Automate

โ“ Are you prone to spending 6 hours automating something that takes you 10 minutes to do by hand?

I am, and I don't think that's a bad thing. Hear me out...

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๐Ÿค” Conventional wisdom seems to agree we should only automate a task if it will pay out in the long run by reducing the aggregated time we spend on it over a period of time.

Mandatory @xkcd comic: https://xkcd.com/1205/

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This is a very pragmatic view, and it makes sense. If automating a (boring) task will save time in the long run, of course I'm all for it!

๐Ÿ‘‰ But even if it doesn't, I argue there are still 3 powerful reasons to automate it.

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These reasons are:

1๏ธโƒฃ Productivity, 2๏ธโƒฃ Synergies, and 3๏ธโƒฃ Learning.

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1๏ธโƒฃ Productivity

๐Ÿ‘‰ Nothing kills productivity like context switching.

A simple, boring task that only takes 10 minutes can completely break your flow and cost you much more than those 10 measurable minutes.

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Focused work compounds, so that the third hour might an be order of magnitude more valuable than the first two.

๐Ÿคฉ By automating boring tasks we reduce the chance of losing our flow when we are in a highly productive streak.

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2๏ธโƒฃ Synergies

๐Ÿ‘‰ Automated stuff connect to each other

Once you make the first step towards automating a task, you'll discover a universe of opportunities to connect it to.

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Automation creates synergies in two dimensions:

โ†”๏ธ Horizontally, as more people benefit from the same automation.

โ†•๏ธ Vertically, as more tasks become automatable by relying on others.

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โ†”๏ธ There is a non-neglible chance that your boring task is also boring for a lot of people.

๐Ÿ’ก A fair share of products are born as solutions to their makers' problems. Those bored people are your first potential clients!

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โ†•๏ธ A manual task scales close to linearly with respect to effort.

๐Ÿ’ก An automated task scales closer to exponentially, as your main resource is computing power, and computing power is cheaper than human power!

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3๏ธโƒฃ Learning

๐Ÿ‘‰ The best learning environments are those where is safe to fail

Everyone knows that you learn more by doing stuff than just reading stuff, but doing stuff can be risky.

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๐Ÿคฉ By automating boring tasks you get both a chance to try new things, new tools, new paradigms; and, a safety cushion if/when those things don't work.

You can always keep doing it manually if you failed to automate it, but at least you learned something ๐Ÿ˜…!

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There are times, though, when a boring manual task comes in handy.

๐Ÿค” If you're experiencing burnout, maybe boring and easy tasks that you can cross off will give you that much needed sense of success.

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What do you think?

โ“ Do you see any value in automating stuff even if it will take you much longer than doing it manually?

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๐Ÿ”– You can read this thread online at https://apiad.net/tweetstorms/wisdomwednesday/automate/.

โค๏ธ If you liked this thread, please consider retweeting, following, and liking it, if you think I've earned it ๐Ÿ˜™.

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