Tuesday, August 17, 2021

T-SQL Tuesday #141: Work/Life Balance? - Wrap up

As the challenge was accepted by many folks, I tried to keep track of their thoughts and make my own notes. I really enjoyed watching everyone attempt to tackle this topic and inspire others while sharing their own experiences, hopes, dreams, attempts, and so on. 

Each blog that I experienced felt like the authors really sat down and tried to outpour their souls. I can only assume, in an effort to help others along their own path with these folks' experiences. 

Here is what I pulled from each of your posts. 

I feel like I should revisit these posts and reread them from time to time, to see if I have implemented any of these ideas myself, but more importantly to revisit how I am doing now, or then, as things will change and my efforts toward achieving balance will most likely need to change as well over time. 


 Rob Farley his attempts in finding relevant quests to achieve work life blance thru activities he enjoyes or wants to enjoy. Mainly finding a distraction from current engagements to satisfy.



 James McGillivray also notes that its about balance. Realizing life needs you to not give 110%, taking control, self introspection to course correct.



 Tom shows us time spent in various activities, work and personal life. And stresses that we need to manage expectations, get enough sleep and take time off.



 Brent Ozar makes a joke about using JIRA to track your homelife. But in all reality realizes that what is tracked can be understood and altered and made good. (my words). And gives practical advice to implement these ideas.



 Gethyn teaches us that people dont know when to stop. Simply working from home is not the balance we seek. And then offers concrete rules that have helped.



 Kevin used to work from home and was able to help coworkers do so when Covid hit. As well as organize a virtual event. It is important to realize that others can help us out. REach out.



 Cathrine entertains us with her list of nopes and yeps. With real life examples that have helped, and may help us. 



 Jeff has had experience already working from home and luckily has a strong enough marriage to allow them both to be at home. And then answers my questions with real world answers that helped. 



 Aaron shares absolute rules to follow that have helped. I love the idea of making up time to the family spent on after hours work. What a nice example to flip the script.



 John also believes that the outdoors is key in affecting this balance and provides rules that have helped achieve this balance. 



 Dale engages the frace 'forcing function' to let things enfore the rules to provide balance. I have to do X to do Y so I must step away from work now. 



 Camila has learned to listen to the body and mind and seek a comfort between work and personal. Acknowledging the idisyncracies of ones own mind and the impact this has on tasks and plans. 



 Chad seeks to find success while working from home. Replacing moments with new tasks like naps and walking the dog. At home or the office. 



 Deepthi acknowledges that guilt and pressure that leads to stress. Instead, make little changes in life to your schedule. And uses one of my favorites phrases, findging happiness. I say, Find Your Happy. 



 Travis details rules that have helped. Setting up rules that provide boundries, then mental breaks and stress relief, remembering to ask for help, and leave bad situations. 






 Chris reflects on how fast life moves and kids and family change quickly. Controlling what you can manage and letting go has helped. 



 Jess reflects on how the pandemic has shifted work and commutes and things. Having a hard stop or other activity helps stop the work day. Exercise and support from others has really helped.



 Ken learned that timings are not immutable and giving in to ebb and flow, can lead to the balance one seeks. 






Tuesday, August 10, 2021

What does Work/Life Balance mean to me?

This month's T-SQL Tuesday challenge is this topic. I am hosting the blogging event, and this was my topic of choice. Because it has been on my mind a lot these last few years, and more so recently. 

It seems like an easy answer problem to answer, no? 

I've had coworkers simply say that they will never answer a message after work hours. Others turn off their phones. Some leave on the dot of a specific time, and work is done for the day. Others talk about how to maximize their usage of vacation time. Others mention that they work a lot of overtime, because they can, and want to get that big promotion. Others come in early because they believe that is the magic ticket. 

What I get from these is the age ol' answer to everything. 'It Depends'.

Review the below list yourself. And answer each of these honestly. If you can, compare with someone else, and see the disparity of answers.

