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12 Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012

12 Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012

It’s the end of the year and already I am seeing the usual blog posts that either reflect on the year that was, or are pondering the year to come. I thought about writing another post covering all of the things that didn’t happen to me this past year but since I’ve already done that before I figured I needed to do something different. So I decided on this post instead. You’re welcome.

Here are the 12 things you should stop doing in 2012.

1. Using antiquated technology

The line in the sand for me would be the ages of my children. If your software was written before they were born, I don’t want to be using it. But that measuring stick won’t work forever, so a better one is to make certain you are only at most one full version behind. If you are still running SQL2000 or Oracle9i, you are more than one version behind, and you should really stop. It’s time to move on. Seriously.

2. Responding immediately to every email

Stop doing that. Trust me on this, your response to that email can wait. Don’t believe me? Try an experiment. For one month do not reply immediately to your emails. At the end of the month add up the number of emails you received, and the number of emails that required an immediate response. I’m willing to bet that the number is quite low, much lower than you realize. And once you realize just how few emails require an immediate reply, you’ll never look at email in the same way again.

3. Over-thinking everything

Some things in your life require analysis and thought, no question. But you don’t need to spend 30 minutes ordering coffee at Starbucks. Lots of things in your life are like that coffee, you should be able to just make a decision and move on. But for whatever reason we tend to analyze lots of decisions in our lives that don’t really need any extra analysis.

4. Doing unproductive work

Start tracking your daily tasks and see which ones are the most productive. Chances are you have a few tasks that don’t align with your highest level of goals. If you want to become the world’s best widget-maker then you need to focus on tasks that help you achieve that goal, and spend less time on tasks that don’t help you get there.

5. Pretending that work-life balance exists

It doesn’t. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the idea of work-life balance is a myth perpetuated by HR departments that are trying to recruit you. This is especially true the higher up the corporate ladder you find yourself. And yes, that means if you are self-employed, you are essentially your own CEO, and you don’t just work at home but you also live at work. So stop pretending that any such work-life balance exists, it doesn’t. What you really have is work-life management, and we all know how hard it is to find a good manager these days.

6. Multitasking every possible moment of the day

Would it hurt you to focus on the task at hand for once? You don’t always have to be doing three things at once. Like texting and driving, for example. Remember I told you how that email can wait? Yeah, that is especially true if you are driving. Try living in the moment a few times a day and you may be surprised to see the quality of your output rising as a result of your increased focus on one specific task.

7. Trying to keep up with the Kardashians

…or watching Jersey Shore, or those shows about “real” housewives. If we all just stop watching, there is a chance the shows may disappear altogether. That’s the world I’d like to leave for my children: a world free from crappy reality TV, and reality TV “stars”.

8. Stop arguing with people on the internet

It’s just not worth it, even when they are wrong, and even when they attack you. The internet is a big place, and it is full of opinions. Let people express their opinion. It’s OK. If you really feel the need to inject yourself into a conversation, don’t do it. You won’t win. You can’t win. It’s the internet, and every time you try to get the last word in about something, or try to demean someone because you feel you have been wronged, all it does is make you look a little more foolish than if you had written nothing at all.

9. Resisting the Cloud

Look people, stop making excuses for why you can’t move to the Cloud. It’s here, and people are using it already. That means they are learning lessons about Cloud technology. They are learning what works best for them, and they are ahead of you by doing so. How much longer do you want to wait at the starting line while everyone passes you by? Get in the game now. Find something that you can deploy to the Cloud and put the learning curve behind you, and do it quickly. Otherwise you are going to find your skills are out of date, and quickly.

10. Comparing yourself to others

You’ll never be as good as that other person. It’s true. You will only ever become second-best, because you will always feel they are better than you anyway. It’s a losing effort, so don’t bother. Instead, find out what one or two things you like most about them and see if you can adapt those things to fit your personality or lifestyle. At the end of the day you have to be yourself, but it’s OK if you get some influence and inspiration from others. Just don’t try to be an exact replica because that’s just creepy.

11. Thinking that you need to go it alone

I see this a lot. In fact, I lived it. I thought I was all alone in my role as a DBA. But I wasn’t, because I had a network of colleagues out there willing to help. You don’t need to do anything alone in life, you can always find someone willing to help. Even misery loves company. And whether you are a DBA or the CEO of your company, you don’t have to work in a vacuum, there is a network of your peers willing to lend you a hand. It’s OK to ask for help, to admit that you may have been able to do something better. If your end goal for life is to have “I did it myself” on your tombstone then you should expect a lot of lonely Holiday dinners.

12. Reading blog posts titled “12 Things in 2012”

They’re a waste of your time. Go kiss your children goodnight and read them a story instead.

I figure that eliminating the above items will save me a lot of time in 2012. I have no idea what I will do with the extra time yet, but I’m sure I will think of something before the Mayans attack in late December.

3 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • Well done, sir, well done, excellent post! I shall post this in my kitchen and highlight #7 for my wife and daughter.

  • Awesome post. Awesome. Period.

  • You lost me on #7. I don’t watch any of those shows because I don’t like seeing people at their worst and that’s what those shows focus on, but you’ve got a better chance of getting every vendor off SQL 2000 than you do asking folks to stop watching those not-so-real reality TV train wrecks.

    As far as #9, 180 days is all I’m going to say about that (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/04/fourth-amendment-email-2/).

  • Great stuff Tom. Especially #12

    Have a good one,

    Greg

  • Sorry, but you definitely lost me at point #5 because there really is such a thing as a work-life balance and any kind of decent manager would realize when you are failing to keep that balance. Paul is incredibly sensitive to this and ensures that anyone that works for him maintains an appropriate balance with things, which consequently makes him one of the best managers that I have ever worked for; and that isn’t just a bunch of fluff because he is my boss. Even my wife says that I have been happier and had more time for family and fun things since I joined SQLskills.

    I also don’t follow any of that crap from #7 and keeping up with the Jones’s has never been a priority so you lost me there as well. For #9, the cloud is certainly out there, but it doesn’t fit every business need that exists, and despite what Microsoft would like for me to push, or what they continuously try to force me with there online sessions, the cloud simply doesn’t offer a sufficient use case for most corporate clients of mine, so it will continue to take a back burner to mainstream on premise work in my life. I’ve setup an built a number of cloud based solutions but based on the offerings provided by on-premise implementations it is still far from solving core business needs for major systems in my opinion.

    Your point on #10 falls into #7 and is a good one. You should never look at others to determine your own success or standing in life. To do so is ridiculous. The point in #4 is a slippery slope because some of the things that we do that are unproductive, also make us what we are in life. For example, the work I do on the forums and #sqlhelp hash tag are at times incredibly unproductive from a business stand point and completely a waste of my time, but they do benefit the community overall. Just like #5 there is a balance that has to be stuck with this as well.

    Overall, I think that #11 is the biggest take away from this post. There is no need to attack problems on your own in this day and age. There are a number of resources that are available to help you with resolving whatever issue you are facing, whether it is a personal, professional development, or technical problem, and there are tons of members of the community at large that are willing to help, even at the expense of wasting their own time possibly, to help you solve your problem.

    Great post Tom, even though I don’t necessarily agree with all of your points.

    If we don’t cross paths before hand, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    • JK-47,

      Merry Christmas to you and your family as well. And thank you for your service to our Country.

      Tom

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  • Regarding post 1, its ironic that people are push the cloud and yet there are still a hell of a lot of people on mainframes, simply because they have critical apps running on them and people are scared to death of migrating away. A bit of a case of “Better the devil you know . . .”, but I do largely agree with the point