TSQL Tuesday #014: Resolutions

TSQL2sDay150x150It’s January. It’s the second Tuesday of the month. In the SQL world, that means it’s a TSQL Tuesday! This month’s edition is hosted by newly minted SQL Server MVP Jen McCown ( blog | @JenniferMcCown ) and the chosen topic is, “What technical resolutions have you been pondering, and why?”

I typically do not make New Year’s resolutions. My logic is simple: why make resolutions only on January 1? I can make them year round.   And so I do make resolutions throughout the year. Some hold better than others, just like New Year’s resolutions for most. Interestingly, this year I did make a resolution over my holiday break, which included January 1, so this is timely.

Without further ado, my resolution for 2011 is to find balance…and yes, this is a technical resolution.


I have a problem with balance. Not the kind that keeps me upright, but with things that I need and want to do in my life. The root cause of this balance, I believe, is my inability to do anything half way. When I was learning to play tennis, the guy who was trying to teach me to play would get frustrated because I tried to hit the ball as hard as I could every single time. He told me I needed to learn how to hit at 50%. I don’t “do” 50%. It’s all or none.

Thus, when I became involved in the SQL Community last year, I jumped in without looking and tried to do it all. I created a blog, I got to go on SQLCruise, I started going to my user group meetings, I went to the PASS Summit, I volunteered for two Virtual Chapters and I volunteered to help with our SQLSaturday. Oh, I still have a job, and a wonderful husband, and two kids, and a dog, and a house to look after, and relationships to maintain.

Needless to say, some things didn’t fare so well. I didn’t sleep enough. I didn’t exercise like I wanted and needed to, I didn’t stay in touch with my friends as much as I would have liked. I struggled. Part of me screams, “I want to do it all!” The other part wisely says, “Be patient.” My mother says, “The most important thing in your life is your husband. Then your kids.” She also tells me, “This time when your kids are young goes fast, try to enjoy it.” And she is right.

I had many discussions with myself over my vacation. That’s a funny image I know, but it’s true. I probably thought about it too much, but it really came down to this: How can I be part of the community and contribute at a level that makes me happy, without sacrificing time for my family or for myself? Other people must do it. Or maybe no one is doing it well but no one is talking about it. The conclusion I came to over break is: I have no idea how to find the perfect balance. But I will figure it out. That’s my goal for 2011: to find the balance between my personal life, which I love, and my techincal life, which I love. Family will always win out over anything else, but I know that I need time to do “my thing,” that which makes me happy. Balance.

13 Responses to TSQL Tuesday #014: Resolutions
  1. Matt Velic
    January 11, 2011 | 12:59 pm

    I understand this completely. Especially being on the new side of things, I find that I’m pushing myself almost non-stop throughout the week, and I feel to the detriment of my family and friends at times. But I think it’s good that we realize the issue and can work towards finding a better balance. It’s something that I mention in my T-SQL Tuesday post which is coming out a little bit later this morning.

  2. Erin Stellato
    January 11, 2011 | 1:45 pm

    Good to know I’m not alone. Sometimes I wonder how everyone else manages to find the balance! I can’t keep up. But I realized that it’s not about keeping up, it’s about finding what works for us. Always a learning process 🙂

  3. Grant Fritchey
    January 11, 2011 | 1:56 pm

    You could always do what I do, although I don’t recommend it. Do everything, but do a lot of it badly.

    The fact is, things have to give. I used to be heavily involved with the Freemasons, but I had to stop. My karate training has suffered.

    You’re on the money here. You can only do so much, so you have to pick & choose and prioritize. It’s hard to say “no,” especially to people you know, like and admire, but sometimes you have to do it.

  4. Erin Stellato
    January 11, 2011 | 2:32 pm

    I feel like I have been doing a lot of things badly. There’s just not enough time! So yes, things definitely have to give, I just have to figure out what. And I have to be more disciplined. And I have to make sleep and exercise a priority. When I have those, I can do SO much more.

