It’s Friday here at The Metrowest Homeopathic Imaging and File Rehabilitation Center, the day when I usually spend part of my time on 20% projects.  But I’ve basically been working on the results of my last such project full time, so perhaps it’s time to take a moment and look at the world rushing by and catch up on a few things before getting too far behind.
I moved offices for about the tenth time since I started working last week. That’s not a bad thing; we’ve been growing consistently over the last 9 1/2 years, and the company likes to keep work groups physically co-located without stuffing people into cubicles. While packing my office, I decided to purge my files, getting rid of a lot of old, old papers. (The process was actually a lot like Merlin Mann’s War on Clutter.)
It was during this time that I realized how much information I have tied up in paper notes. The same goes for e-mails. (Over those 9 1/2 years I’ve managed to keep more than
13,000 7,000 messages.) That information isn’t doing anyone other than me any good at all . . . coworkers, amateur color enthusiasts, no one! So expect to see some random color-related stuff coming your way.
 – A 20% project is a self-directed project that’s “off the books.” There are two main reasons for doing projects like this. It gives people freedom to explore and dive into topics that are risky or somewhat out-of-model. These projects also add slack to a system, preventing workers from being overutilized. Studies show that beyond a certain point the more you use any resource — whether it’s an engineer, a highway, a drillbit, whatever — you get lower productivity.