Thursday, March 31, 2011

Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

Started this like a week ago and never got it posted.

I think I've talked about this before - feeling like I'm in a rut, feeling like I'm waiting for something.  I'm not exactly complaining, it's a nice rut.  But it feels like it's a holding pattern.  I'm not just going through the motions, but I am certainly engaged in the exact same motions day after day.  I feel like there's a "someday," a future when -- not all, but enough -- changes.  But I don't know what, I don't know why, I don't know when, and I don't know how.

It's a very weird place to be in.  Because I'm not exactly unhappy with where I am.  And I'm not restless.  I'm not sitting here going "C'mon already."  I just feel like there's something more or something different.

How better than to look at my current day.  (Or skip past it as it's probably boring and more than you'd like to know.)


6:00 am - alarm goes off.  Option 1 - get up, do body test and do walk 30-40 minutes on Wii Fit while doing something on laptop (like Google Reader or this post which you'll see in a few days).  Check email.  Check stupid game on iPhone.. Option 2 - turn off the alarm, turn on the second alarm which goes off at 6:30 am.  Body test on Wii Fit.   In both cases, power down the laptop, go back upstairs and wake up Rachel.

6:40 am-7:10 am (approximately) - head upstairs and shower, squeegee the walls, gel in the hair, brush teeth, get dressed.

7:20-7:40 am (approximately) - get in car.  Snap the iPhone into holder, plug in, turn on music.  Drive the same way to work.  (Optional - stop at Fred Meyer for more oatmeal or Fred Meyer Fuel for gas for the car or Post Office to check post office box.)

7:50 am - arrive at work having driven essentially the same route as the day before the day before the day before.  Highlight - takes me through an area where they're reconstructing an overpass and I get to see all the construction workers.  Compelled to pray for their safety.  Park way away from building.  Long walk to building.

8 am - unload bag, snap in laptop.  Monday-Thursday - change from tennis shoes to dress shoes.  Take two mugs and two packets of oatmeal to coffee service and make oatmeal and coffee.  Return to desk.  Computer has booted up.  Sign in.  Click on the space shuttle icon that starts all of my programs, sweeps any clutter off the computer's desktop and makes a backup of a file I use daily.  Eat my oatmeal, drink my first cup of coffee.  Check out MSNBC and read through my email.

8:30 am - Monday, Thursday, Friday - devotions.  On M&F it will be 30 minutes at most.  On R it's a much bigger affair with a much larger team and also includes a business meeting.  Way too many people in a small area and it makes me anxious so I stand at the back so there's less people around me.  Lots of people checking their iPhones including the guy whose meeting it is.

9 am - "Office Hours" - like a college prof., I've blocked that time every day on my calendar (well, at 9:30 on Thursdays).   This is time each day when people can expect me to be at my desk so they can drop in and find me without needing to schedule a meeting with me.  I also try to get some email done during this time period.  If it's low priority, I'll write the email and then just save as draft.  If people call me, I'm most likely to let it go to voicemail and wait for the transcription of the call before emailing or calling them back.

Then, most days either have meetings or they have time I've booked with myself to work on specific projects.  At least half of that time I don't get to work on the projects and end up dragging the item to the next day on my calendar.  A big portion of my time is email.  Followed by handling new requests that come in.  Often they are fuzzy and incomplete and I spend a lot of time trying to hunt down missing requirements.  I say that if I can't fully understand the request and how to solve for it, I can't estimate how long it will take a developer or which developer to assign it to.

Noon - lunch.  If the weather's nice, I'll take a walk around the building. Working my way through a backlog of magazines.

Then, back at it.  If it's Thursday, I have 4 or 5 30 minute meetings with my staff.  This allows me to get up-to-30 minutes in with each member of my team every other week.  Sometimes, that may be the majority of the contact I get with them in any two-week period.  Especially the guys who work for me in Montana and Colorado.  In a few months, two of my team will give birth. I've asked for help from my boss on getting some temps or something but so far nothing.  I've also just asked for help in general but so far nothing.

If it's Friday, I have to look over all the requests that have come in that week and determine how many developer hours I'll have the following week.  If I have enough developer hours, it'll be a snap to assign all the work (the following week) but if I don't, there's a lengthy process to gather up all of the requests and distill them down so that I can take them to my boss and his peers and their boss on Monday so they can prioritize so I know which ones to assign and which ones to let slide to the following week.  I could mostly do this myself, but sometimes their choices surprise me, and it deflects any frustration over unassigned work off of me and onto them.

4-5 pm - another set of "Office Hours" - my calendar is again blocked to requests so that I can try to get some more email done, also so that people can find me.  I'm more likely to answer calls here, unless there's someone already standing at my desk.  I think that's so rude when you're talking to someone and their phone rings and they take that call.   I usually leave.   Or I'm less likely to even go to their desk in the future with questions, either Skyping or waiting for them to come to me.  And if I get a call, I make a big deal out of not taking the call and letting them know it's my attention they deserve and that the caller will email or Skype or leave a message if it's urgent.

5-5:30 - Going over my task list in Remember the Milk, doing some reading in Google Reader. A chance to decompress and transition from work to home. Long walk to the car. Listen to a Saddleback podcast while heading home.

6-7:30 - Family time. Dinner, playing with the children. Maybe some light chores like running some laundry.

7:30-8ish - Kids off to bed.

8-9ish - More chores... shaving, folding and putting away laundry, cleaning in the kitchen. Listening to music or watching some TED Talks.

9ish-11 - Watching TV with Lori and exercising (she on the exercise bike, me doing freestep on the Wii Fit) and playing on the computer.

11 - Getting ready for bed. Read.

Midnight - sleep.

Next verse, much like the first.

I do get to sleep in more on Saturday, but up at the same time on Sunday.

But, yeah, it feels a little repetitive.

I've been trying to figure out when it's going to change.  I have some ideas, but it's all a bunch of somedays... when the children are a little older and can feed themselves.... do more of getting themselves to bed...  when I've had time to clean the family room.. when I've had time to build my office underneath the deck... when I'm done exercising and magically stuck at my goal weight.. when I've gotten caught up on the TED Talks... when my Google Reader is empty... yeah... I can't figure out what changes, but I think at some point things change. I just can't figure it out.
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