Happy New Year’s Resolutions

This has been quite a year, which is why this year’s resolutions are not in October as had been my previous practice. This year for me has been defined by three major things:

  1. Knee replacement – Having had one of my hips replaced twice, I figured I had this knocked out cold and would actually get more work done than normal. The doctor made me think it was to be extremely awful, but it actually never was that bad in terms of pain. It did however require a lot more time exercising, and still does. I generally spend 1.5 hours a day at the gym (including 5 mile round trip) every day the gym is open and I am not doing some other physical task, but the aches and pains just take longer to recover from than normal.
  2. Book project – I am on the verge of completing my part of a large SQL Server 2019 book, revising 2 chapters and tech editing 10 others. It started way before my surgery in May and has been quite a lot of work that has yet to be completed. It is coming to an end in the near future, and I am definitely ready to do the next thing!
  3. Being on program committees – I worked on SQL Saturday Chattanooga, Music City Data, and the PASS Summit; all working with others shaping the data content for these conferences. Some weeks had 3+ hours of meetings, and some extra tasks to do for the upcoming conferences. While it is very hard work, I am really quite proud how these conferences turned out, and the small part I played in that process.

These three ongoing things really highlighted a problem that I have, in that I tend to only work on one thing at a time unless forced. So if I have to work on the book, even if I am caught up at one point in time, I don’t want to write another blog or article.  If deadlines start accumulating, I will certainly start working on that next thing, but then I get stuck on that task, and so forth. On whatever task I have going I get obsessive and start getting up early, staying up late (those do not go together as you get a bit more age on you), and thinking about it all of the time. 

To start this year out, I am going to focus on making one really major life change, that isn’t about diet and exercise. I am going to work on managing my life in a preemptive multitasking manner rather than cooperative multitasking. In cooperative multitasking, the process that has control of the processor must give up control voluntarily. But in preemptive multitasking the algorithm makes sure every task gets a slice of time to work. If you used early versions of Windows you may remember the pain when a task went nuts and held on to the CPU forever, this sort of describes my life. (SQL Server uses cooperative multitasking in its operating system too). Instead of letting one task take over my life, I will try to make sure I have time for everything, and do my best to really use time slices wisely (because I have 3 weeks of vacations already planned, and now that Disney+ is out, I also have plenty of TV to watch as well).

There are plenty of tasks to give time slices to. For this year, we have just started the SQL Saturday Chattanooga process in earnest, and PASS Summit tasks ramp up after the first of the year too. Music City Data work is not far away from kicking off either. I am also scheduled to start working on the 6th edition of my database design book this year (to which I really need to learn more about graph and microservices before I start). What should help this year, is that I won’t be getting my knee replaced again (barring the new one failing, I suppose,) and I am told that my knee should be healed by July!

Recapping last year’s resolutions and making less crazy promises for next

In terms of last year’s resolutions, I did okay. When the year started I did not realize I would be able to get the knee done, and it changed my trajectory completely. 

Keep Learning: SQL Server 2019 has a lot of great new stuff in it, and I really want to get a handle on using containers for SQL Server. The PASS Summit challenged me to learn more about database design (it really was just one session that got me thinking, but it was big.) Not so much that the basics of what makes a great relational database have (or will) change, but patterns of development are changing. This year, my goal is to make sure I really understand the common patterns that people are using, beyond what I actually use myself. Not that I am definitely going to change my mind or recommendations, but I go into the process with an open mind.

Keep Writing:  While I didn’t do enough writing this year, specifically on this blog, I did contribute to SQL Server 2019 Administration Inside Out book, wrote several articles for Red-Gate, and other places. My big desire this year is to write more articles about Red-Gate products, for two reasons, the second of which is that I enjoy writing learning new technology that pertains to my life’s work, and then writing about it. Their tools are ones we use in our company for all of our SQL development, and learning more about how they work can be good for me and my coworkers.

Keep Speaking: I am scheduled to speak at SQL Saturday Nashville in early January, as well as Richmond and Virginia Beach user groups very late in the year. I hope to pick up 3-5 SQL Saturdays and user groups over the upcoming year as well. Speaking for me is like the gym. It makes me better in so many ways, but if I ever actually stop doing it for more than surgery recovery (which kind of forces you to stop going, then forces you to start back), I would have a hard time resuming. Both are scary, time consuming and hard, so the further away you are from success, the harder to go back.

Keep Involved: I have no plans to stop being involved with the three conferences I have already mentioned, along with the Chattanooga User Group. It is a lot of work, but it is rather rewarding too.

Keep Exercising: As I sat writing this, I am getting ready to head out the gym, and as I am editing it, I am just back from another day at the gym, and while I am doing my final edit, I am thinking about what to do for exercise today because the gym is closed for New Year’s day. This is near the bottom of the list because it isn’t SQL related, but really it is at the top of the list. I have weight loss goals this year, which I am going to make a concerted effort to really go through with. 

Keep Having Fun: SQL Server is still my #1 hobby along with being my #1 and #2 careers, doing it for my day job, as a side job, and honestly, for fun. Ok, so some days it isn’t fun, exactly, but on the whole, I look forward to putting out interesting code, interesting samples, and interacting with the community.

If it says anything about my weird priorities, my #2 and #3 hobbies are Disney World and Dollywood. I spend approximately 1 month of the year at one of the two places (plus any other theme parks that I come across in my travels!) If I get tired of my SQL Server sideline work, I have other places to spend my time. I just usually choose my database work because, beyond loving it, I believe it helps people to progress in their careers (which I then hope gives them enough disposable income to visit my favorite theme parks!)