save time = do more things

We as programmers have different skills and we use lot of patterns, but I think the thing that we mature over time and we have more in common is the resources optimization for time saving. Everyone knows that time is the most important thing! The same way of saying it: time is money. The saying is based on human time. Human time must be used as an additional value for creativity, invention, construction innovation and implementation. We programmers are lucky, we have another measurement time unit, nowadays almost tending to infinity. This is machine time and we have to make the most of it.

Once we used slaves, then horses, mules, engines motor. Today we have evolved, culturally and mentally. The slaves of this era are machines. By machines I mean our PCs, or better yet our servers, the cloud or robots.

I decided to write this article to report useful techniques to make our work more efficient and consequently have more time. My main technique to be used to obtain this result is:

  1. write down the manual steps that we perform to do a task

  2. search for possible alternative solutions

  3. reflect on how we can automate each single step

  4. put everything together

  5. starting from point 1 if our time for the task is not equal to 0

An example

Often to speed up our work we write scripts, these scripts are necessary otherwise we would have to write n command statements. Daily or monthly or after doing something else, we have to do it. So let’s open the terminal and run the scripts. To avoid launching manual the script, which implies remembering, finding the script and launching it, we can proceed in the following way:

  • if it is something that must be done with a fixed date

    • Schedule it using a scheduler

    • With linux, we can make a cron

    • We can use atrigger to execute the scheduling in the event that our script is on a server to which we do not have access to server side

  • If instead there is no fixed scheduling date and we have to execute it as needed

    • We can use a keyboard shortcut.

In linux but also on Windows it is very simple to set a shortcut. In my case using Ubuntu just go under *settings *-> keyboard shortcuts and add our new parameter that will count the path to our script and the desired shortcut. As you can see in the following image, I use it for example to debug my blog and then to deploy:

as beautiful as it may seem and can help us make us more efficient, with two buttons, you’re done, yes can always optimize. Will you say, what else you can do to optimize this? and why? The reason is simple, in order to run it I necessarily need to have my machine available and turned on. So it would be better where you can always use a server or the cloud in order to do everything remotely so that you can have more control and above all not depend on a local machine.

Today there are many tools available for us to run scripts or create small web pages or small applications or showcase sites, the free plan of these services, provides many tools including:

  • Hosting space

  • Database space

  • Functions for microservices

  • Container

  • Virtual machines

  • and whoever has more put them

There are so many that sometimes we tend not to see them, despite being under our noses. The ones I use most are:

The last service unlike the others is not a cloud service but simply an engine of functions that can be scheduled or activated in relation on google service. They are very integrated with our Google account and it will really give great potential to automate:

  • mailing

  • data synchronization

  • document editing

  • calling external API

  • storing data in excel

  • etc etc … it’s bad to say etc etc but really, the list would be too long, it allows you to automate everything which is Google.

The other three are the top three best cloud providers. To begin with I recommend using Firebase because it offers so many services and it is simler and with a faster learning line.


We have to pay more attention to what we all do without thinking on it. If we do something repetitive every day, even if we take very little time to do it, let’s take it into consideration and think about it. After years, repetitive things can become many and we risk saturating all our time by doing only repetitive things. I leave you and greet you with a phrase that has come to me now. It probably doesn’t make sense or maybe it’s already of someone’s but I don’t know. It is better to create a system that solves a problem than to solve the problem itself!

Last modified: 18 June 2020