"Put simply, entropy is a measure of disorder, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics states that all closed systems tend to maximise entropy. Reversing this ever-increasing tendency toward disorder requires the input of energy. That's why housekeeping is so tiresome. Left on its own, your house would get dusty, spiders would move in, and eventually, it would fall apart. However, the energy put into preventing disorder in one place simultaneously increases it somewhere else. Overall, the entropy of the universe always increases." (realclearscience.com)
Full disclosure time. I’m fed up of all this.
The spiders have moved in everywhere and the effort of getting them to leave means that the magazines are all over the floor and the pile of unwashed coffee cups won’t get dealt with until someone draws up a rota and that person can’t draw up the rota because the pencils need sharpening.
This is not an insight into my work or home life. It’s what it feels like trying to pick up the pieces of “normal” business interaction. Everywhere we see the signs of people trying to restore some post-lockdown function. In the UK the pubs are re-opening, restaurants are adapting to enable them to start serving people again and businesses are starting to make noises about re-engaging people who have been furloughed. But it feels so slow, so full of effort… and every effort to start something like normal function again means that something else isn’t being done. Overall, the entropy of the universe always increases.
Unfortunately, there are a million and one things that add to the entropy. There’s so much that needs doing to get everybody back to work, so much work to do on re-starting all the plans and projects that existed before, and then there are the ones that need doing now to help everybody through the transition. And then there will be the pause that the annual summer holiday season brings to everything…
Why am I talking about this? Why is it an issue? Well, as someone whose business is based on delivering events, conferences, team days and learning sessions to organisations, I am impatient to see things return as soon as possible. I know that it will take time for this to happen, but at present, I have a horrible feeling that wheels are spinning, but precious little progress is being made.
So, what can we do about this? I am reminded of the instruction I once heard about tidying your house. Don’t try to tidy the whole house at once. You have a finite amount of energy and after expending all of it on trying to do everything at once you will be exhausted and most likely downhearted that you haven’t succeeded. Instead, tidy one drawer, or one surface, and when you’ve done it, celebrate your achievement. Then do it again tomorrow. Rinse and repeat, and together we will get our houses in order.