Mule time

I think this is the post I meant to write yesterday (Plan time is over). That note about "raw doing": that's Mule Time.

Mood music: Tom Waits, "Get Behind the Mule", Mule Variations (1999).

There are two important aspects of Mule Time: (1) Head down, straight ahead to the end of the row, turn around, repeat; (2) stubbornness, bordering on insubordination.

Mule Time happens when there ain't nothin' left to plan. The plan happened. The doing-to-plan happened. But there's still some work left to do, maybe to a plan, maybe not. It doesn't matter. What matters is knowing when it's time to be a mule or when it's time to be a human and find a better way to get the job done. How do you know? You don't. It's a matter of taste or temperament.

I've written enough about automation, and I've done extensive planning for complicated projects. It's real. I believe in it. I use it. But when you've got a long, boring, grinding problem, you gotta get behind the mule.

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