Automation and checklists

Hackers know how to program, and so can fairly easily automate anything that happens on a computer. This can be a great time saver. It can also be a great time waste. If something takes a lot of time and effort to automate, but doesn’t actually take much time to do by hand, then it’s probably not worth it. However, in many cases spending an evening to write some scripts to automate something is worthwhile not just to save time, but to not ever have to do it again. For example, instead of filling out timesheets by hand at work, writing a script that does them automatically based on the work laptop’s suspend/resume logs, plus git commit timestamps, may not actually save much effort, but not having to deal with the bureaucracy can save you from a fate worse than ennui.

Some things are possible to automate even without being able to program. For example, paying bills via direct debit, or putting money into a savings account by a standing order, can both make dealing with money much easier.

For things that can’t be automated (or which aren’t worth the development effort for the AI), but you do repeatedly, it can be worth writing a checklist. Especially things you do less than once a week, or which you absolutely have to get right every time, a checklist can help a lot. The mere process of writing the checklist forces you to consider and review the process. When you’re actually doing the task, especially if it is urgent or stressful, it can be nice to not have to think about each step every time you do the task.