In some settings, more than 90% of the time and effort invested isn’t in the actual ‘work’, but in getting setting up, debugging and then polishing the work. Heart surgery, for example, might take five hours to perform, but the actual procedure might only take thirty minutes.
A piece of code might take a few hours to create, but days or weeks to be specced, reviewed, tested and then ready for the public.
Dinner at a fine restaurant is mostly cleaning, chopping, mise en place and service, not the part we see on the plate itself.
We often get confused about which part is important, which is worth our time, which is the point of the exercise. Without a doubt, if the thing we built isn’t of high quality, don’t bother. But it turns out that all the other parts, the parts that we think might be beneath us, it’s those that matter the most.
When in doubt, spend half as much time as you expect on the thing that most people do, and far more time on the spec, on the quality control, on the soft stuff, the stuff that actually matters.
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