Automate, Numb Bot.

The Pragmatic Programmer advises automating repetitive tasks—not just computer tasks but, y'know, everything.

Neal Ford made the point at No Fluff Just Stuff that you're not just automating to save time (because sometimes creating the automation takes more time than the repetitive task); no, instead he said: Repeating a task makes you dumber; automating a task makes you smarter. You will invariably learn something while figuring out the automation script. Even if not, you are using your brain, instead of dropping into numb bot mode.

I've noticed that if I am automating to save time, I will repeat a task until I notice that it's a recurring task and worked out the pattern for its repetition; then I will automate it. The more growthful pattern is to automate all kinds of tasks, and when I need to perform one of them again, adjust and generalize my automation to fit.

To support my point, a helpful example from XKCD: (I suppose it's safe for work, given that they're stick figures, but it does make mention of acts between consenting adults, so there you are. Also, I wouldn't have left, but that's why I married a geek.)


Unknown said...

XKCD rocks so hard. It makes me happy. As does automation. In fact, I had to make a script to make this post to tell you how awesome XKCD is.

Sharon said...

That would definitely be a reusable script, no?

My favorite XKCDs are the romantic ones. His take on geek love is similar to my own.