Adam Haworth:

But nowadays, these “workflows” (specifically referring to geeky setups, sometimes including automated snippets of code that allow complicated tasks to be done with the click of a button) are everywhere I look. Everyone on my admittedly geek-filled Twitter timeline seems to have at least one thing in their set-up that would make Federico Viticci proud. Meanwhile, I’m staring at my screen, wondering what I’m missing.

I don’t get it.

I don’t know if Adam understands what most scripts are meant for. From what he has written, his understanding points to a script as a means to automate a group of tasks and to make work more simple.

But I don’t think scripts are meant to improve simplicity. They are meant to improve productivity.

As a bookkeeper by day, I generate customized invoices and purchase orders on a daily basis. I have to create the invoice in our accounting program, generate a PDF, add the customized invoice background to the PDF, change/add text on the PDF and print the PDF. It takes me as much as five minutes to complete this process.[1] And what if the invoice needs to be fixed or updated? What a nightmare. I would love a script that completed all of those tasks in a pre-defined order as soon as I hit a specific button.

I don’t want a script for simplicity. I want a script to save time. The more time I save completing time-consuming tasks, the more time I have at the end of the day with my family. It’s that simple.

Automation is taking away jobs by the day. Why hire someone to complete these cumbersome processes when a script/robot/machine can do the same job quicker? If this is the friction Adam is referring to, I wholeheartedly agree with him. But I don’t think the correlation between robotic automation and unemployment is what he is discussing.

Automation is used to eliminate simple, time-consuming tasks to make more time for more pressing issues. I think this is efficiency at its finest.

  1. Granted, there may be a better way of performing this process, but I have yet to figure out something that would fit. If you have any ideas, please let me know.  ↩