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Ben Patton
Ben Patton

Posted on • Originally published at Medium on

Doing Less: An Art

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

This one got a little long for me. If you want to skip to where I talk more on what ‘doing less’ looks like more practically, jump down to ‘Bringing This Full Circle”.

Yesterday I mentioned a way in which junior developers and startups can slow down.

Today, I want to take a brief step back and work on perspective for slowing down because ‘slowing down’ sounds really good in theory but it is one of the hardest disciplines to cultivate and maintain because we drift into ‘do more in less time so we can make more….”

Why Doing Less Is Hard

Doing less means focus. I would argue that we are not really good at focus as a culture. We are amazed/appalled when we find someone who is amazing a given talent/skill. But the thing that made them good was focus. Really diving deep.

Ex: For developers who want to be good at React, how many React courses/books/resources have you started and not finished? I am guilty of this too.

But what is the underlying motive for not finishing? My opinion from what I know of myself is that I want to read ‘the thing’ that gives me the magic answer and therefore I would become a React master in a day. But we know, even if there are those who can pick up on things quicker, we know that to be good at something you have to spend an incredible amount of time working on/at it. Dare I say, Practice…practice..practice (pretend like it is echoing).

Some fields call this opportunity cost. Our culture calls it FOMO. We think the grass is always greener. I feel like we all tend to try to operate like a pigeons vision when it comes to making decisions. We want to have our hand in everything because ‘What if I miss out on the thing that can really make me….”

But we are not consumers of ourselves. What do I mean? Our society (American society for the past 50–100yrs at least) has taught us that we ‘need’ more, more, more. But now, because things are so immediate (we get angry and rage when our amazon package is not shipped in 2 days) we have so much freedom to make choices and decisions based off of wants.

But we often treat ourselves as consumers. In tech, you cannot master anything in a day. Meaning, you cannot consume the all available knowledge on a given technology/language and know it by the end of the day. Even if you or I could we would not be satisfied because we learned it all in a day and did not get to use it.

There Will Always Be More To Do

Bringing This Full Circle

I could and want to talk on this for a long time. But blogs are tricky like that.

Junior Developers believe that they have to ‘do it all’ to land a job. But if you do it all, and I know this from personal experience, once you get on the job they will ask you to do something that you probably don’t know.

So, are you a full-stack developer applying for a junior developer position? Great! Don’t think you have to know all there is to know. Choose a stack. Build projects. If there is a company you want to work at, figure out what they use, build projects using that stack.

BUT, if you choose a stack, get good at it, and build awesome projects, that is 90% of the battle. Then you can demo that to an employer.

If you are changing careers into tech and are focusing on Full-stack development, choose tools like to help remove all of the crazy abstractions/details/etc of services so you can begin building. Choosing tools helps you focus more on what you are actually trying to accomplish.

If we did not have hammers, you would focus on figuring out the best ‘hammer-like’ tool to use. But we have hammers. So choose the right tool for the job.

If you are trying to learn DevOps, probably don’t choose because it removes the DevOps portion of app building/scaling so individuals/freelancers and startups can focus on delivering.

There are a plethora of tools out there. The best tools help you slow down because they solve a problem. There will always be opportunity costs (pros and cons) but choosing what serves you the best in a given situation is never a bad thing.

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