Establishing a working infrastructure/meetings/etc vs Entropy

Engineering: «Instruct the children not to dream of toys or sweets. Instruct them to dream of infrastructure.»
Vadim Kozlov, Axioms from the Minutes of the Central Directorate in «Civilization: Beyond Earth»

It’s interesting to see that many attempts to improve organization fail, or rather, they fall apart over time. Whether it’s a Wiki to collect the knowledge of the employees, regular work meetings, and much more — somehow there is some kind of wasting disease that kills these attempts over time.

This even applies to personal infrastructure — perhaps you have tried out a system and then, over time, it gets used less and less and wastes away until it cannot be used anymore.

Looking at different attempts — the unsuccessful and the successful — I think it’s a large part due to entropy (if I understand the term correctly). Each system, each infrastructure has a base cost of energy you need to maintain it. You have to constantly invest energy to add information in a way that order is preserved, and restore order when the new information requires you to restructure existing information (cf. accommodation).

This constant energy cost should be as low as possible — meaning adding information and restructuring the system should be as easy, fast, effortless, etc. as possible. Because you do not create a system and are done with it, it will be a constant drain of energy.

And of course, if it’s a good system, you will take out more than you put in (take this, physics! 😉 ). It will provide you with information and allow you to do things you could never do when relying solely on your mind (which, as David Allen put it nicely, is for having ideas, not for holding them).

The same holds true for, e.g., meetings and the like. If they are effortful to do, they will break apart quickly. Mostly, because the energy you have available will vary and whenever the energy is too low but you have a meeting, it will break down.

So it pays to look at infrastructure and try to find solutions that require as little energy as possible (e.g., by automating things, or using simple solutions). And be mindful that whenever you establish a system, you *will* need to invest part of your energy in it to keep it alive.

Otherwise it will descend into chaos and die a cold death.