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How Work Gets Done

Edited: March 11, 2021 (v0.0.10)

This is a note about how work gets done in the workplace, but first I’m going to talk about physics.

The work, W, done by a constant force of magnitude, F, on a point that moves a displacement, s, in a straight line in the direction of the force is the product. That is,

W = F s

The constraints are bound by the laws of physics. The algebra of work is rigid: you can play with the inputs to change the outputs, and you can’t keep and output the same if you toggle the inputs.

It shouldn’t be too far fetched to apply the equation for work at work. When making that substitution, we can more easily see the truth in the following:

You can’t increase the amount of work getting done without changing the amount of workers or the timeline.

Not all work is successful. When thinking about success, consider some of the thoughts that Barabási shared in [1].

S = Q r

Success, S, is the product of r, the potential value of a given idea, and Q, a person’s ability to execute on that idea–i.e., their “Q-factor,” or combination of innate talent and skill, which makes them effective or not in their chosen field.


  1. [1]A.-L. Barabasi, “What can we learn from people who succeed later in life?,” ideas.ted.com. Dec-2018 [Online]. Available at: https://ideas.ted.com/what-can-we-learn-from-people-who-succeed-later-in-life/. [Accessed: 08-Mar-2021]