Automation for Automation's Sake

I have a confession to make: I fucking love automation.

If I'm being perfectly honest, I would have never even become a software developer if it weren't for my love for automating the minutiae out of my life. In fact, I think this is pretty true or most developers, who are often known to spend hours automating a task that only takes seconds to complete.

But, as I've grown older, the concept of automation for automation's sake has started to wear on me. Maybe I'm just experiencing some malaise as I approach middle age, but I find it hard to see the point in unnecessary automation anymore. Instead of finding the joy in the act of creating the automation, all I can seem to find is the cost of future maintenance.

What once had a low bar for action, my "let's automate it" instinct seems to have grown a bit more shrewd over time.

All technology breaks down eventually, and while something might make my life easier in the short-term, if it's not well-thought out and deliberate, it will eventually make my life more difficult. So, as a response, I've lately started to embrace the concept of "just enough automation" in my personal life: no more or less than is necessary to keep my life distraction free and focused on the things that fill my cup.

For example, do I need my front door to automatically unlock itself when I walk up to it? Hell no. This might work now, but sensors break, the internet goes out, phones get upgraded, and all sorts of other things will need to be managed and maintained over time.

But, is there value in automatically managing my finances so my bills are paid and my savings and investments are growing? You're darn tootin', there is. The return on investment (no pun intended) for this type of automation is much clearer.

Even my most recent post on automating a #100DaysToOffload counter seems to fit this balance. It's a relatively small automation that ultimately removes some consistent overhead, which keeps me focused on what really matters to me: the writing.

Pulling from my recent reading, this feels similar to the Qi Gong concept of Fang Song Gong, or applied relaxation, which means using the least amount of muscular contraction possible to perform a movement. It's not about being so relaxed or stiff that you can't move, but rather finding perfect balance between too much relaxation and too little.

No more, no less.


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This is post 004 of #100DaysToOffload