Robert Scoble has a blog post entitled Halfway through my blog vacation (change in comment policy)
But, mostly, this past week was about change.
Some things I've changed? 1) No more coffee. 2) No more soda. 3) Xercising.
4) No more unhappy people in my life. 5) Get balance back in my own life.
One of my most memeorable conversations, though, was with Buzz Bruggeman, CEO
of ActiveWords and a good friend. He told me to hang around people who are
happy. And I realized I had been listening to too many people who were deeply
unhappy and not bringing any value into my life. He told me to listen to this
recording on NPR about "finding happiness in a Harvard Classroom." He also
told me about the four
agreements, which are Don Miguel Ruiz's code for life. Good stuff.
Over the past year I've been on a mission to simplify my life piece
by piece. Along the line I've made some promises to myself which I've
kept and others which have been more difficult to stick with.
Health: I enrolled in the 20/20 Lifestyles program
in the health club near Microsoft about six months ago. Since then I've
lost just over 60 pounds (27.5 kilos for my metric peeps). This week is
my last week with my personal trainer and dietician before I'm on my
own. I had hoped to lose more weight but last month was somewhat
disruptive to my schedule with my mom being in town for two weeks and
travelling for ETech 2006, SPARK and New York to see my dad. I am
somewhat proud that I gained less than 2 pounds even though my schedule
was complete mess. I've kept two promises to myself about my health;
I'll work out 5 days a week and will keep my daily caloric intake to
within 2000 calories a day 5 days a week [but never over 3000 calories
in one day]. The excercise promise has been easy to keep but the diet
promise has been harder than I've liked. Eating out is the hard part. Giving up soda for water was easier than I thought.
Work/Life Balance: I also decided to be better at
compartmentalizing my work and home life. I promised myself not to
spend more than 10.5 hours a day at work [in by 9AM, out by 7-7.30 PM
at the latest] and to stop using the VPN to connect to work when I'm at
home. I've also tried to stop checking work email from home on weekday
evenings and will check it only once a day on weekends. If I'm in
crunch mode for a particular deadline then this may chaneg temporarily.
Last week I averaged about 14 hours a day at work because I had a
deadline I wanted to hit for Friday. However I didn't want this to mean
I got home late since I value spending dinner time with my girlfriend
so I left for work much earlier in the day last week. This week I'm
back to my regular schedule.
Professional Work Load: Last year, I worked on lots of things I was interested in simultaneously. I worked on the social networking platform for Windows Live, replacing MSN Member Directory with MSN Spaces Profiles,
photo storage for Windows Live services from MSN Spaces to Windows Live
Expo, and a bunch of other stuff which hasn't shipped so I can't
mention here. This was just the stuff my boss had me working on. There
was also stuff I was interested in that I just worked on without being
explicitly told to such as organizing efforts around the
MSN Windows Live developer platform (see http://msdn.microsoft.com/live
AND keeping the spark alive on us getting an RSS platform built for
Windows Live. This was a lot of stuff to try to fit into a workday
besides all the other crap that fits into your day (meetings, meetings,
meetings). At my last review, I got some feedback that some folks on my
team felt they weren't getting my full attention because I spent so
much time on 'extracurricular' activities. Although I was initially
taken aback by this feedback I realized there some truth to it. Since
then I've been working on handing off some of the stuff I was working
on that wasn't part of my job requirements. Thanks in part to the
positive response to my ThinkWeek paper
there is now an entire team of people working on the stuff I was
driving around the Windows Live developer platform last year. You
should keep an eye on the blogs of folks like Ken Levy and Danny Thorpe
to learn what we have planned in this arena. The RSS platform for
Windows Live spark has now been fanned into a flame and I worked hard
to get Niall Kennedy to join us to drive those efforts. Realizing I can't work on everything I am interesed in has been liberating.
Geeking at Home: I've cut down on how much time I spend reading
blogs and don't subscribe to any mailing lists. Even on the blogs I
read, I try to cut down on reading comment sections that have more
negative energy than I can stomach which means skipping the comments
section of Mini-Microsoft blog most days of the week. Even at work, I
subscribe to only two or three distribution lists that aren't for my
team or specific projects I am working on. I don't plan to have
concurrent side projects going on at home anymore. I'll keep working on
RSS Bandit for the forseeable
future. Whenever there is a lull in development such as after a major
release, I may work on an article or two. However I won't have two or
three article drafts going at the same time while also being in bug
fixing mode which used to be the norm for me a year or two ago.
I wish Robert luck in his plan to simplify his life and improve his health.