I find beauty in a fully automated work day. The more of my job that I can set up to be automated, the better. There was an article I read a while ago about a sysadmin who set up scripts to run for every aspect of his day. He even had one he could run so by the time he got to the coffee machine, there was a fresh brewed espresso waiting for him. I saw that and thought, I can do that. I can’t, but I’d like to be able to.
Sometimes, it seems like a lot of work to set something up to be automated. You need to figure out a system, tame it, and then train it to do your bidding. It is a lot of work, but the majority of the time it pays off.
Often it pays off in having a repeatable task simplified by the automation. For me, I set up automated emails to go out periodically based on information in our company database. I knew they were emails people wanted, but it was a hassle for me to pull the list every week. Even in saving the script, it was still better to have that script run automatically and then email people automatically. It interrupts my day less.
The pay off that always happens is that I learn something new. I learn a system and those skills can be applied later. In the example above, I needed to learn to query the database based on time sensitive parameters and I needed to learn how to schedule emails to go out based on a report. I love learning new things about the tools I have.
Today, I talked with a consultant about better processes to keep people informed. He suggested a weekly email about dev projects. While some people might see that as a tedious weekly task, I saw it as a challenge to take my existing processes and enhance them to generate the email for me. I spent some time this afternoon working in a spreadsheet where I track our development work, learning new ways to reference data and find subsets automatically based on static parameters. I’m not nearly close enough to my end game, but I’ve already move forward so much and all I’ve learned can be applied to different tasks.
Maybe I’m just a dork. Maybe I’m lazy. Whatever it is, I’m going to keep doing it to keep making my life easier and in doing so make it look like I can handle so more work than everyone else.