Automate the Repetitive Stuff

Blue Arsed Flies

Speed can sometimes get a bad reputation. A large amount of unforced errors come from us as people trying to execute things like blue arsed flys. In any project there is a large amount of patience and attention to detail that is needed in order to avoid costly redo's. Nevertheless, speed is highly valuable when it is used in the spirit in which it was intended.

The Value of Speed

Speed simply means being more efficient with my time.  The reason Usain Bolt has won so many titles is simply because he can run 100 and 200 sprints faster than any other man on the planet. The key elements here are that his speed serves a purpose and that his speed is built on practice.

Automate the Repetitive Stuff

One of the initial things I noticed when I began to learn to code was just how fast the professionals do things. From navigating in terminal windows to typing and auto completing, everything seemed to be lightning fast to me. It would be easy for me as a beginner to think that these guys are just naturals and I will never be on their level, but thankfully I have the reference of language learning to let me know that this is the equivalent to how Spanish used to sound to me.

After a couple of months, with the help of my coding mentor, I began to see that there were certain areas that I could get quicker at. The key benefit of this speed is that it frees my thinking to focus on more higher level thinking.

Action Steps

The areas I chose to focus on were typing and terminal navigation. Before I began to code I never learned to type properly. This meant that I was only ever using a couple of my fingers to type and this greatly slowed down my long term efficiency. The past few weeks I have seen myself improve on this. I have spent 30 to 60 minutes each day on websites like Ratatype. I have found that listening to music allows me to do this with a lot more ease.

Another thing I initially had great difficulty with was navigating in the terminal window. The terminal window is basically a text based way of navigating the operating system with a lot more functionality and power than any GUI (Graphical User Interface). Initially I was in the habit of dragging and dropping files into the terminal window but I consciously took the decision to stop doing this. The problem was that I began to rely on the Finder window to help me visualise where I was in the Terminal window and when I didn't do this I spent a lot of time and energy trying to visualise where I was in the Terminal window. Initially this transition was difficult but now I am a lot more comfortable with navigating in the Terminal window.

Have you automated anything repetitive? What are your thoughts on the importance of speed? If you have any insights, questions or recommendations feel free to leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.