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Rob Farley

- Owner/Principal with LobsterPot Solutions (a MS Gold Partner consulting firm), Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft MVP (SQL Server) and leader of the SQL User Group in Adelaide, Australia. Rob is also a Director of PASS, and runs training courses around the world in SQL Server and BI topics.

T-SQL Tuesday #32 post

This isn’t a typical post for me. Regular readers will know that I tend to write about technical things, or things that are coming up, or something about how we do things around my company, LobsterPot Solutions – whereas this post is a response to the latest T-SQL Tuesday. I haven’t missed one yet, so I’m moving a little out of my comfort zone and posting anyway. I’m also feeling short on time at the moment, but I digress...

TSQL2sDay150x150

The challenge this time wasn’t just blogging, it was to make notes about what you did on a particular day, and then blog about that. The day was July 11, which wasn’t really a typical day (my oldest son’s birthday), but I figure that the way my work life fitted around everything else is quite typical, and worth writing about.

First, some information about me, which is probably needed as a premise.

I’m married with three great kids – boys who are 15 (now) and 12, and a girl who is 4. I live in Adelaide, Australia, where I run a business (LobsterPot Solutions) and the local SQL Server User Group. I’m a PASS Director, and also very involved in my local church. I’ve also been annoyingly sick recently, which sees me playing catch-up on a lot of things. This is why I don’t feel like I have time for things right now, so it’s a matter of working out priorities and focussing on things that need my attention.

My portfolio on the PASS board is organising the 24HOP events, which are semi-annual virtual conferences, the next one being in September. This one is traditionally a Summit Preview event, showcasing many of the great speakers that will be presenting at the main Summit in November. I’m not speaking this year, but presented at 24HOP last year, and it’s a really good event, building interest and excitement for the content that will be heard.

So at the moment, there is a bunch of organising for that to be done, and with the PASS HQ staff being based in Canada, I was responding to emails and in discussions around that pretty much as soon as I was awake (along with responding to a couple of people from the SQL community who had technical questions they’d sent my way). It was school holidays, so despite it being my son’s birthday, he wasn’t up yet (he’s 15 – sleeping-in rates quite high on his personal todo list, as it did for me when I was his age). Once he was awake we gave him presents, and I got on with some more things. I’d taken the boys out the afternoon before to celebrate, because I was expecting to spend the Wednesday with a particular client on the far side of town. That trip got postponed, but didn’t reduce the list of things that needed to get done (although it did mean I didn’t have any meetings with clients arranged).

Of course, there are those things that tend to pop up on todo lists, like getting to the Post Office. I’d done enough stuff at home before heading into the city so that the Post Office was open and I could tick that off. Eventually I got into the city, where I was then spreading my time between staff and clients.

My role in the company is such that I don’t tend to get heavily involved in many projects. I support projects, and I try to be available for my staff, but there are too many things going to have me dedicated to one or two projects. I went through quotes and requirements specifications, reviewed other documentation, discussed some client relationships, and spent time with one of my guys looking at the priorities of both myself and some of my staff. I had a support call with Microsoft to follow up on, went through upcoming dates with the user group venue, signed an updated procurement document for one of our clients, arranged some meetings, fielded a call from a partner company asking about licensing, and an older client asking about upgrade paths...

...all done mostly from a cafe.

Being in the cafe brought a couple of interruptions, but welcome ones. When there are things that need doing, it can be really beneficial to be working from a cafe, because people I know will go past. This particular day, a guy from a client we’ve recently engaged waved hello to me, but was clearly in a rush, and another client who’s keen for us to help up-skill their people said hello and gave an update on things. This type of distraction is welcome because even when I’m busy and feeling like I don’t want distractions, this type of thing helps move some things along. (As I write this, I’m working from my office in town. Today, the distractions are slightly less welcome.) I know that I spend all day moving from one thing to another, but this seems to work for me. I have a todo list in Trello that seems to mostly work, so that when each thing (be it on the list or not) I can pick up whatever is next. I’m not scared of distractions, because I figure that the time someone calls is probably best for them. (Making time for people is really high on my priority list.)

By the end of the day, I’d also spent time at a client where I’m filling in for one of my guys who’s on leave at the moment, and had got updates on things from each of my staff members. On the way home, I stopped by one of our local pasta restaurants to get the birthday dinner that Sam wanted. Later that night I got some more emails sent. Having a smart phone is both a blessing and a curse for running a business. Despite the fact that it’s often an interruption, it does mean I’m more available to my staff and clients, and anyone else who needs me – and I wonder how I’d do without it. I read my bible on it, I listen to music on it, it tracks my walking/running. I take pictures of my family with it, read the news (often via Twitter), and even use it to play games when I choose to be distracted.

So that was my day. Fairly typical in many ways.

Published Tuesday, July 17, 2012 10:57 PM by Rob Farley

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