  • Should we work late on that thing cause we are almost done?
  • Should we get to work at a specific time each morning?
  • Should we leave at a specific time each day? 
  • Should we eat at our desks for lunch?
  • Should we leave for a lunch break? 
  • Should we get exercise in the morning before work? During work? After work?
  • Should we check mail and work apps first thing in the morning?
  • Should we check mail and work apps after you have left for the day?
  • Should we never check mail and work apps when we are not truly 'working'?
  • Should we get showered and dressed each day, and still work from home?
  • Should we shower once a week and dress poorly since we work from home? 
  • Should we use a scheduling technique to keep us on track during the workday?
  • Should we stretch the workday out, adding breaks within for personal stuff?
  • Should we never take personal breaks during work hours, because work is a priority during 9-5 hours?
  • Should we work late today because we started late this morning?
  • Should we leave early today because we started earlier this morning?
  • Should we leave home before starting work, to get a morning beverage, and delineate our days with normal tasks?
  • Should we check mail and work apps on the weekend?
  • Should we check mail and work apps on PTO?
  • Should we stay at the gym for one more game on Friday, since it's Friday, and we work from home anyway?

I find that some of these ring more true to me than others. And I will tend to dig into these individually more than others. Some really force the answer 'It Depends'. Because it does. It depends on a lot of things. Where I am in my career, what my goals are, and so on. 

Since the answer can often be 'It Depends' to these and many of life's questions, it behooves us to individually dig into these, and other similar questions, and form our own answers. Individual answers. And realize that these may work for a time, and cease to work after a time. 

For example, when I had younger children at home, it was much more important to me and my family that I was home at a certain time. Dinner was a planned event, and we enjoyed it together. But as my kids have grown, and moved on, this is not so important anymore. So I can stay later now than I used to. However, maybe at this time in my life, I don't want to. But maybe I do. So its changes with time. One answer works for a while, then stops being the right answer, because reasons. So I urge you to constantly evaluate your answers and make sure that they still fit for you now. As now will forever change. 

So, what works for you may not work for me. But we can definitely learn from each other and see examples. We can review our activities and moods and responses, and adjust as needed.

What's worked for me?

Several years ago I got an app called Daylio. It has a daily reminder I set for 10:45pm to input daily data. It wants to know the overall mood for the day. It also lets me tag specific activities performed within the day, presumably that support this overall mood for the day. These are Rad, Good, Meh, and 2 lower moods I've never actually selected. 

This becomes an interesting exercise. I get to evaluate the entire day and pick a single mood. So it must be an average for the day, not a high or low mood, in my interpretation. I could have had a terrible morning, but a better afternoon, so would that be average ok for the day? Can you have a Rad day while you are at work? It feels like a Rad day would be a weekend. But why cant a workday be Rad? and why can't a weekend be Meh? 

In any event, it makes me think. And forces me to evaluate the day. Over the years I've used this app, I've been able to refine the activities to things that really seem to matter to me at the time. For example, I used to have activities for TV and Movies separated. But I realized that these were not core activities, and stopped using them to measure against my overall mood. I might watch TV or see a Movie, but it rarely weighs in to make a day Rad as compared to Good. So I have stopped including them in the overall activity exercise. I have since added different items in an effort to measure and weigh what makes me happy. I have separate entries for Outside and Desert and Mountains. Desert and Mountains are outside, but Outside also means in my yard, or playing pickleball at lunchtime, or simply being outside. This is also different from Garage Time, which usually entails some activity of creating or building. 

The point being is that for me, I have fine-tuned this data gathering to fit me. It will probably not fit you. But I highly recommend you do something similar. I have been tracking my data for over 900 days now, and have learned a lot. Annually, I review the data and use it to change activities or priorities as I see patterns. 

For me, spending time doing an activity of exercise daily has elevated my mood and work/life balance. Sprinkling in a couple other days of other activities has definitely helped, and this is usually after work. Spending time outside has become a positive point in my life, as well as spending time in my garage. So I try to do these things as often as I can in the week and notice when I have not, it affects me. So I've been known to say 'It's been too many days since I've been in the mountains, I need to return'. Or fill in the activity I've not done, and then I need to make sure I do that more. 

Some things are seasonal, but still bring me joy. I ride dirtbikes, but not in the winter or the summer. More spring and fall. I also don't hike in the winter but do switch to snowshoeing. So seasonal things also happen when necessary. And on repeat, enough that I feel satisfied. If I do not feel satisfied, often it's because something like this is missing.

Now, switching gears, if I concentrated on the outside and fun activities only, I could find myself ignoring work. Why not do the same thing at work? What items should I track while at work that brings me joy or subtracts joy? If you can narrow those down and track them, you'll be better poised to make changes to them, possibly, and make yourself feel better about your work/life balance.

