This post is in response to a Hacker News thread about being slow to produce work.
The kind of person the author seems to envy in the post are people who are most likely pattern-matching against past experience. I attribute this quick thinking to having come across those same/similar problem statements earlier. But getting there requires a good understanding of the problem space. This can only be done by spending time in the problem space and paying attention to details.
When working on a new problem these days. I feel like I slow down too. I now tend to go for the details. What I cannot make up in speed, I make up for with detailed solutions, thinking from the user’s perspective, staying aware of trade-offs, watching out for unhandled scenarios, etc.
I also document all my work. Whenever I start working on a problem/ticket/issue, I create a new note in my personal note-taking tool. I document the commands, the new findings, etc.
Fun fact: For a limited time, I fulfilled the role of a Product Manager at my recent workplace. The engineers I worked with loved the amount of detailing in my product specifications. This was the result of slowing down and paying attention to the details. The above qualities/choices also resulted in me playing the implicit role of QA for the team. The concept of “implicit roles” is explained pretty well in this blog post on the StaySassy blog.
I try to compensate my slowness with attention to detail, clear communication and better documentation.
Attention to detail is as good a quality as quick thinking. I like this way better.