Ways we New Devs Waste our Time

So I'm going to talk about ways we waste our effort learning as new developers.

The first is yakshaving.

To be a classic yakshaver, you must:

  1. staple disposable diapers to the walls,
  2. stuff dad's rubber boots with coleslaw,
  3. leave a heaping bowl of hot lather by the sink

//the shaven yak will come in his enchanted canoe one night, and...

  • Finally: You get a sink full of shaving scum for your efforts.

Yakshaving means wasting time with unnecessary preparations. So any time we feel the urge to learn functional programming before we write our hello world, or spend all our time memorizing the byzantine details of git before we start looking at code, we are engaging in yakshaving.

"Be Prepared" is the Boy Scout motto.

But it's a lie!
You're never prepared!
And a little secret: No one ever is!!!
That's what it means to build something new.

The second is bikeshedding.

Bikeshedding was coined when a committee that was approving a new nuclear power plant spent the majority of their sessions arguing about what material the employee bike shed should be made out of. And what color it should be painted.

Bikeshedding means wasting time over trivial details. Any time people argue about vim or emacs, front end or back end, mac or windows, rails or node, we're engaging in bikeshedding. They'll all basically work, but if you take all your time debating which to use, you'll never actually build anything. Bikeshedding often emerges in a collective, but a person can do it all by their self, too.

Yakshaving and Bikeshedding are both children of a parent class:
Mental Masturbation.

Mental masturbation() {  
    Any activity that feels great in the moment; 
    but is ultimately unproductive;
}

These kind of shenanigans can slow production or halt it altogether if they're left to run their course. So how can we stop instances of mental masturbation and optimize our productivity?

Realize the cause:

  • Fear.
  • Lack of confidence.
  • Impostor Syndrome.
  • Disorientation.
  • Cthuhlu.

But it's okay.
It's okay to be scared.
And it's okay to be lost.

Just take a breath, observe the details, and remember the objective:
Build something useful.

Do whatever the details require,
but build something useful.
It won't be perfect.
But it will be something.

And remember: There's more than one right answer.
But you only need one to get started.