Today, I felt “normally” productive. What I mean by “normally” is that my time had a very specific, measurable output, as compared to the very abstract output of my previous Apprenticeship days. And you know what? It’s not a different feeling at all.
The most basic definition of productivity is:
The ratio between input and output.
Would you look at that. Inputs and outputs are something we’re very familiar with as developers. Every function has an input, and should have an output as well. Now, the ratio part is the one that’s not really in our field of expertise. Here’s a very short list of examples on what it could mean:
- Mutation ➡ The input is transformed into the output. This alters it, changing it forever. If the mutated output has a “lower value” than the original input, then it’s a bad ratio and vice versa.
- Addition/Multiplication etc. ➡ The input gets added or multiplied with another and merged into one output. Same rules for deciding wether it’s a good or bad ratio.
There’s not really that much else. We either change what we get, or we put it together with other things, hopefully making a bigger thing. (If you have more examples that go in the same fashion, tell me please 😅)
Today, I wrote code with Uğurcan and it did something. Our minds took input (a task) and transformed it into something else (code) that will go towards building a product. It was productive.
Yesterday, I studied a lot of Haskell and discussed some plans with Tobias. My knowledge on Haskell got bigger by adding what I studied. Also, my understanding of some concepts mutated. And my plans took on new forms. It was also productive.
Someone once asked me if I didn’t miss “being productive”. At the moment, I answered with how the apprenticeship brings value to the company outside of lines of code. But I think today’s reflection is an even stronger argument. The apprenticeship is always productive. I am productively shaping what my knowledge and skills will look like in the future, like a sentient piece of clay, sculpting itself. That means the answer to that question should always be a Big Tall Glass of Nope.
So, let’s be productive. Let’s learn. Let’s teach. Let’s take a day off and recharge. Let’s just not get framed in the mindset of productivity as lines of code. Or commits. Or anything like that. Just nope.