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Physical artifacts of digital work

Here is one month worth of blog posts:

Aside from the fun of using my typewriters regularly, one of my favorite parts of this project of typing posts on index cards is being able to put my hands on the physical artifacts of those posts.

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like it is important to have these sorts of concrete manifestations of the work I've done. I think one of the reasons that "knowledge work" (I hate that phrase, but can't come up with a better one on short notice) is so stressful, mentally draining, and soul-sucking is we spend all of this time and energy on it, and what is there to show for it as a result? Character- and word-counts? Story points and velocity? Even those exist only in the digital ether, and if often not even in an app or platform we own.

To-do lists and whiteboards full of post-it notes sort of help; we are physically checking something off, or moving an item from the Doing column to the Done column. These rituals are important in that they give us a concrete thing we can hold onto.

However, they are second-order representations of accomplishment, and they have a disturbing tendency to take on a life of their own. Look at all the post-it notes I moved! Check out how we increased velocity last sprint! Great, but what did you actually get done?

Then again, maybe other people are able to visualize digital work in their heads better than I can. For all I know, this stuff is all personal preference.