It’s Like Personal Tech Debt

In the course of daily events, I may not clear my inbox by the end of the day (or week), I may write notes in a few places (instead of one), and I may allow stuff to pile up on my desk (starting with the edges, slowly creeping towards the middle).

It’s not really in my way… it’s not impeding me, per se, from getting stuff done on the daily, but over time, it builds up past some threshold of, “OK. Now this shit is encroaching on my physical & psychological comfort.”

This amassed entropy? It’s like personal tech debt.

Right? I mean, that’s how I think about it. I’ve never coded for a living, but this analogy seems fair.

OK. Fine. Let’s see what Wikipedia says…

…a concept in software development that reflects the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy (limited) solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer.


Ouch. Fair. I could clean up as I go along, and when I don’t, it’s out of laziness, not a deliberate choice. Oh, and then there’s this bit…

…if technical debt is not repaid, it can accumulate ‘interest’, making it harder to implement changes.

Wikipedia again

That’s the comfort-encroaching part I mentioned earlier.

But what I’m thinking isn’t just technical, and goes beyond what I’m suddenly terming “Desk Debt“, which effects frequent life changes. When we move, an infrequent life change, I make it harder for myself by having a bunch of stuff I move from apartment to apartment (college textbooks, anybody? I know there’s a few of us out there…).

This larger and more foundational level of debt lives in my basement (“Base Debt“?). It’s the clothes I never wear. It’s the college notes I never look at. It’s the knick-knacks that I’d put on my desk if I had a desk four times larger than is reasonable. And I think this is fairly analogous to types of tech debt that wouldn’t impede you adding another function or module, but is more akin to having to… re-platform.

Anyway, this is how I think about some of the mess that accumulates around my domain of the home. It gets to a point where I’m pissed off enough to put strategic initiatives on hold and clean this crap up.

Seeing how a concept from work decently describes some of what I have going on at home, I wonder what other areas of my life are accumulating a type of debt that would make it harder to make a change.

…Mmmmah. I’ll think about that later…