When I first saw this comic, I don’t think there was anything that related to me more as a programmer. My reality is almost exactly like the reality portion of the XKCD. I start writing code; it doesn’t work. I debug; I realize could do this in a better way AND fix this bug if I rewrote this. Put all that in a
while (true) loop and you’ve got me.
So don’t Automate?
Well, the conclusion I’ve come to is that I don’t automate to save time. The task I’m trying to automate is probably repetitive and boring (which is why I’m Automating it).
So instead of doing that task, I’d rather automate it. Instead of repeatedly doing a boring task I get an excuse to challenge myself with something and learn a new skill. I get to problem-solve, design, and bring to life something instead of repeatedly doing something that’s eating away at my time.
While I may not be saving time, my time is being used much more efficiently. The seconds I spend doing that task that I’m automating only have value in that they complete the task, but the seconds that I spend automating have a lot more value than the seconds I would spend doing a boring, repetitive task. For one, I actually enjoy (most) the time I spend automating a task!