abstract image of ryan

Welcome to ryanwold.net

This Entry is part of the Series On Work.

This entry is about how I keep track of work. Open projects, reference materials, ideas.

Maintaining situational awareness as a knowledge worker is challenging. I'm aware single-tasking is more effective than multi-tasking, but the reality is that I must do both. Understanding where I am on the ladder of abstraction at any given moment is essential. For example, am I thinking strategically about high-level items? Or, am I working tactically on daily level details, working toward the higher level goals?

I think a lot about Organizational Physics. The concept itself doesn't seem to be well defined, and can be a bit abstract, so I'm going to try to define Organizational Physics in some part.

First, like Physics, Organizational Physics deals with the physical world; namely objects. And, like Physics, describes how these objects move through space over time.

As a knowledge worker, I am always playing a game. Moving objects, refining them, for the purposes of achieving a goal. I also pass and receive messages from other people as well.

At any given point in time, my location can be mapped in coordinate space. Simply, I can be mapped on a line, going in a direction (a line with an arrow at the end, pointing toward the future). So, I have a trajectory. Depending on the work, I may also have a velocity; the rate at which I'm progressing toward the defined axis of the line I'm currently on.

A tricky part of Organizational Physics is that I'm thinking in multi-dimensional space. Any given task, or line has its own defined axis. Writing a blog post has a different measurement for definition of done, than say re-designing a website. So, each line of work must have an axes clearly tailored and accurate to the work at hand. This is essential. Time, as an axes, is accurate, but not sufficient. We can progress through time, without progressing on the axes' definition of done.