Thinking about goals for 2011

The SQL community is inspiring, and there are a lot of people that work hard to contribute to it. With all the efforts (I hesitate to use the word “competition”), it inspires others to try harder and do more. It’s no wonder we have a huge number of SQL Server MVPs, well over 200.


I’ve somewhat gotten trapped in the “I should do more” mentality, spurred on by my talks with Andy Warren (LinkedIn | Blog | @sqlandy) and his efforts, reading about all the events others go to, seeing the regular blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts about user group meetings. However as I look forward to 2011, I realize that I can’t “compete” with others, and I can’t necessarily do more.


I do feel the need to give back to others. This community has given me a great career, and I would like to do what I can to help others. That’s the “Purpose” part of Drive that I think we all need. At this point in my life, the purpose seems to be more important to me than it has been in the past.

But life is busy. As I think about 2011, I want to do more SQL Saturdays, make more of a commitment to the local user groups (3 in CO), try to grow beyond SQL and teach/talk to the .NET and Windows groups, maybe reach some college kids and help them prepare for the workforce.

I can’t do it all. I need to step back and focus on what is effective, efficient, and doable. I want to get some goals that make sense for this point in my career, realizing that I can only do so much and still take care of my family.

I’ve committed to 4 SQL Saturdays and 1 other local event. As much as I’d like to go back to a few places, I realize that I need to hit some new events. Please feel free to ask me to come to your event, and I will consider it, but remember that I cannot travel every weekend. I will keep invitations in mind, and I have a queue of places that I could not make in the past, but will try to get to in the future. Chicago and Dallas didn’t make 2010, but they are on my 2011 list. My apologies to Malathi in Louisville for missing that city, but they will have top priority in the future. Columbia has sadly conflicted every time with me, but I will get down there to see Brian one of these years.

As things stand now, I am thinking that some of the conferences are going to be out for me because of the stress that travel places on the family. Or at least my time will be cut down. I only spent two days at TechEd last year, and it’s possible that I might do the same for more conferences this year.

Other goals are working on the MCM written test for now. That’s my SQL Server goal and while I don’t think this is the year for me to take the lab, I think the exposure to the process and the effort to learn more about SQL Server is well spent.

A lot of words above to say I don’t know what I should do 10 days into Jan, but this week will hopefully allow me to focus on getting more specific items down.

Looking Back at 2010–Goal Review

I had 8 goals for 2010, which I posted at the end of last year. That reminds me, I need to work on goals for 2011 Smile

These were a variety of work, community, and professional goals that I set with, thinking that I would be able to achieve these in the year. As with many things, I was wrong and didn’t end up I the place that I expected. Some of this was due to my poor time management, some due to changing situations, and some due to a changing of my feelings towards the end result of these goals. Here are my final comments on the goals:

  1. Forums – My original goal was to post less, but keep 300 posts a month average. About 40-50 of those are set (editorials, handling issues), so it’s really a 200+ technical posting. I managed to make that average, with a wildly varying level per month.
  2. Blogging – I wanted to blog 5 times a week, each week, with at least 2 being technical. I think I made this, outside of vacations, and most weeks I did manage to get a couple technical posts. In some ways, I think this is an artificial goal that forced me to look for technical items, but it also resulted in some less than stellar posts. I think I need to re-examine what I am trying to accomplish here for 2011.
  3. Learn Reporting Services – Fail. I was hoping to devote 1-2 hours a week, a fairly small goal, to this. However besides getting this setup no 3 machines, building some basic reports, and fighting through non-domain security issues, I didn’t accomplish a lot here. Part of the issue is that I had no focus on “what” I wanted to do with SSRS and no work to produce. I think this was my learning goal for SQL Server, but it wasn’t well focused or developed. While I think these are good skills, and worth learning, it wasn’t a good choice for me. In short, a bad goal to pick, and one that was easy to let go as my life became busy.
  4. Attend one SQL Saturday – A huge success, and I actually attended 7, along with a couple other events. I spoke at:
    1. SQL Saturday #33 – Charlotte
    2. SQL Saturday #22 – Pensacola
    3. SQL Saturday #28 – Baton Rouge
    4. SQL Saturday  #52 – Colorado
    5. SQL Saturday #53 – Kansas City
    6. SQL Saturday #59 – New York City
  5. Write a book – I made progress here, devoting a few afternoons here and actually working on two separate items at the same time. However what ended up killing me here is no enough of a focused effort, enough times. If I had spent 15-20 days on this, it would be done. I think that I moved some of this time to speaking events, and building presentations.
  6. Build 2 new presentations – I actually built 3 this year. Two on basic SQL Server (one non-technical, one technical), and one on Common SQL Server Mistakes. I have another in progress that I want to get ready for 2011. Again, need to make focused time.
  7. Take all my vacation in 2010 – Close. I didn’t make it, and again, work is interfering with my ski-Thursdays this winter. However I did manage to get in 4 vacations this year: St Martin, Las Vegas, Winter Park, and Steamboat Springs. I’ll call this a success, assuming I can free up 3 days each month in Jan/Feb/Mar.
  8. Travel to one new city for work – Charlotte, Kansas City, Las Vegas, New York (for SSC) were new trips for me. It was good to me to visit with people outside of the areas I have tended to go (Seattle/Orlando) over the years.

