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Area Under the Curve

Andrew Stiles
Andrew Stiles
. 1 min read

Thinking about work is a lot easier than doing work.

I enjoy researching functional programming languages more than I do fighting compiler errors.

I enjoy watching Jeff Cavaliere's excellent YouTube videos more than I do burpees.

But I force myself to battle the compiler and do burpees because these things get me closer to my goals. Do the work.

Preparing for work feels productive but is not. As a check, I try to put myself in the shoes of someone else. Does my doctor care that I watched YouTube videos? No. She cares about my BMI and VO2 max. Does a user of my code care that I wrote it in the most beautiful functional language? No. They care that it's usable on their phone.

While the ideal of planning and having a productivity breakthrough is unattainable, consistency gets close. I find I have minor productivity breakthroughs while I'm doing the work. I watch a YouTube video and the burpees I'm already doing get a little better. I write a helper function and the code I'm already writing gets a little better.

Here's what I mean:

I made the mistake of thinking too much about work in my early 20s. I'm now making up for lost time. This website is an example. It's not perfect and I went for an off-the-shelf solution. But my goal is to write, not to build the perfect website. You'll see more of the former here soon.