How to Organize Personal Work 🧺
A small framework for knowledge work and personal productivity.
So, as you may have read last week, I am just back from honeymoon!
For three weeks I shut ~95% of my work off. I consider this a major accomplishment, as, in the past two years, I had never been able to stay away from Refactoring for more than ~4-5 days.
It didn’t come easy, though. It required a lot of prep, and that, combined with everything going on in our lives, made the last few months extreme.
In fact, other than the day-to-day work, we organized the wedding (which, in Italy, is a big deal), we relocated, and I anticipated stuff for honeymoon — that is, I wrote 6 newsletter editions in advance.
All of this meant fitting ~2x the regular work into an already packed schedule.
Everything turned out fine, and, in retrospect, this period taught me a lot about myself, productivity, and knowledge work in general.
So, during a non-stop 12-hour flight to Los Angeles, I drafted this article.
This piece introduces a simple framework to organize knowledge work and maximize your personal output. It draws from the experience of the past few months, combined with that of two years of solo writing work, and 10+ of engineering / management.
Here is what we will cover today:
🪨 Rocks, pebbles, and sand — a familiar metaphor, borrowed for managing work.
🧺 Work basket — what should go into your basket? How should you spend your time?
⏱️ Managing time — scheduling work and handling interruptions.
⚖️ Managers vs engineers — does this apply to both? Spoiler: yes.
Let’s dive in!