Automate to save mental energy, not time


自动化就像是为电池充电。为电池充电本身并没有使得能量增加(可能还减少), 但是使用电池可以让我们可以在任何地方任何时间都取出能量。

Automation can be like a battery as well as an investment. Putting energy into batteries is a bad investment; you’ll never get out as much energy as you put in. But that’s not why you put energy into batteries. You put energy in while you can so you can use some of that energy later when you need it.

类比到自动化来。编写自动化脚本并没有使得时间减少,但是却方便我们在很多情况下面使用,尤其是critical monment. 自动化的目的不是为了减少时间,而是节省mental energy. 学习第三方软件也是一样的道理.

Suppose it takes you an hour to write a script that only saves you two minutes later. If that two minutes would have derailed your concentration at a critical moment, but it didn’t because you had the script, writing the script may have paid for itself, even though you invested 60 minutes to save 2 minutes.

If your goal is to save mental energy, not time, you have a different strategy for automation. If a script executes faster than a manual process, but it takes a long time to remember where to find the script and how to run it, it may be a net loss. The less often you run a script, the chattier the interface should be.

The same considerations apply to learning third party software. I suspect the time I’ve put into learning some features of Emacs, for example, will not pay for itself in terms of time invested versus time saved. But I’ve invested leisure time to save time when I’m working hard, not to save keystrokes but to save mental energy for the project at hand.