I started a series of blog posts a few weeks ago where I wanted to focus on my lifestyle and how it relates back to work and SQL Server. The short of it is that I live and work out of my 40 foot camper, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In my first post I was really curious on how many people really wanted to hear more about this topic and what sort of information did people want to get from it. I was overwhelmed by the number of people that responded and the questions that came out of it. So for my first follow up post, I want to directly address Brent Ozar’s (T|B) questions. Here is a portion of what Brent had to say:
“How often do you hook up the trailer and move to another site?
Are you able to focus on work when your wife’s in the trailer, too? I have a tough time telecommuting when I can see/hear Erika, so it works really well when she’s at her day job. Once she’s home, I have to quit (or head out to a coffee shop).”
Well the first question is pretty easy to answer, or at least up to this point. How often do we move, well at this point it is only twice a year. We have what I am calling is my home base, that is Mountaindale located just south of Colorado Springs, Co. The campground itself has a really awesome history, and there is so much to just see and do, but that is a post for another time. This winter we choose to go Blythe, Ca. to a place that used to be a KOA and is now called the RivieraRVResort. We came here in the Fall about mid October, and we will head back to our home base in Colorado by April 1st. For the future, well not too sure yet. There have been some challenges with coming to Blythe, the biggest one as it relates to working from home is the internet connection. The service out here is done by accompany called SuddenLink. I have had non-stop issues with them not being able to keep my connection on-line and at the speed I pay for. In the future, I am going to have to do a lot more in depth research on internet connections before we set out on a new destination.
Brent’s second question is the one that I have really be thinking about a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean really thinking about it. One of the reasons that this questions was so hard was I really felt that for me to answer it properly I need to do a very truthful evaluation of myself.
Let me start by saying that the only way that this lifestyle works for me and my professional career, is get as much done here at home or in the camper, as I would sitting in an office. It sounds like a pretty easy thing to do, if you get a certain amount of work done in one location, no matter how you determine to measure it, that same amount if not more needs to be completed when I work remotely. I don’t think I am having too much difficulty doing that, I do think that I get more done when I work remote than when I am in the office. There are a few issues that I am working on solutions for, such as hallway architectures. When you are in an office, often you will get stopped in the hall, or in the break room, and discussions are had. Some of these are really valuable. I am working on this and I think I am making headway, there are a lot of shorter emails, instance messages, and phone calls then I had originally planned for. To directly answer the question that Brent asked, do I get distracted. You bet, there are times when I have to go kill the occasional spider, or help move a lizard out of the way so he doesn’t get hurt. Just a few nights ago, I was working on something and we heard a loud hoot noise, I spent the next hour running around watching a great horned owl. Even with those distractions, I find that I am spending more time in front of a computer than I ever have before. My concentration level has gone up, and I have been able to find the time to get some of those projects done that I have been wanting to do for years.
With that being said… I find there is a big swing in the other direction of this discussion. Because we are so limited on space, the kitchen table is my office, I have my laptop there and my wife has her laptop there. When it is 8:00 PM and dinner is done, the dishes have been cleaned and some mind numbing TV show is sucking my brain cells dry, I can see my laptop not 20 feet from me. If you are at all like I am, when you have a problem or challenge that you are working on, it is always there on your mind. It sits there when you are eating, going to sleep and even when I should be relaxing. These are the moments that distract me the most. I can see the laptop, the ideas are flowing, and it is just so easy to walk by the computer, sit down and start working on something. Next think I know, I have been sitting in front of my computer for 3 hours, the wife has gone to bed, the dog wants to go for a walk and the precious me time is gone. I think my outside of work life is impacted more than my work like.
There is a balance for sure, I have to make sure that I take time to go out to dinner, or go to the local race track for some entertainment. I have started taking a lot of pictures, and I want to really grow in the hobby, but this means that I need to set specific time for work and then for me and for my wife. The nature of what I do for a living will always have me working around the clock at time, this is something we know and expect, it happens sometimes I have to really focus to make sure that I know it is ok that if I got a good days’ worth of work in that I need to stop working, and start doing other things. When you are in an office, and you leave for the day, sure you may go home and fire up the laptop, but that specific action of leaving the office is a great mental separator between work and home. So far I think I am going well with managing this balance. Could I be better, sure. These distractions, go both ways for me. I am sure they do for Brent as well.