What to waste time
Saving time is an odd tendency. It’s great to conserve time finishing a task and allocate the time elsewhere, but if you’re so concerned with keeping those tiny few minutes, it must mean that you are absolutely strapped for time. In other words, you are already using every minute of the day to its fullest possibility. But that’s not right. We spend time eating, showering, in commute, shooting birds in the backyard. That time could supposedly be spent on working, since at one point, you were so low on time that you had to intentionally think to conserve it. But because you still spend time on daily nonsense, you could not actually be wasting time! You might think leisure likewise contributes to overall happiness and therefore is a legitimate ”time expense” equal to homework and project work. But come on, we do some pretty stupid, wasteful things with time. How can an hour of talking on the phone equate with an hour immersed in code? Or what about an hour of role-playing with plastic swords? It’s illogical to regret getting distracted from homework, only to screw around later. Then, it’s wrong to ever accuse somebody of wasting time, aside from the unlikely possibility that they are sincerely dedicated to a lifetime of work. After all, wasted time is time well wasted.
Things wrong with this argument: nonsense is fun, and therefore worthwhile. Also, different segments of time offer varying levels of opportunity, which is what distinguishes anxious boredom from complacent boredom. Now consider this: more often than I’m willing to admit, I’ll start on programming projects that never work. I don’t put it in production, I don’t publish the code. Really, I don’t learn all too much from them either. Then at the end, it just sits around on my computer: intelligently configured magnetic regions that required a ridiculous time commitment. The benefits of such a failure are hard to realize, but if IB has taught anything, it’s how to invent insight where there is none. Let’s see, I can now go “tried that; didn’t work” to many programming ideas people present to me. I get a kick-ass weekend out of the projects, because honestly, programming is exhilarating. It’s like video games. It provides a false measurement of accomplishment, something you will nonetheless defend as an honestly worthwhile activity. You know, if you go and become a social media expert or a SEO expert, you can make a disproportionate amount of money with little to no training. It’s like literature criticism: it takes years for people to realize you’re not misunderstood—you’re just an idiot. But those kinds of lowinputhighoutput jobs just don’t give the same satisfaction as working three months on 11000 line project that later looks pretty underdeveloped and outdated.
”Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight” -Bill