Conditions of rapid processing often drive polymers to adopt nonequilibrium molecular conformations, which, in turn, can give rise to structural, dynamical, and mechanical properties that are significantly different from those in thermodynamic equilibrium. However, despite the possibility to control the desired nonequilibrium properties of polymers, a rigorous microscopic understanding of the processing-property relations is currently lacking. In an attempt to stimulate progress along this topical direction, we focus here on three prototypical and apparently different cases: spin-coated polymer films, rapidly drawn polymer fibers, and sheared polymer melts. Inspired by the presence of common observations in the chosen cases, we search for order parameters as, for example, topological correlations and heterogeneities, which may allow characterizing the processing-induced behavior of polymers. We highlight that such approaches, necessitating concerted efforts from theory, simulations, and experiments, can provide a profound understanding leading to predictable and tunable properties of polymers.