Life Debt

In IT there's a concept of "technical debt" which is probably best defined as "all the things we did that were half-baked, dumb, rushed, short-sighted, or became out of date."  Technical Debt is what keeps a lot of companies and software from evolving very well because unless you address it, you keep adding to it.  If you've ever been frustrated by software (and wondered why no one rewrote it), or by an illogical computer system, you've experienced technical debt.

I love this term.  As a Project Manager is great to have two words to sum up the incredibly stupid things we do that seem like a good idea at the time.

I also like it because it extends to life – and it's a good example of extending geeky ideas to the big picture.

We build up Life Debt too.

Are you racking up Life Debt?  And what are you doing to fix it?

Are you making poor decisions or short-sited decisions?  Are you doing things for the wrong reasons or to just "get it over with?"  Are you ignoring the fact that you're going to have to pay off this debt someday?

You may well be.  Certainly I think we all do this, and I've seen some pretty severe cases of Life Debt – bad enough it essentially ruins someones lives forever.

So just like you may look at a program, or a website, or a gizmo and note the bad, short-sited, or now-irrelevant decisions, look at your life.  See what can be upgraded, fixed, or just "rewritten" – and do it.

Don't make your life like the software we complain about.

Steven Savage