Administrivia – But I found my life again!

Yes, I did see a previous internal company blog posting with a similar title, but it is very fitting to what I’m currently doing, and where I’m at since starting Life 2.0.  Therefore, I “borrow” the title for my own Administrivia posting :).

Since coming on board to Barracuda Tools, I’ve been heads down porting DeliverPoint for an initial release for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and MOSS 2007 and have not come up for air all that often.   Starting last week however, I was finally able to get to the point where I feel my “Normal” daily routine will be at, and let me tell you how great a feeling it is.

My “Work” day begins pretty much when I get up in the mornings (Some days 5/6AM, someday’s a bit later).  After I’ve taken care of the necessary details and have had my first full cup of coffee, I immediately fire up my dev images and being working like a little beaver.  I generally stay in hard core coding mode till about 4PM (That is starting last week…before then, it was pretty late into the evenings almost every single evening).  At which point, I start phasing myself out.

What I mean by phasing myself out, is that I try to make sure I’ve got what ever major goal I needed to accomplish for the day taken care of; code checked in; any major internal emails made, etc so that at 4PM I’m basically “Done” with my “Day Job” for the day.  I then turn my focus to any household or honey do items I need to take care of, and “Monitor” work email and IM till about 6PM.   Sometimes I get my household chores done pretty quick, sometimes not, and sometimes I get involved in a work email thread or IM conversation for more than about 10 minutes or so, but the point is that after 4PM, I’m technically “Done” and the time between 4PM-6PM is really just tying any loose ends for anyone that may still be around.  I usually accomplish 1 major honey do item as well each day, but generally right at 6PM, I walk out of my home office, shut the door, and only go back in if I’m going to do something in regards to Music, or just fun personal projects etc.

Since I started doing this, I can’t express how much better its made me feel. 

Till 4PM It’s total work mode, and I would say on average I’ll still get roughly over 50 high quality work hours in each week.  (Yeah, there’s the occasional run out and perform a small errand during mid day or something, but I usually don’t take a “Lunch” break, and just eat as I work). 

The 4-6PM phase out is something I have to do…I’ve always found it very hard for me to “Disengage” from work, and actually “Enjoy” life outside of work.  Some days I can see an immediate phase out right at 4PM, some days it might be 6PM, but the point is, that my primary work day ends at roughly 4PM and I start to de-stress and think about things other than work during this time.  At 6PM for sure, I’m not even really thinking about work, or bogging myself down with what I need to get done, etc.

From 6PM thereon, I’m completely at the beck and call of my family.  I’m so disengaged from work and focused on my family at this point of time.  I’ve been able to take care of the little things that need to be taken care of at the house during my Phase Out time, that there isn’t much for me to do, but have dinner with the family; then relax; play with my 3 year old; take care of an errand for my wife; or whatever.  For the first time since I can remember, I’ve been at total peace with myself; relaxed; and thoroughly enjoying re-connecting with my family.  I have not been able to do this for a very; very; very long time.  I’ve finally found my work/life balance.

Now, mind you there will be days, in fact like today, where I don’t finish up at 4PM right on the dot.  In fact, I’ve been spending all day today with Administrivia, and due to a video driver glitch while rebuilding my laptop, it’s taken a bit longer today to get what I needed to accomplish done, but when things like this occur…I just open the door to my office to signal to my family that I can be disturbed.  Most of my administriva for today is a lot of hurry up and wait actions (Installs) so it’s no big deal, but by 6PM today, I guarantee that I will be walking out and won’t see it again till in the morning.

In this field, it’s pretty much impossible to not put in more than 40 hours a week doing your day job, and additional hours doing community type work, but it’s certainly possible to have a life outside of everything else too.  I thoughoughly enjoy what I do and with development against SharePoint.  Sometimes I just have way too much fun working into the evening on this cool new feature, but you also have to learn how to have fun outside of work.   I plan on learning how to have fun doing the following:

  1. I’ve got an XBOX 360 sitting upstairs that’s been basically collecting dust and I think I’m actually going to find some time to actually play it now these days :).
  2. I’m going to get caught up on “The Office“, and a couple other of my favorite shows. (I always watch BSG on Sunday evenings, no worries there :))
  3. I’m going to sit out on the front porch and watch the sunset often.
  4. I’m going to take my kid to the Park, and relax and not think about my troubles.

I’ve found my life, and I don’t plan on loosing it again.

– Keith Richie

7 thoughts on “Administrivia – But I found my life again!

  1. Hi Keith,

    A very thought provoking subject and one that lifted my attention, as a writer/broadcaster on sustinable living and the work/life balance.

    I think the secret to getting a firm grip on it, lies with ’embracing’ living with less. We have credit thrust upon us from every form of the media and it’s no wonder our kids think money really does come from a hole in the wall.

    I shot a short film which I’ve stuck on YouTube – have a look if you have a moment and let me know your thoughts.

    Keep it real, do it slow, make it green!
    Tracey Smith

  2. Tracey, I would have to completely agree. My friends and family always wonder why I don’t have the “latest/greatest” PC or gadget, or whatever, but it boils down to living with less as you say. I definately reward myself when the time is right, but I usually don’t rush out to get the newest thing because it’s the “Next big thing”.

    Strangely, I “AM” a very “NOW” person. It runs strong in my family, and there are those who shall remain nameless that will go out and immediately buy that item they just thought about because they have want it “NOW”. Only to realize that they’ve put themselves in a bind with it. I fight those cravings every single day 🙂

    Thanks for your wonderful comment :).

  3. we have been reading your post and noticed you question. We just introduced Kincafe- http://www.kincafe.com. This is for families to come together. Children can get updates about families.

    We just launched a family 2.0 social network. We would like to invite you for the review of the service and provide feedback to us at andy@kincafe.com
    Thanks
    Andy.

  4. I am thrilled to see you have “found [your] work/life balance”. I’m also thrilled with the opportunity to work with such a smart guy. As you know, “administrivia” just kills me. : )

  5. Want to start your private office arms race right now?

    I just got my own USB rocket launcher 🙂 Awsome thing.

    Plug into your computer and you got a remote controlled office missile launcher with 360 degrees horizontal and 45 degree vertival rotation with a range of more than 6 meters – which gives you a coverage of 113 square meters round your workplace.
    You can get the gadget here: http://tinyurl.com/2qul3c

    Check out the video they have on the page.

    Cheers

    Marko Fando

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