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What factorio taught me about work

samborick profile image Sam Borick Originally published at borick.net on ・2 min read

Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Factorio. It’s a fantastic game, which I highly recommend if you have time you want to kill.

After a few hours of playing this morning, I was thinking about my attitude towards factorio versus my attitude about work, and I had some insights I’d like to share.This is going to be a bit of a ramble, so I’ll sum up at the end.

In factorio your job is build a factory. You have to collect resources, organize logistics, research new parts, and defend yourself against the attacking giant bugs.

In general, you want to spend as much of your time as you can on researching and building new parts. Like upgrading your power system from steam to nuclear.

But frequently other ‘mundane’ things will come up.

In programming, we draw this distinction between refactoring and adding new features. When talking about business we might talk about working ‘in the business’ rather than ‘on the business’. The implication is usually that we refractor in order to add more features faster later.

In factorio, maybe the bugs are attacking again, or you’re out of iron, or you need to make your steam power a bit bigger to last you until you’re done with the nuclear reactor.

When those things happen, sometimes I feel like it’s a failure of planning on my part. I should have known from the start that this would happen and do X. But that’s not a reasonable expectation for myself. I can’t see the future.

I found if I try and keep working on the big picture stuff while ‘mundane’ things build up, eventually the whole thing will collapse.

So I have to do some side quests. I have to take a step back and refractor.

As a result I’m not working on the most important item, but I am working on the most urgent.

And the nice thing, is eventually all of those little mundane tasks die down, and you can step back and work on the big projects.

And all that experience on your side quests will help you be better prepared for your big projects

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Simon Holdorf

I wonder when aliens are coming to attack my project during work hours :)

Kidding, interesting thoughts, and I like Factorio too!