I hated showing my work for math problems as a child.
It felt tedious, and pointless. If I could get the correct answer in my head, why waste time explaining how I got there?
As an adult, I feel a similar resistance around explaining my thought processes, or taking the time to document my work processes. What’s changed is that I no longer see “showing my work” as a pointless task. It just feels hard because I’ve rarely been in situations where it was absolutely necessary.
As an independent crypto investor there was never a need to carefully explain the exact procedures I used to make my decisions. I was simply highly curious, very patient, and chose to spend my spare time obsessively absorbing information about the industry.
Now I’m entering new territory. Pursuing an M.S. in Systems Science that involves a fairly intense group project. Working on a systems analysis of Bitcoin that is slowly morphing from an independent side project into a more substantial collaborative effort.
It’s become obvious that I must develop a new, healthier relationship with tracking and sharing how I think and work.
I need to embrace and develop a love for the art of documentation.
“Documentation is any communicable material that is used to describe, explain or instruct regarding some attributes of an object, system or procedure, such as its parts, assembly, installation, maintenance and use.” — The Linux Information Project
What steps did I take to conduct analysis for my black box assignment?
What specific prompts did I use to elicit helpful responses from ChatGPT?
What exactly does the code I’m sharing with you do?
How do I take notes? Why do I do it this way?
What led me to the conclusion that this diagram was the most essential part of this textbook chapter?
Having precise answers to these sorts of questions will be incredibly valuable for myself, and for those I’m collaborating with.
I’ll be working hard to improve my documentation and organization skills over the next several months. It feels clear that my capacity to effectively grapple with complex systems depends on it.