I have added 2 entries in my activities that let me track when I work on my tasks, vs when I work on other people's tasks. As I have noticed that being pulled into other people's issues to solve them or assist in solving them subtracts from my joy, I am not poised to respond better to these requests. When I can pour myself into my tasks, I am happier. It may not be that easy, but at least now I have identified the problem and can act towards a fix. It may require a new job or an acceptance of the job I already have. It may require out-of-the-box thinking or even conversations with bosses or other team members. But you are on the path to solving it, rather than allowing the activity to control you and your mood and your balance. 


So that was a lot of words. And if you made it this far, I'll reward you with a shorter version.

  • Find what makes you happy. 
    • How do you find this? I measure daily activities and moods. But you do you. But find it!
  • Once you find 'your happy', repeat 'your happy' as often as possible. 
    • How do I find 'my happy'? Using various tools and data collection and retrospectives.
  • Work towards repeating 'your happy' more often than not.
    • How do I do this? Make a plan to repeat when time allows, and schedule it and make it happen. 


Tuesday, August 03, 2021

T-SQL Tuesday #141: Work/Life Balance?

Work/Life Balance?

Having gone thru this last year of strange upheaval around the world, I've been thinking about this topic quite a bit lately. My company has a mentor program where one can sign up and discuss this topic. I signed up. I've had several 'sessions' with my mentor. We've had some productive conversations about what this all means to me, my career, my skillset, and so on.

As I transitioned to work at home, some 500 days ago, it was a shift in perspective, timing, and many things. Trying to keep those scales balanced has been a focus and a struggle from time to time. Especially recently, but throughout my career, it's a topic I often lapse back into. Trying to find that balance.

My invitation to you for this month’s #tsql2sday is…

I want to invite you to share your experiences dealing with your own personal journey with Work/Life Balance, either thru experience, or hopeful future goals…

  • What are the cool things have you learned?
  • What things did you try, that simply didn't work out? 
  • What rules have you implemented that made it easier to balance?
  • What rules made it harder to find that balance?
  • What are tips or tricks can you share to help others?

*** The Rules ***

Your post must be published on Tuesday, August 10th 2021 (in any timezone). (Not the 17th, like I initially said here. Oops)

Include the T-SQL Tuesday Logo and make it link to this invitation post.
Please add a comment to this post with a link to your own so I know where to find it.
Tweet about your post using the #tsql2sday hashtag.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Update stuff I've done, mainly for me. You don't have to read this at all.

Speaking Engagements

SQL Saturday

SQL Saturday 54, Salt Lake City       October 2010      Database Switch

SQL Saturday 54, Salt Lake City       October 2010      SQL Server Profiler and Tracing

SQL Saturday 66, Colorado
               February 2011     Documentation – you know you love it

SQL Saturday 94, Salt Lake City       October 2011       Data File Sizes

SQL Saturday 94, Salt Lake City       October 2011       Documentation – you know you love it

SQL Saturday 97, Austin                    October 2011      Data File Sizes

SQL Saturday 104, Colorado Springs
 January 2012       Utility Belt Pre-Con

SQL Saturday 154, Salt Lake City      October 2012       Release Management

SQL Saturday 183, Albuquerque
         February 2013     Release Management

SQL Saturday 190, Denver                  September 2013  Documentation

SQL Saturday 246, Salt Lake City      September 2013   Database Monitoring

SQL Saturday 249, San Diego            September 2013   Database Monitoring

SQL Saturday 249, San Diego            September 2013   Documentation

SQL Saturday 279, Phoenix
                February 2014      Documentation

SQL Saturday 279, Phoenix                February 2014      Release Management
SQL Saturday 295, Las Vegas            April 2014             Database Monitoring

SQL Saturday 297, Colorado Springs April 2014            Documentation

SQL Saturday 340, San Diego            September 2014    Documentation

SQL Saturday 340, San Diego            September 2014    Database Monitoring

SQL Saturday 340, San Diego            September 2014    Release Management

SQL Saturday 349, Salt Lake City      October 2014        Release Management


SQL Saturday 362, Austin                 January 2015          Release Management

SQL Saturday 358, Albuquerque           February 2015        Documentation

SQL Saturday 441, Denver                September 2015     Hadoop, Hive, Json, and Data, Oh My!!

SQL Saturday 474, Salt Lake City     November 2015     Hadoop, Hive, Json, and Data, Oh My!!


SQL Saturday 478, Albuquerque        February 2016      Hadoop, Hive, Json, and Data, Oh My!!

