Ola is doing a can-do-with-effort sub-task   🔧

Ahoy, skill-builder pirate of Jamstackia!

We looked into one useless-on-it's-own sub-task in my last letter, and I promised you this letter would be about "How do you know what type of sub-task is right to bite off for your dev-brain?"

To can't-do or NOT can't-do, that is the question.

🗣️ 💀

Answer: a can't-do sub-task is bad for your brain

After years of piraty experimentation on the Pirate Princess, my current conclusion is "a can't-do sub-task is bad for your brain" because it's stealing your focus like a pirate steals loot. So a can-do-with-effort sub-task is better for your focus and thus your dev-brain.

I'll soon tell you WHY a can't-do sub-task is stealing your focus like a pirate, but first: WHAT is a can-do-with-effort sub-task?

WHAT is a can-do-with-effort sub-task?

You sometimes start out with a can't-do sub-task. Then after practicing a little, it becomes a can-do-with-effort sub-task. And Then, after practicing a lot more, you have a can-do-96%-reliably sub-task because you have finally nailed your sub-task into your dev-brain.

Imagine a yellow board with three parts:

  1. a can't-do sub-task
  2. a can-do-with-effort sub-task
  3. a can-do-96%-reliably sub-task


You write your sub-task on a blue sticky note and move it from 1. to 2. and then to 3.

WHY a can't-do sub-task is stealing your focus like a pirate?

Like me, you probably also have many sub-tasks on your can-do-with-effort board. You need one less sub-task on your can-do-with-effort board. Because for each sub-task you have on your can-do-with-effort board, the harder it is for your dev-brain to focus on nailing the sub-task you're practicing in the moment. According to Kathy Sierra's badass book Badass, having too many sub-tasks on her can-do-with-effort board is The Number One thing stealing focus and wrecking the skill-buildership of developers.

HOW do you find your can-do-with-effort sub-task?

A. Look back on a dev-task you did last week

B. Bite off a can-do-with-effort sub-task

Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of GO! 😺

Example (Warning: summer workcation tall tales alert! ☀️ 🗣️ 💬 🔈)

Let's look at my slightly off-topic but weirdly handy example from our piraty summer workcation.

A can-do-with-effort sub-task for Lillian (7 🏴‍☠️👸)

Twisting the outboard engine handle:

  • To go faster forward
  • To go slower forward


Write up an idea for a sub-task and email it to Lillian (7 🏴‍☠️👸) and me. That would help us a lot! Then bite off a can-do-with-effort sub-task from a dev-task you did last week.



Stay piraty 🏴‍☠️😺👍 and keep practicing!
Cap'n Ola Vea


P.S The following letter will cover "Decide to automate your sub-task into your dev-brain in one practice session."

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