You might have noticed that I haven’t published a post for the last couple of weeks. And, you probably suspected that this was due to holiday travel / etc. . While this is partially true, there was also another factor:
Words are hard.
Communication requires a lot of effort, and it can become exhausting! For instance, here’s a rough person-hour breakout for a relatively straightforward issue that occurred this morning:
Here’s how I came up w/ these estimates:
As you can see, 2/3 of the total effort was related to communication! Keep in mind that this was a very cut-and-dry issue that could be communicated very quickly. Hence, there was no need for formal documentation, multiple rounds of discussion, etc. .
Your first reaction to this might be “Holy cow! That’s so inefficient! Why would it possibly take so long?” But, the fact is, communication is just hard. Think about the last time you had to write a paper for a class. Even if you knew exactly what you wanted to say in the paper, it probably still took you 4+ hours to actually write it. Expressing abstract concepts in a manner that can be understood by humans is just plain challenging.
And, the same applies to writing blog posts as well. I’ve known exactly what I wanted to say in this post for more than a week already. The aforementioned production issue serendipitously provided me with a very concrete example of how difficult communication can be. But, despite that, it still took me a solid 3 hours to write this post.
So yeah: words are hard, and sometimes we just need to take a break.