T-SQL Tuesday #123

My topic is looking for your favourite ‘life hack’, something you use to make your day easier. This could be anything from a keyboard shortcut in SSMS that runs ‘sp_whoisactive’, to a technique you use to get and stay organised.  It doesn’t have to be directly related to a technology, just whatever you use to make your life easier.

T-SQL Tuesday Host, Jess Pomfret ( https://jesspomfret.com/t-sql-tuesday-123/ )

I love the way that Jess framed up the importance of “life hacks” – not just for their BuzzFeed top 15 list worthiness but for their ability to assist when “we need a little extra help to be productive”. In my day-to-day, I have a 2-pronged approach to keeping this train on the rails.

Getting Productive

Eisenhower Matrix - Do, Document, Delegate, Dump
Eisenhower Matrix

The first habit or hack that I use (nearly) every day is to get after the things that matter. When initially moving from an “individual contributor” role to a manager role I adopted the “Eisenhower matrix” method as a tool to drive me to delegate projects better. Now the Eisenhower matrix (also referred to as the urgent-important matrix) assists me in knowing exactly WHAT to focus on.

I had to face the truth – I don’t have time for everything that I find interesting. Keeping the projects/tasks ahead of me in a matrix, dynamically, allows me to get right to work on things with an impact and allow the fringe to fall away. Evaluate the items on the grid in a 5-10 minute smell test of their placement. Move them as needed and spend a little time (< 1 hour) handling the “document” (deadline, current info at hand) and the “delegate” (setting expectations and setting the new owner up for success). The rest of the day is on “DO” and I get to it with the certainty that I am doing something of high value.

Getting More Out of Productivity

My favorite life hack is for when I’m leaving my office for a meeting, lunch, etc. I spend 60 seconds leaving my future self a note (open text editor or desk whiteboard) about what to do next upon my return.

Other habits/tricks I have that boost my productivity throughout the day:

  • Close my damn email and open it periodically when there’s a break in productivity. (task over, already interrupted)
  • Listening to podcasts on the way into work in the morning warms my brain up for the day, listening to music on the way home allows my brain to mellow a bit before arriving back home.
  • Own multiple chargers for my laptop – $35 for a charger instead of wasting brainpower and time to unplug/plug it at home and the office every day.
  • Use personal tech items that work conveniently even if it means giving up some geek credibility.
  • Code snippets in Azure Data Studio and VS Code – both out of the box and custom snippets created based on my workload.
  • Source control your folders of random scripts/code. Those commits are searchable and allow you a bit more context than thefileIneeded.txt for finding something again.
  • Starting a project with new concepts/technologies? Add a resources.txt file to keep links, code snippets, and helpful thoughts along the way for future knowledge transfer and KB article creation.
  • On Windows 10, WindowsKey+Shift+S starts a new screen grab and makes it quick to squirrel away screenshots for future blog posts or documentation.

Bonus February Fact

I find the leap day concept to be fascinating, where we have this time structure (calendar) that doesn’t match our revolutions around the sun so we add a day every 4 years… except when the centennial is not divisible by 400. Let’s just hope the code we all wrote that returns the length of February as 29 in the year 2100 isn’t still around as the year 2100 will not be a leap year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_year#Gregorian_calendar