Quick Calculation to Check the Amount of Time and Effort Needed

If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well — unless doing it well takes so long that it isn’t worth doing any more. Then you just do it ‘good enough’.
“Programming perl” by Wall and Schwartz

I’m a huge fan of TED Talks. Most speakers talk about interesting topics, they are beautifully recorded and this results in stimulating entertainment. I have seen most of the talks available but I have recently made the experience that I have forgotten about many of the talks I have seen.

Now I’m trying to find a way to retain more of what I see, and began by starting to include these talks into my Wiki, in the Literature section. However, there are currently 725 TED Talks and that’s much. I’ll probably try to watch them again and I’m keen of getting the Transcripts of the talks. And I want to have a page for each talk in my wiki before I start to re-watch them, to make notes about them.

So, how much time would it take to make a Wiki Entry of each TED Talk in the following way:


I’m using Ferret and made Templates for a TED Talk, even made it the default template to shorten the process. Nevertheless I need about 90 seconds to

  1. open the specific TED Talk from the TED talks list in a new tab
  2. display the interactive transcript
  3. select all and copy the whole text of the page (including talk description and interactive transcript)
  4. paste the clipboard in a text editor
  5. click on Download, copy the name, save the file
  6. close the tab
  7. paste the name of the file into the text field in Ferret
  8. edit the name by deleting .mp4 and the first name (all pages are AUTHORNAME_YEAR)
  9. press Create Page and press the Link to transfer the default TED Talk Template
  10. paste the file name on the page (behind “File Name:”)
  11. copy the Year/Speaker text from the TED talks list in the page title
  12. copy the link to the page to the wiki page (behind “Website:”)
  13. delete the parts after the transcript in the text file
  14. select the transcript and copy-paste it to the wiki (below the Transcript header)
  15. select and copy-paste the short talk description and
  16. save the page

For the amount of actions necessary, that’s quick. However, doing this for 725 TED Talks would take 65.250 seconds — which equals 18.125 hours.

Would I really want to spend almost a whole day on this?

I think it’s important to know how much effort something will be and in some cases you can make very accurate estimates (discounting fatigue and a hard disc crash after entry 724). You will be motivated to find ways to speed up the process when you know how much time it will take, because, for example, 30 seconds saved would reduce the total amount of time to 12 hours. You could even make the argument to invest 8 hours to write a script that will do it for you overnight. And, in my case, I now know that it will not be something that I can do in my lunch break (I kinda knew that in advance), but I now also know that it will be probably something I can do while watching some TED Talks again. Or I find another way to shorten the process.

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