I have made a commitment to working out loud, but the outpouring (the product if you will) ebbs and flows, often depending on project time constraints. Working out loud adds value, but it takes time. Vigilance is required to ensure the value exceeds the cost.
I read recently that the quantified self data genius, Nicholas Felton, has stopped his Feltron Report after 10 years. How did he manage all that quantification at all?
“I think the secret was not having kids. I think that’s the kind of commitment that it’s been,” Felton laughs. “Now that it’s out of the way, maybe there’s room in my life.”
It’s hard work.
Recently, I spent one day acknowledging – first to myself, also to my team and my boss – EVERYTHING that I did in that day. I logged every email, the interactions, the pattern of my day. An exercise in Feltronics, so to speak.
The very act of recording the work – a type of working out loud – revealed how difficult it is to quantify and neatly box up the work. While I have 5-6 core themes to my work, that each invoke strategies and projects , the day of record – just one day – showed how much other stuff there is (that has) to be done.
Then I thought about time sheets.
Fortuitously, this has not been a work experience of mine since I did piece work as a teenager, but it often gets thrown around as an idea to help us quantify for whom we do the work, and whom should pay for it.
But it is so rarely as simple as that. As an inter-disciplinary dept. in the organization – we touch lots of projects, often tangentially – assigning an ‘owner’ (read: payer) for every interaction would itself become the work.
Work is a soup, a mélange of interconnectedness – people, ideas, conversations, hopes and expectations, politics, sometimes even real outputs. One ingredient of my work is working out loud.
By doing so, I am working out the value of the work, parsing feedback loops from those around me to monitor where I should spend my time. This is live work – it is constant quantification, without the 6-minute time sheet boxes.
Work is learning, and learning is the work, Harold Jarche teaches. It is hard work too. Still, as Julian Stodd says,
Sampling new ideas, sharing new thoughts, challenging the status quo. If we get that right, if we are curious, try to make sense of it, and share our stories, it’s worth the trip.
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