Happy New Year – Now Go Make Your Bed

Happy New Year!

As we start this new year, I wanted to share a piece of advice that I’ve followed for the last few years, which has helped my mental state.

Make your bed.

Every day.

I know, it sounds simple, but it makes a surprising difference.

First off, you start the day with a “win”. You look at your neatly made bed and get a feeling that you’ve already accomplished something for the day. It puts you in the attitude that you are ready to tackle the next thing.

Now flip it. You are coming to bed after a long day. If you leave your bed unmade, you see a chaotic mess. The sheets are rumpled, it looks like a choppy ocean wave. It does not, to me anyway, look at all inviting.

If your bed was made though, it reminds you of a calm, tranquil lake. Soft, smooth, ready to relax in.

I also make my sheets fun by having a variety of colors. Over time I’d purchase a set with some extra pillowcases from my local big box store. I selected colors I could mix and match. Black, White, Blue, Green, Red, and Brown.

I also picked up some fleece covers to act as my bed spread in colors that complement the sheets. White, Red, Blue, Brown, and Gray. This lets me setup combos like Green and Gray, Black and Red, Black and White, Blue and White (as you can see in the photo at the top), you name it I have lots of fun combos that keep my bedroom looking fresh and different, just with combining sheets and blankets.

Again, I realize this sounds like an extremely simple thing. However, it’s a piece of advice I’ve seen many experts give so I decided to try it, and by golly it does make a difference in my outlook on the day.

Habits are interesting things, once you get them started it annoys you mentally when you skip them. Only rarely have I not made my bed, and that was usually because I was sick and in it. The other few times it was because I overslept and had to run out the door. Those times as soon as I got home I made it because it was mentally annoying me.

You can now build on this habit to improve other areas of your life. Perhaps putting your car keys in a specific spot so you don’t lose them, brushing your teeth, allocating time to update your blog, and more.

Try it, if nothing else you’ll have a nice neat bed.

T-SQL Tuesdays–Resolutions

There’s a new meme going around the SQL Server blogosphere called T-SQL Tuesdays. A bunch of SQL Bloggers all post about the same SQL related topic on the same day. Back at the beginning of January fellow MVP Jen McGown (blog | twitter) wrote a blog post about resolutions for the new year. Granted I’m way too late to be included in that round of SQL Server related Tuesdays, but thought it was a great idea and wanted to put up my resolutions. Since it’s February it’s a little late for new years, maybe we can call them Ground Hogs’ day resolutions?

Produce more variety – I’ve been doing a lot of content for Pluralsight, I want to continue putting out good content for them, but want to put out other content as well. I want to try and blog more, and hope to self publish a few books on the Kindle platform.

Consume more – As much as I love to produce content, I recognize that I need to do a better job of consuming more. My Kindle has been a big help with that, having a huge library available all the time has made it easy to switch between the subjects I want or need to learn about.

Balance my consumption – While I love technical books, I realize to be a true professional I need a good balance. I’ve started reading a lot of what I call “professional” books. Books that give me insights into things like business, community, time management, and teamwork.

Better balance of family life – Let’s face it, us really aggressive type A folks work a lot. When we’re not doing our 9 to 5 job we’re producing content like blog posts, books, videos, or are off at some user group meeting or weekend event presenting. This has a definite impact on the family. While my family is incredibly understanding, we still miss each other. So I’m working on some creative solutions to this issue.

Get my next certification – Last year I earned my MCTS for SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence. This year my goal is to advance that and earn my MCITP also in SQL Server BI.

More Beta work – The CTP for the next version of SQL Server is now out. I want to spend more time working with it so when the final version is ready I’ll be well up to speed, plus better able to share the new features with the community.

I suppose this list is identical to the list of many people. but if I put it in writing I’ll be able to both measure it and hold myself accountable.