Folding the Chaos

My web browsing routinely gets out of hand. New windows sprout like fungi from the ground. Tabs multiply like mutating zombies, growing new limbs faster than even the bravest hero can chop them off. My setup of various profiles and icons and bookmarks tries to keep the lid on, but in the end, it’s no use: Chaos rules.

Sometimes, the only way to fix chaos is to nuke everything and restart with a clean slate. Close all windows, kill all tabs, and start over. Often, however, the slow approach is just as feasible. You can fold down the flower of chaos, one petal at a time.

I start with one window. I close the tabs I don’t need. I do what must be done in the rest, then close that window. The next day, I pick another window. Then another. And another. It takes time and a lot of emotional endurance, but when you persist, folding chaos back into order feels extremely satisfying.

When your to-do list gets too long, your tabs are exploding, or the code is full of bugs, take a long, hard look at the chaos, and ask: “Do I need to reset this? Or can I fold down the chaos? Which one makes more sense?” If you climbed the wrong tree, there’s nothing wrong with jumping back down. But if each branch actually deserves your attention, it’s only a matter of attending to them in the right order.

Learn to hold your emotional breath. You can stay focused even in a sea of chaos. Summon your mental strength, and restore order through the sheer power of human will and creativity. Use your mind like a laser, and once every wooden target is burned, the calm sea will feel more soothing than ever before: You didn’t just reboot the system. You fixed it, and, therefore, your peace of mind is well-earned.