SQL Saturday 483, Colorado Springs April 2016            Hadoop, Hive, Json, and Data, Oh My!!
SQL Saturday 492, Phoenix                April 2016            Hadoop, Hive, Json, and Data, Oh My!!
SQL Saturday 576, SLC                      November 2016   PowerBI for the DBA

SQL Saturday 597, Phoenix                April 2017           PowerBI for the DBA

SQL Saturday 673, Denver                 September 2017  PowerBI for the DBA


SQL Saturday 700, Colorado Springs March 2018          PowerBI, From a DBA

SQL Saturday 726, Phoenix               March 2018          PowerBI, From a DBA

SQL Saturday 720, Albuquerque       May 2018             PowerBI, From a DBA


SQL Saturday 830, Colorado Springs April 2019            Power BI, from a DBA’s Perspective

SQL Saturday 887, Salt Lake City     August 2019         [Organizer only]

SQL Saturday 908, Denver                 October 2019       Power BI, from a DBA’s Perspective

SQL Saturday 997, Salt Lake City     August 2020         Let’s take PowerBI on an adventure



RedGate's SQL In The City                                October 2015          Monitoring + SQLMonitor

Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Discovery Day       June 2016 

Seattle Freecon                                                    November 2016      PowerBI for the DBA


User Groups

Utah User Groups                                                June 2005                Reporting Services

Utah User Groups                                                August 2005            Profiler / Trace

Utah User Groups                                                February 2006         Sarbanes-Oxley

Utah User Groups                                                January 2008           Query Processing

Salt Lake City User Group                                   2004-2008               various topics

Utah County User Group                                     2006-2008                various topics
Utah County User Group                                     August 2016             PowerBI



Code Camps

Salt Lake City Code Camp                                 October 2006             Profiler / Trace

Salt Lake City Code Camp                                 April 2008                 Query Processing

Salt Lake City Code Camp                                 November 2008         Query Processing

Salt Lake City Code Camp                                 November 2013         Release Management

Big Mountain Data                                             November 2017          PowerBI for the DBA



Microsoft 2006 Analysis Services

ACS 2006 Sarbanes-Oxley

PASS SIG 2007 Some topic

Imagine Learning 2015 Hadoop ETL Processes



SQL Server World Wide User Group Virtual Conference

SSWUG vConference                April 2009                 Auditing your users

SSWUG vConference                April 2009                 Best Practices

SSWUG vConference                April 2009                 Job Execution System

SSWUG vConference                April 2009                 Monitor Index Fragmentation

SSWUG vConference                April 2010                 Configuring and Managing GoldenGate

SSWUG vConference                April 2010                 Database Switch

SSWUG vConference                April 2010                 SQL Server Profiler and Tracing

SSWUG vConference                October 2010             Database Change Process

SSWUG vConference                October 2010             On Call Duties

SSWUG vConference                October 2010             Professional Development

SSWUG vConference                October 2010             SQL Server Logical Query Processing

SSWUG vConference                April 2011                  Data File Sizes

SSWUG vConference                April 2011                  Documentation – you know you love it

SSWUG vConference                April 2011                  Server Profiler and Tracing, a “How To”

SSWUG vConference                April 2011                  Stand-alone DBA dailyweeklymonthly

SSWUG vConference                November 2016         PowerBI for the DBA




Dallas Texas, May 2012 All Day Pre-Con with co-presentor Chris Shaw,

        How to be a DBA - A Utility Belt of Tools


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

SQL Saturday ALBER..ALBUq...ALBURQUERQUE... New Mexico

I was thrilled to get the email confirming that I was selected to speak at SQLSaturday #358 on February 07, 2015. 

Its been two years since I went to New Mexico, as I then had the honor of speaking at the inaugural event. I am happy to return. Last year, family got in the way of my attending. I cant remember what i had to do instead, but I am sure it was the right decision to hang with my family then.

This time around, I am bringing my 15yr old daughter with me. She is learning how to drive, and a road trip is one of the ways we solve this dilemma in my family. So why not make a 9 hour trek south to New Mexico and back? 

We will be leaving midday on Thursday, driving 5 hours, and spending the night in Utah, near the border. The next day will be Friday, and we will get up and go see four corners area, which we have never seen before. Then travelling to New Mexico. Once there, im sure we'll hit the hotel, and then make our way to the speaker dinner. I love attending these little get togethers, so that we can see and say hi to our #sqlfamily. Hugs and introductions to my daughter will be in order. And food. 

