the mechanics of work: are you talky talky or clicky clicky?

when i meet someone who does something completely foreign to me, im usually interested in the mechanics of their work. what are you physically doing during the day and looking at? for example:

are you writing emails all day? (typey typey)

are you in meetings all day? (talky talky)

are you using asana / jira / etc? (clicky clicky)

are you in figma? (drawy drawy)

are you reading a lot of research papers and browsing the web? (thinky thinky)

with physical work, it’s much more obvious

are you working in a garden? (planty planty)

are you helping people move? (lifty lifty)

the list goes on!

of course, im not saying the details and contents of your work are irrelevant. but let’s not kid ourselves– most knoweldge work is looking at a screen and moving your hands and eyes in different ways.

if you aren’t in meetings, everything you do can be reproduced as a series of clicks and drags and keystrokes. what are those up to?

this is why it’s so funny to hear CEOs talk about their work, because you might ask something like:

what does bill gates do during the day? what is his schedule filled with?

and it’s sitting in meetings! it’s talking to people all day! most people i know who switch to more managerial or executive roles in companies always say the same thing. it’s meetings (talky talky) and email (typey typey).

focusing on the actual physical interactions you perform throughout the day to get your job done is humbling and makes it easier to relate your work to other people. it’s direct, clear, and concise.

you also might say it’s the “low-level” way of describing your work and is a bit reductionist, but that doesn’t matter. it’s helpful context that makes your giga brain shit a bit more approachable.

now it’s time to get back to more typey typey