George Monbiot has a good piece on pursuing the work you want.

So my final piece of advice is this: when faced with the choice between engaging with reality or engaging with what Erich Fromm calls the “necrophiliac” world of wealth and power, choose life, whatever the apparent costs may be.

Work is never fun if you do it for other people.

But why?

I’d guess it’s not simply that someone else is asking you for it. It’s that the other person is *always* setting some constraints, defining the boundaries of what the thing should be, that don’t entirely line up with your own.

And then there’s a *disappointment*, a sense of the thing not being quite “right” as you have to cut and stretch the product to fit the Procrustean frame your client asks for.

Prioritizing by Anxiety.

I see what he’s getting at although I’m not entirely convinced.

Obviously No Free Lunch tells us that no “prioritize-by-X” strategy could be appropriate to all circumstances. (Including the FIFO algorithm of Mind Traffic Control).

Because of this, the less time wasted imagining you can specify priorities in advance, the better. Because the only time you can assign priorities is when pulling things out of your queue. To the extent that “anxiety” helps you identify the most urgent to do now it’s useful. But Andre does recognise that anxiety (like most *emotional* indicators) is pretty ambiguous; it might be that an item makes you anxious exactly because you *don’t* know how to do it or even what you *want* to do about it. So, even choosing to address it now, doesn’t mean “doing” it now, it may be a signal to cancel entirely.

Still … it’s to good if it helps you reduce anxiety overall. Perhaps not if you start to *cultivate* it as a priority-identification mechanism.

BTW : MTC works on the opposite theory, assuming that it’s easier to know which items you can definitely postpone, than it is to know which are most urgent … so at least it helps you clear the former out of the way. Nevertheless, what this post mainly reminds me is that, now I’m up to around 200 items under Mind Traffic Control, even MTC is breaking down for me.

Or rather, it’s missing something. And I’m starting to wonder if that’s the “someday/maybe” bucket. Originally I assumed that “3 months in the future” was more or less equivalent to a someday/maybe … but I’m finding that that’s not the case.

I’m scared to push things so far ahead, even for things I have no idea when I’d get round to. Because there’s always the possibility that I might get inspired to try them tomorrow. I need another queue to get things out of the way, but from where I can bring them back, if inspiration strikes.

Opinions anyone?

There’s a new crop of business wikis. And some interesting discussion.

But what’s wrong with this picture?

SystemOne, an enterprise-knowledge-management system masquerading as an ordinary business wiki. What’s cool about this product is that it automatically creates, at the bottom of each page, a list of relevant other wiki pages, feeds, and Web search results. The autocreation of the links removes some of the need to manually create links to connect wiki pages together. This is a key feature if the wiki is to be used by a lot of people who aren’t hypertext-savvy.

Answer : Everything is wrong here.

Firstly, what’s the point of automatically making hyperlinks for people who aren’t web-savvy? Or rather, why are you trying to get people who don’t understand hypertext to use wiki? (In fact, in 2007, why are you even employing people who aren’t hypertext savvy? But that’s another story.) At the very least you should ask how exactly they are going to use wiki if they can’t understand what hypertext is, or have some intuition about how to use it?

Remember, this is wiki we’re talking about : all the hard graft of making links (like the trivially fiddly writing of “anglebracket a href”, and the genuinely tricky part about finding the right URL to point to) has been eliminated by the simple WikiWord or [[double square bracket]] conventions. What’s left is the only other difficult question : deciding what links to make.

SystemOne “solves” that part for you. But remember, the links are part of the valuable decision-making and information that goes into your wiki. Wiki links are not meant to mean that “this page is vaguely similar to that web-page”. If I want to know what pages are vaguely similar I can use Google. Wiki links mean “I, the author, want the reader to notice this kind of similarity between this page or this paragraph or this word, and that page because I think it’s significant.” Which is far more precise and subtle piece of information.

A wiki which automatically creates links is as useless as a word-processor which claims to write your letters for you.

The purpose of creating documents is not to kill trees or fill up as much disk space as possible. The purpose of creating documents is to capture the value added by human intelligence. Attempting to automate away that, in order to help consume more wood-pulp or fill the screen with more blue-underlines is counterproductive. Bad links devalue the good links. The reader of a page is overwhelmed and confused.