The next day will find us both attending the SQL Saturday event. I will force my daughter to attend my session, just so there are at least 3 of us in there. Me, her, and the room proctor. 
She will hang out and maybe go with me to sessions, or maybe run the PASS booth. I will spend some time behind the table myself, helping out the region that I used to mentor as an RM for PASS. This recently changed, and I lost this area as one of my responsibilities. I am sad to miss out on continued interactions with these folks. But will do so from the #sqlfamily perspective instead.

At my session we will be talking about documentation. And I would love to assign you homework, if you are going to be in this session. Bring to me some piece of a potential document, and lets work on it either in the session or after, and apply the techniques we'll discuss. Documenting what we do is so vital, and has become an important part of my job. I dont necessarily love to document, but I do love when it has been done properly. 

After the event, I am not sure yet if we will be attending the after party. I will probably let my dear daughter decide this. It will have been a long day of potential boredom for her. 

The next day, we will make the 9 hour journey back home. Trading off in the duties of driving, and helping her learn how to drive. It will be exciting ans scary. If you are of the persuasion that prays, please keep us in mind, since we almost die everytime she gets behind the wheel. Just kidding, she is not that terrible, but still, its a bit scary, I'll admit.

I took my son with me to San Diego SQL Saturday, and we made a trip out of it. At the tail end of PASS, my wife came to visit me, and we made a trip out of it as well. I took my oldest daughter to Austin this last weekend. And this next weekend will find me in Albuquerque, with my other child. We are making the most out of these events, combining work and family, #sqlfamily and SQL. 

I look for to these events, to sharing my knowledge and experiences, to learning from you, and seeing my #sqlfamily. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SQL Saturday Austin 2015

This weekend is the Austin SQL Saturday event. I blogged about it here previously. You can find out more about the event here.

Some of my favorite #SQLFamily will be in attendance. As well as some new members, I hope. As you attend these events, make sure to reach out to the speakers for more information. But not just them, reach out to fellow attendees. Even Volunteers. Even organizers. Basically, reach out to any and all folks that can help you with your career and current problems.

Don't just seek out the like minded folks or those that can help with immediate needs. If you are an Administrator, spend some time talking to a BI person. And vice a versa. Just reach out and talk to them. Hand them a business card (you did remember to bring those didn't you?) and start building your network.

While I am in the area, please come and talk to me. I like talking to people. I have tons of stories to share. I may even be able to help you, or even better, recruit you to help me.

See in Texas.

Friday, November 21, 2014

SQL Saturday Austin

I was thrilled to get the email confirming that I was selected to speak at SQLSaturday #362 on January 31, 2015. 

The last time I was in Austin was 2011 for SQL Saturday 97. My wife and I flew out there and hung out with my Sister and her family while I attended the event. My wife had a great time hanging out in Texas, a first for her. And we both enjoyed the weekend with my sister. 

This time around, I am bringing my 18yr old daughter with me to hang out with my sister. Hopefully she won't corrupt her. She being my sister, and her being my daughter. 

Ever since my oldest came into the world, she has had a special affinity for her aunt, my sister. The two of them share a lot of traits and even resemble each other. Sadly, we have not lived close enough to entertain the togetherness that these two have craved for so many years. But I hope to help with that, this trip.

We will fly out Thursday before the event, and this will give my daughter all Thursday night, all day Friday and Saturday, along with most of the day Sunday to hang out with her doppelganger. I hope they have a blast, get into a ton of trouble and bond over everything they can in the short amount of time we can provide them. 

In the meantime, I will go to the speaker dinner and spend most of Saturday hanging out with my #SQLFamily at the event. The first time I was here, it was my fourth SQL Saturday event. This time it'll be like my 16th or something. I try to hit a few each year, but never more than 5, as it is difficult to justify a quantity more than that with my current situation. I would love the opportunity to go to more. But will work with what I have been given. 

The last event I attend outside my state, i took my son with me, and we made a trip out of it. At the tail end of PASS, my wife came to visit me, and we made a trip out of it as well. Austin will allow me the opportunity to bring my oldest daughter. And the very next weekend will find me in Albuquerque, having driven there with my other child. So, we are making the most out of these events, combining work and family, #sqlfamily and SQL. 

I look for to these events, to sharing my knowledge and experiences, to learning from you, and seeing my #sqlfamily.