Entropy probably isn’t the first thing you think about when it comes to your daily life or productivity. Of course, you mat. also be wondering exactly what entropy is. While it is a scientific force, it can actually be applied to how you live your life, especially the power you have to change it into what you want it to be versus just accepting what happens.
What Is Entropy?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, entropy is “a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system’s disorder.” A more broad definition is “the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system.”
If you want to get into a more technical description, especially more into the science of entropy, Britannica and The Khan Academy go far more in-depth. However, in discovering what is entropy in relation to a person’s life, you can simplify the definition quite a bit without needing to know the science and math behind how it all works. Though it’s worth checking out both sources to better understand the distribution of energy throughout the universe.
To greatly simplify entropy, it’s a natural process of disorder. It affects every aspect of the world around you and your own life.
Entropy in Everyday Life
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, breaks down how this force affects our everyday lives. He uses a few different examples to better explain entropy. My personal favorite is how puzzle pieces could form a perfectly finished puzzle when you dump them out of the box, but the odds of that happening are next to nothing. The odds are more in favor of the disorder you’re used to seeing versus any real, helpful order.
The more times you put the pieces back in the box, the more versions of disorder you’re likely to get. This is entropy in action in your daily life.
Since the more natural process leans toward disorder, life works the same way. You encounter more problems. Things get harder. You seem to lose control.
Of course, there’s more thing to know about this chaotic force – it increases. Instead of things becoming more ordered, the disorder increases.
Fighting the Chaos
At this point, it may be difficult to figure out how entropy affects productivity in any positive way. Technically, it doesn’t. However, knowing that it exists leads you to making a choice. You can let the disorder continue to increase without check or fight against the chaos.
Let’s go back to the puzzle example. If you keep putting the pieces back in the box and dumping them out, you’ll likely never see the puzzle come out with all the pieces in the right positions in your lifetime. On the other hand, you have the power to fight against the natural force of entropy. You can put forth effort to put the pieces in order yourself.
That’s how all this ties into your everyday life and productivity. Without effort, things won’t magically get better. Instead, they get worse. If you want something to improve, you have to fight back against entropy. You have to push yourself to create better habits, push back against procrastination, work on your relationships, and develop the life you want.
Yes, entropy is a powerful force, but by expending energy, you push back against it.
Design the Life You Want
Clear studied the relation between entropy and everyday life. Life will get increasingly complex unless you make an effort to simplify it. No, problems and obstacles won’t just stop. However, you will become better at facing them.
Knowing that the only way to make things better is to actually act, gives you an advantage. This is where creating more productive habits and routines comes into play. By making this energy expenditure against entropy a regular thing, it doesn’t seem nearly as difficult. The more often you push back, the more control you regain to create and design the life you want.
While it may not always be the ideal situation or circumstances, this is when you have to fight back. Regain control and order a little at a time instead of relying on chance. After all, you’re fighting a force that governs everything in the universe. Put forth the effort, be more productive, and reach the goals you set.