TCP Shorts: Premature Optimisation, Sort-of

Robot Boy by Gal

Imagine you're working on a big essay. You're still on th first draft, and you know from previous experience that at least 50% of the material you write will eventually get deleted... and the other 50% is going to get revised beyond all recognition.

Yet, somehow, you find yourself spending an hour making tiny spelling and grammar corrections to this early draft, knowing that most of those corrections are going to get deleted later anyway.

This is sort of the idea behind premature optimisation in computer programming. In programming the idea means something more specific, but the concept you can take away for everyday life is: don't fix the details till you're finished with the big picture.

Further reading: Wikipedia on Premature Optimisation

TCP Shorts are an experimental feature where we try to explain an important concept in under 140 words. What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

Uri Bram writes popular non-fiction books with a conceptual approach to mathematical, scientific and analytical thinking. He is the author of Thinking Statistically and Write Harder.


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