Travel always causes issues with work. It was the same when I was a production DBA as it is now as editor and evangelist for Red Gate. The tasks I have to manage and complete don’t seem to ever be scheduled with the idea that I might be away from my desk.
I was off Monday with holiday and family celebrations (and the last ski day of the ’14-’15 season). I also leave Thur morning for SQL Saturday in Huntington Beach and will be gone until the weekend.
As an editor of what’s essentially a newspaper, the issues must go out regularly. That means that last week before I took time away I had to ensure that I had newsletters scheduled for Fri-Tue, as well as working on content for this week. That compresses the schedule of tasks, with more being done before I leave. Today I need to catch up things that occurred while I was gone, as well as prep for tomorrow and Thursday. I’ll also need to get enough done that I have things scheduled for Friday and Monday.
Time management can be hard, and over the last 10 years I’ve learned a few tricks to ensure I can handle the variety of tasks that come my way. What has worked for me is to take some of the lessons from the Boy Scouts and apply them to work.
For those items I need regularly, I have learned to look ahead and always have a couple items prepared. This mainly means questions, articles, and editorials. Since I’m not sure what will happen in a week or two, my plan is always to hold a few items back and ensure I have at least a week’s worth of items planned.
Like my son works on merit badges, the other thing is to regularly work on items I need rather than wait until I need them. My son often completes a work requirement before he needs it. I may have to remind him, but he’s learning to adopt that on his own. I do the same thing at work, writing, editing, soliciting content before I have the actual need.
Vacation Isn’t Free
Perhaps it’s an American thing, but it seems that vacation is rarely a free gift of time away from work. Even when I worked at a job that was 9 to 5 and few hard deadlines, I still found the need to prep systems or people for my time away.
In addition to the daily work.
There are others on staff at SQLServerCentral that help me out and I really appreciate the time, but there still is an additional load for me to prepare to be away. It helps to tackle this like saving for vacation (or the future).
A little at a time. On a regular basis.