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Discussion Forum > The Cynefin Framework and Time Management Systems

This post is a spin-off from the Bottleneck post:

I happened to notice the Wikipedia article on the Cynefin framework suggests a different mode of action for each domain.

In their seminal article, Snowden and Boone suggest the following:

Simple - Sense, Categorize, Respond
Complicated - Sense, Analyze, Respond
Complex - Probe, Sense, Respond
Chaotic - Act, Sense, Respond

Perhaps this could also serve as a framework for different time-management systems, or modes within a single time-management system.

The brute-force systems of the world -- such as Franklin-Covey, Getting Things Done (GTD), etc. -- usually fit into the Simple category. GTD is especially like this -- maybe creeping a bit into the Complicated. David Allens' flowchart for handling inputs fits this model exactly. Assess each input (Sense); if you can't do immediately then put it on the right contextual list for later (Categorize); then work those context lists (Respond). All very sensible -- if you live in the Simple domain, or maybe sometimes move into the Complicated.

Mark's systems all go deeper than that, handling Simple and Complicated situations quite easily, and giving very useful tools for dealing with the Complex and Chaotic.

"Sense" - This is the "capture" function. I sense something needs to be done, but it's not an emergency, so I write it on my list.

"Categorize" and "Analyze" - Mark replaces this with "intuit". Categorizing and analzying just seem to get in the way of letting your intuition find its way through the list. Both Simple and Complicated domains are handled easily in this way: "Sense, Intuit, Respond".

Different systems of Mark's handle the "Probing" of the Complex domain differently. "Probing" means something like "test and see what happens, see where it takes you":
-DIT doesn't seem very amenable to "probing"
-AF1 handles this really well but perhaps makes it too easy to do lots of probing and not enough responding all the way to completion
-SFv3, FVP, and No-List work very well in this domain

It gets interesting with the Chaotic domain. Mark's general advice for dealing with emergencies and truly urgent situations works great in this domain (paraphrasing Mark: "if it needs doing now, just do it now, don't use a system. And if you are in the business of dealing with emergencies, then make sure you set up effective systems for handling emergencies.")

But Mark's general advice is to handle these outside of whatever TM system you are using.

I think the one system that fits perfectly here is Randomizer. Just choose something and Take Action! See what happens, add whatever needs done to your list, then repeat! Just choose something and Take Action! It's a perfect model for Act, Sense, Respond.
July 8, 2018 at 1:52 | Registered CommenterSeraphim

<< I think the one system that fits perfectly here is Randomizer. >>

I've been experimenting recently with different ways of using "Randomizers" (the name of the app). One way I'm currently trying is to set the upper limit for 10 and to write a short list of things I want to do now. I just count active tasks from the beginning of the list each throw of the randomizer. That means that I can keep adding stuff slowly to the list and the system will work through it fairly fast.

So far, it seems to be working well.
July 8, 2018 at 19:28 | Registered CommenterMark Forster