘chaos management’ task is not always as easy as it sounds, just saying ‘to make it tidy’ does not really give enough depth. You need to understand exactly what you are trying to achieve, to define in as much detail as possible the objective before you begin to do any work on it.

Key point: Do not cut back on the time you spend on this stage, understanding the objective will make the journey easier and save time later.

1) What do you already know about you objective?

What do you already know about what it is that you are trying to achieve? A simple question, but a critical one.
Begin by making a list of all of the things you would liked to have completed from your objective. Examples could be:

bookcase disorder 076

The target – before

  • If you are planning to Rearrange a book case then draw a sketch of the book case and jot down what categories you want to put where (fiction, factual, reference books, …)
  • If you want to Plan an event then make a list of all that will be happening at that event (activities, stalls, …).
  • If you just want to Think through your own ideas, then jot down what would you like to see at the end of it (a tidy list? A set of notes? an understand of how the universe works? …)

Key point: This list does not have to be comprehensive or complete, but it does need to contain a rough idea of everything that should be required from your objective .

2) What information is missing? 

The target - afterwards

The target – afterwards

Now that you have an idea of what you are trying to achieve you can begin to try and work out what is missing. How you go about this depends upon the type of chaos management you are trying to do. Below is a list of different scenarios each of which will explain the type of thinking that is required.

  • For a Book case (or any type of rearranging) look at the sketch you drew in part 1. If you can, then go to the source and see if you have left anything out, perhaps a category of books, or some items.
  • For Planning an event (or any planning), Refer to the original source to see if you can now extract more information from it. Your list from part 1 should provide the prompts and help you to learn more
  • For Thinking through your own ideas (or any type of thinking), look at your notes or list and see if you can expand on any of them, if you can then include some extra information into the list but do not go overboard, just keep it simple for now

Key point: To identify as much as you can of what your final objective should include.

3) Does your objective have any impact on people?

If what you are planning will effect over people in any way, then you will need to consider in what way this will impact them and whether you will need their cooperation

If it will affect other people then they will need to know something about it, if it is only that it is going to happen

  • For Rearranging. Find out who else uses the target of your rearranging plans. How will it impact on them? For a book case in your office it may be no-one, for a school library it will be everyone in the school.
  • For Planning. Who will need to be involved or informed about your plans and for which stages of your plans? If it is for a multi-functional event then your list will contain a lot of names for each stage, some names may be generic (e.g. school teachers) other more specific (e.g. a persons name).
  • For Thinking something through. What impact will your ideas have on other people? Would you need to discuss them with someone once you are at a stage to do that? Very few ideas end up being unique to yourself. It may be a case that your plans will not affect people unless they choose to, but you still need to confirm this. 

Key point: To ensure that no-one is going to be surprised by what you are going to do.

4) What type of general resources are you going to need?

General resources will need to be considered, but not actually fully identified. It is a case of establishing the ‘bigger picture’ of your plans to see how much ‘reality’ there is to them. Does the items exist in the first place to be able to be put to use by you 

  • For Rearranging. Does the target actually exist? or does something else need to happen before you can then go to work with your own plans? For example do new bookshelves need to be put up first?
  • For Planning. Is there a place that your plans relate to? if so would it be available to you to have a look round before hand?
  • For Thinking something through. Are your ideas intended to change something? If so then what is the starting point for your changes? What is it that you have to work with once you are ready to begin?

Key point: To understand the basic resources that you will require.

5) Has anything like this been done before?

Check to see if your final objective is similar to anything else that has been done in the past – If so you can use this to see if there are any tips or ‘lessons learnt’ that can assist with your task.

  • For Rearranging. Look to see if the area you are planning to rearranged has ever had this operation performed on it before?
  • For Planning. Has this type of activity or event happened before. Refer to that if you can.
  • For Thinking something through. Have you thought through a similar idea in the past perhaps for something different? or do you know someone else who has?

Key point: To make your life as easy as possible – there is no point making mistakes if somebody else has already found a solution for some of them.


Good Preparation will mean that you understand what you require for the task and when you need what and when. Resources should have been identified and people warned of what is to come and whether you are going to require their help at some point

Now it is time to plan for the work ahead: Planning.

 Jenny M L ~  Inspiring the Imagination ~ Contact Me


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