So was it a successful year? It’s hard to say. It certainly was a busy one, and that impacted some of my personal goals. I think that overall I did well, and some of my failings were a lack of a well-focused goal.

In 2011, I want to look for goals that produce some result, and not arbitrary goals like blog every day. I am looking to better define a goal that will make my career grow, as well as contribute in a positive way to the community for SQL Server.

Goal Update – Misc accomplishments

I have been trying to better track my goals this year, and find myself failing at some, exceeding at others. I’m not sure if that means that I did a poor job setting goals, or that I’m not so good at following through. I’ll have to evaluate that in December.

In terms of goals, this is a milestone for me. Not really a big goal for this year, but it’s an accomplishment that I’m proud of, and it exceeds a goal I set two years ago.

As of today, I’ve been running continuously for two years. Every day I’ve run at least a mile every day for 730 days. Yesterday was my 730th day, and today, Sept 10, 2010, starts my third year. I track this on my other blog (The Daily Runner) and I’m listed on the Running Streak Association’s site as #210 on the active list.

Getting through these past two years has given me new insight into my health, and also kept me going in other areas. I learn to better manage my life and keep on a more even keel over time as well as motivate me.

So I looked at how other things are going. I checked my posting for the year, and I have these counts:

Month  Post Count
8        410
7        453
6        377
5        352
4        442
3        277
2        372
1        280

That’s an average of 370 a month, which is above my goal of 300/month. Pretty good, and I’m enjoying answering questions again, which is a bonus.

I also checked my blog count. I was trying to post every day, and I know I missed a few days, but I had a few double posts as well.

Month Posts
1       39
2       37
3       26
4       37
5       28
6       44
7       37
8       30
9        8

With an average of 22 days a month, and an average post count of 34, I think I’m doing well here.

I did miss one newsletter, and started two in the morning when I woke up, but otherwise doing well there as well. Now if I could just find some time to work with SSRS….

Another Update on Goals

I was querying the SQLServerCentral database for something else today, and I decided to take a minute and double check on my posting goal. I didn’t check a few weeks ago when I wrote the update post, but I had been paying attention and noticing my 30 day running average, which seemed to be always above 300.

But was it?

So I did, and got these results:

Month Posts

7     72
6     377
5     352
4     442
3     277
2     372
1     280

Pretty good for me, lower than last year, but a nice average.


Just enough to be sure that I’m meeting my goal, and I have a bunch of time in July to be sure that I’m there.

Q2 Goal Review

I have a monthly reminder, which is currently making me feel guilty. It’s there to tell me to review my goals, and I find myself lacking a bit.

My goals for 2010 on this site were:

  • Continue managing the forums, but at a reduced, 300 post a month level.
  • Blog 5 times a week, M-F, on at least 2 SQL Server technical topics a week.
  • Learn Reporting Services – at something better than an average level. Maybe not an expert, but work towards being able to use it and answer > 50% of the questions I see.
  • Attend one SQL Saturday – At least, though I think I’m slated to hit 2 in 2010 at least.
  • Write a book – I’ve had three topics in mind for awhile, but I haven’t moved forward well on this. I need to finish one in 2010.
  • Build 2 new presentations. I’ve given one of two presentations pretty regularly over the last few years, but I need to expand, and find some other things to talk about. Not that these aren’t still relevant and good presentations, but I need to try some new ones.
  • Take all my vacation in 2010 – I’ve been bad about this in the past, carrying some over, selling some back. With some good guest writers, there’s no reason for me not to get away from work more.
  • Travel to one new city for work – Likely this will be Vegas, but I ought to spread my time around the community.
  • My current review:

  • Continue managing the forums – On Target
  • Blog 5 times a week – For the most part on target, though I think I’m once a week on T-SQL/SQL Server
  • Learn Reporting Services – I wanted to do 100 hours on this, but I am woefully behind. Security issues on the laptop that keep cropping up are annoying.
  • Attend one SQL Saturday –  Completed. I’ve been to Charlotte and Pensacola. Baton Rouge, Denver, and Kansas City are scheduled, possibly another one.
  • Write a book – I have done some work here, but not enough. Not on target to finish in 2010.
  • Build 2 new presentations – Completed. I built two beginner presentations, one technical, one non. I am working on an auditing one.
  • Take all my vacation in 2010 – Working on this. I’m in Vegas on vacation as this goes out.
  • Travel to one new city for work – Completed. I did get to Charlotte, so that counts. Kansas City and Vegas are on the agenda as well.
  • Not bad, not great. The SSRS one and the book are bothering me, but I feel that I might have overextended myself on this. I am adding in one additional goal that I had promised to do this year.

    Volunteering for PASS – Completed. I worked on the spotlight and pre/post con committees.