Friday, July 24, 2009

So much to do!

A couple weeks ago, we had an incident at work, that caused some long days of work, over the weekend. Since then, its slowed down a bit, but its still busy, as we lost time dealing with an incident that wasn't planned. This is akin to taking a vacation. The work doesn't simply get done, it waits; waits for you to return. This seems to make it harder to take any time off, or enjoy time off; knowing that that creature is simply waiting for you, waiting to consume your time again, as soon as it's let lose.

That wasn't the point I was trying to make, but out it came anyway. Writing is like that for me. It's a bit cathartic and allows my brain to simply output whatever is in it. Sometimes for good; oft times, not.

So, the point, was that we need to realize when we are in a down time. By down time, I mean that our head is on straight, we can see into the future, even if its only a short distance, and we can seem to see clearly. These moments pop up at the rarest times. I've had them on a Monday afternoon. Rarely on a Friday. They tend to be elusive and are controlled by some puppet master who's schedule is random and haunting. Make a practice of watching for the signs of that moment approaching, and take advantage of it. When the moment is upon you, shirk everything, see clearly into your future, and have some tasks that you can perform while experiencing this short period of clearheadedness. It might be a good idea to keep a journal or even sticky note of tasks. When you realize you are living in the proper moment, grab your list, and start cranking out tasks.

The things that should be on your list are those things that will make your life easier. In your environment, you have hurdles that occur all the time. Something that helps you identify, monitor, measure and overcome those hurdles are highest priority. Let me make a simple suggestion. We have replication in our environment. 2 distinct types of replication. This is monitored by another group via tools like sitescope. However, for me to know the exact level of latency, can greatly improve my time and direction of action. I created a script that would report to me latency for a given threshold. However, we have 4 servers that can report latency for a few different systems. I finally made 4 scripts, hardcoded the sql to work for each environment, added them to a SSMS project, with the connections to each set. Now, I can open script 1, and execute it. It tells me whats going on. I then can repeat this for 3 other scripts. All very similar, but no need to change connections, copy 1 script to run elsewhere. Simple. This is just one idea that has helped me out, because I do not have to think about it, and can quickly produce data to measure statuses, allowing me to jump into action quicker.

The reason that this comes to light now, is that when we had an incident, I had some of these things already prepped, and was more nimble. However, there were some I still do not have, and these caused struggle. In a perfect world, we'd never struggle. We'd always have all the tools on hand to assist us.

Make your list. Keep it handy. When the winds of mood hit you, act upon them. Share these with others, and build your toolbox. When something happens, you will be ready, more ready than you have ever been. Each iteration of this will propel you forward to more successes.