    It *is* nice to know that I’m not alone 🙂 Here I thought you were Superman!


  5. Jen McCown
    January 11, 2011 | 8:56 pm

    I had to share my thoughts early (this will be in the T-SQL Tuesday roundup):

    I agree, and this has been on my mind lately, too. To put in my $0.02: Work-life balance, like physical balance, is a series of continuous adjustments. Here’s to both of us staying close to center in 2011, Erin.

    And a bit more: I don’t think that balance is something that gets perfected…it’s a skill you hone over time. I’ve overbalanced too far on one side, and then on the other side, in 2010…but I don’t think I’ve fallen down too many times.

  6. Erin Stellato
    January 12, 2011 | 1:43 am

    You are exactly right, Jen. There is no one magic thing we need to do to find balance. The phrase “continual adjustments” is spot on – it’s exactly what happens in the body when you stand, muscles are making tiny adjustments all the time to keep you upright (hey look, some of that college education coming through).
    It will never be perfect, I will never be perfect, but I have to work to find a way to do it better, and let it occupy less space in my head 🙂

    Thanks for your sharing thoughts, here’s to a successful and balanced 2011!

  7. WayneS
    January 12, 2011 | 2:44 am

    You said a lot of very important things. But it’s what you didn’t say that resonates with me… if you don’t find that balance, and you continually do everything at 100%, and don’t say no, and… and … and… you’ll end up with… burnout.

    IMO, priorities should be: 1)God, 2)spouse, 3) family, 4)work, 5) everything else. Feel free to occasionally move stuff from #5 to #4.

  8. Mike Reigler
    January 12, 2011 | 1:54 pm

    I’m not sure I’m in a good position to comment right about now, but I will anyway. Changing jobs has caused me to put a lot of stuff I wanted to do on hold. But I think that’s part of the balance. Sometimes things come up and you have to put other things on hold.

    One way I think I have been able to help balance life is to combine some things so we do them together. I took my wife on SQL Cruise. We made SQL Saturday in Columbus a little 4 day family vacation and went to Kings Island and COSI. When I did my mini-tri we made it another 4 day vacation and hit lake michigan for the weekend. I like the kids to see us accomplishing goals and having fun doing it.


  9. Noel
    January 13, 2011 | 12:56 am

    Erin, I actually find it admirable just that you are trying to seek balance. My balance problem is that I don’t inherently want it… I can (and have) focus everything that is my being on one thing for very long periods of time. That’s a behavior that feels natural to me. However, I’ve been told it’s not a good thing. So for me, participating in the SQL Server community was a way to find rewarding activities and awesome people that would make me want to spread out a bit.

  10. Erin Stellato
    January 13, 2011 | 12:06 pm

    I didn’t think of mentioning what happens if I don’t find balance. I guess because, in my head, I know: I will be miserable. To me, there is no option. I *have* to find it. Otherwise, as you said, I will burn out and that is not what I want to happen at all… Good reminder to move 4 and 5 around 🙂

  11. Erin Stellato
    January 13, 2011 | 12:09 pm

    I agree, you do have to put things on hold. I just have not been putting the right things on hold. While my family hasn’t been complaining, I have spent less them focused on them. And I know it’s not about quantity, it’s quality. Every time I am with the kids during the week (because that time is really very short between work and bedtime), I remind myself that this is sacred time. I like the idea of taking the kids with us to events – they are finally getting to the age where I am ready for that 🙂


  12. Erin Stellato
    January 13, 2011 | 12:11 pm

    I would argue that if that behavior feels natural to you, and it’s not adversely affecting your relationships or basic things in life that *have* to get done, then I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. That may be the right thing for you.
    These decisions depend on life circumstances and personality, right? No one answer for everyone…it depends 🙂


  13. Kendra Little
    January 19, 2011 | 5:47 pm

    In all things, eventually you have to pick and choose some things over others.

    I hope you choose to keep blogging! Because I really enjoy reading your posts.

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