Doing all the things I do – A personal note

One things I’m being asked more and more these days: Where do you find the time?

The reason behind the question is that I tend do do a lot of things. Always have, always will.
To give you an idea, here’s a list of the things I’m currently involved in:

01) Fulltime job as a Lead Infrastructure DevOps Engineer at e-Vision Software.
02) Masters study in Psychology.
03) PowerShell Active Directory Health Check. (v2 to be released this year!!! Keep an eye on Christmas 😉 )
04) Cloud creation ‘secret’ project I’ve been working on. (don’t ask, I’ll share when ready)
05) CDXML PowerShell module generator. (Richard Siddaway give me the idea in his session for the Dutch PowerShell User Group)
06) Various IT exams. (gotta keep my certs up-to-date…)
07) Presenting at events. (both national and international)
08) Learning new technologies.
09) Reviewing a book. (Learn Windows PowerShell 5 in 24 hours)
10) Helping people in the IT community.

Note that these are the primary tasks that I’m involved in.
Stuff like going out to dinner may use up an entire evening, but it’s needed and I’ll get back to that in a few lines.
Like reviewing that book, the task may evolve in the (near?) future when the book is done into something else… we’ll see 🙂

Where do I find the time?
The answer is two fold: Organize your life & Choose your battles wisely.
Although the answer may be simple, the implementation is not. There are only so many hours in a day and the human body/mind can only take so much.
Key in all of this is to take rest when needed. Don’t think that there is no time for rest right now. If you need it, take it!!
What also helps is to celebrate successes and victories. Take a weekend off, grab your girl and go to the beach, restaurant, cinema or whatever relaxes you.
Visit friends… there is more in life than just work related stuff 🙂

Dare to say: “No!”
Dare to decline new projects, dare to say ‘No, not right now’ and in extreme cases even dare to be rude.
I say in extreme cases because some people don’t understand either word, language or entire concept of “No!”.
In my case I love to help people, this is where I find my energy. However, some people want to abuse this and negate the fact that you’re swamped with other things right now. Even when you nicely explain that you can’t help them right now and ask them to get back to you at a later time (even when you specify that time) they don’t seem to accept this and keep bugging you.
In those situations you need to put yourself in the pole position and may need to cut them off by the knees (figuratively!!).
A lack of planning on their part does not constitute in an emergency on yours.

An example of this is the fact that many publishers have asked me to write a book. Thus far I’ve declined.
Reviewing a book… This is my first time. However, I’ve been working on a book for a couple of years now.
This little project has grown into a humongous beast and isn’t anywhere near finished.
It’s not a book that guides you in a learning curve, nor is it a repository of scripts. I’ll share it as a free book when it’s ready.
As you may have noticed, this book project is not on my list.
That’s because I’m reviewing a book now, so my personal book project has been placed on hold.

Recognize your strengths and weaknesses
Do what you’re good at. Avoid what you’re bad at.
Or as I say: Do what you like, like what you do.
That involves the things that motivate you, that drive you, that drive your passion.
Most people like what they are good at, so it comes easy to them to do what involves their strengths.
If you’re bad at something, try to find a way so that you’ll won’t have to do it yourself.
Hire someone that is good at it, but maybe does not share your strengths. This way you complete each other.
Also, doing something you’re weak at will require a lot of energy. Energy that is better spend at something you’re great at.
That would mean that with the same amount of energy you could put into something you’re bad at, you’ll accomplish way more if you put it into a task that involves your strengths.
Ofcourse you’ll think that’s obvious. Then why do so many

Resource planning
There are only so many hours in a day. You are one person, one resource. When you estimate the time and energy spend in a task, you can plan a resource to accomplish this task. This is project management 101.
So define what you, the resource, can take. This will grow when you become more experienced, this will slim when you’re reaching your personal threshold.
Whatever you do, don’t overbook your resource!!! (that would be a burnout waiting to happen…)
Over time, you’ll notice that you’ll be able to take more. Don’t be afraid to do more if you feel that you can take it, but always have a way out.
A way out to immediately remove some tasks, or at least put them on hold for some time, to give you the breathing room.

Rest and fun when needed
Rest is something you can plan for. Fun isn’t. So whenever you are working on a task and you encounter fun, go with the flow… this will allow your mind to accomplish more.
First it will take your mind off the task at hand. Second, your body responds to fun. It releases chemicals that will improve your ability to learn, re-focus and even put some joy in the task at hand when you don’t really like doing it.
Also here you’ll need to keep in mind that the task needs be be accomplished, so don’t go with the flow indefinitely.

Define but don’t utilize your maximum
Like I wrote before: You can only take so much. I’ve had the ‘luck’ to be very close to a burn-out at one time in my career.
Therefor I recognize the symptoms in me and know when to take immediate action.
So whenever you feel like you’re reaching your maximum, take a step back.
I don’t mean that you shouldn’t reach your maximum every once in a while, challenging your capabilities can be very useful.
I’m simply saying that you shouldn’t do it for a consecutive amount of time, don’t make it a part of your routine.

Be flexible
The problem with planning is that the world always changes.
For example: At this point in time you may like what you do but over time your desires can shift.
So will you still do what you like in the future?
For me this is the universal key: I try to do only what I like.
Sometimes I have to do something I don’t like. I don’t mind… as long as this enables a larger goal which I do like.
Thinking about the bigger picture here 😉
I hope that you’ll find this post useful and will empower you  🙂

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