New Product Launched, But Life Is Still Crazy

I’ve already mentioned that for the past several weeks, the workload was ginormous. All the efforts were geared towards launching a new product and then making sure everything works as expected.
Launching a new product was a big deal, and in the pre-pandemic times, we would have a big celebration.

Since we are effectively remote these days, with only a very sporadic appearance f people in the office, our leadership team came up with a very special way of celebrating our success. Each of us received a FedEx delivery of a limited edition champaign bottle, and on Friday after work, we had an online event. Our CEO talked about our plans for the rest of the year and the next year, and then people with different business functions talked about their challenges during these weeks.

And after that, we had a remote toast:

Continue reading “New Product Launched, But Life Is Still Crazy”

Work And More Work

On Wednesday morning, we submitted one more book chapter. Now we are half-through by the page count, and almost half-through by chapters. If not for the work crisis, which is going on for almost three weeks now, this chapter could be enjoyable. I mean, it was, but not without drama :).

I am very tired, I do not have time for any human activities, but I know that I am doing the right things. Unfortunately, I can’t share publicly most of the work things, but I am confident that I am doing everything the right way/ I just need a second life 🙂

A Short Description Of The Past Several Days

Working around the clock on a critical project at work (launching tomorrow 6-30 AM). Around the clock – literally. At the same time – trying not to miss a next chapter deadline with our book (had to ask for three days extension). The past nine days were the planning miracles because I managed to get it all done and have this Art Institute outing.

Today was all work, with no lunch break and no coffee breaks (all in front of the computer). Then, I went to my neighbor who lost her daughter, and when I came back, I saw more messages on the work slack. Which I am going to ignore for now because I need to do a couple of personal things, and I also need to prepare some teaching materials for tomorrow. OK, I didn’t ignore them :). But I told them, that I can’t allow this thing to go to production:).

And now I am going to spend the next forty minutes doing stuff fo myself, and another forty minutes to prepare teaching materials.

We Did It!

On Sunday, we finally submitted Chapter 5, and I feel so good about it, I can’t even describe it! In the past ten days, I was so focused on that chapter that I could hardly think about something else.
I mean, I did many other things; I saw two movies, and I was at the Art Institute, and I went to the shelter, and yes, I worked. You can say that I did a variety of things, but to be honest, I felt guilty doing “anything else.”

I could not understand why this chapter takes so much time and effort until Saturday when I looked at the page count and realized that this chapter was almost as long as the previous four! No wonder!
I felt better right away :).

I have to admit that I didn’t challenge our delivery schedule because we do not have that much wiggling room until the end of the year anyway. I thought that a day here and a day there does not make a difference. And I hardly looked at the estimated chapters sizes.

The most time-consuming part was that I had to rework all of the examples, and several times through this process, I would find problems with our generated data. Then, I had to stop building examples and ask Boris to generate new data, and then I had to reload several tables and start over. And Anna had to do all her edits after we are done, and we were not done until the last moment. I am so thankful to Boris and Anna for their heroic efforts in the past several days!

We did it! And we did it well!

And we have eleven more chapters to go :).

It Does Not Feel Like a Weekend

I made a usual mistake of the long weekend – it felt like I can do everything when I have an additional day off. The most pressing thing was the next chapter of the book. The chapter which is due next is huge and very technical. You might think that “technical” is good because it is fewer words to write and more code to explain. But the problem is that with this book, I can’t use any of my previous examples! Everything has to be rewritten in our new training database. 

That means that each paragraph requires stopping, creating a new index, running an example, saving the code of the index, code of the example, execution plan, formatting everything nicely, and writing a new explanation because the tables are different. Each and the single paragraph.

I sort of forbade myself to write anything except of this chapter for the past three days. I was thinking about taking Friday off (it was the last summer Friday, so I could take just one vacation day and have the whole Friday off). But I thought that then chances are, I will have to do work over the weekend, and then what’s the point of taking a day off? 

Indeed, this half-Friday was very intense, I didn’t have a moment to waste, but now I can’t imagine how I will finish everything tomorrow. 

I have a couple of things I have to do tomorrow except of writing, so it won’t be like writing for 16 hours, and I think I will be able to finish. But I was hoping that there will be at least something else during this long weekend.

Well, nobody asked me to get involved. Or maybe somebody asked, but nobody forced me to agree!

Every Evening…

The only thing I can write today is, “I have no time to write anything, except for what’s related to the book.” I was expecting things to be like this, but it is still quite an uncomfortable feeling of “all the time I have should be spent on writing.” The first two chapters are especially hard because there is almost no code, just words. Also, it took us a ginormous time to build the test data, and we are not done. In the past two days, I’ve changed my mind about how the tables should look at least six times. And each time it means changing the DDL, recreating the schema on m local, regenerating the ERD in Navicat, exporting to PNG, and re-inserting the picture. Only to realize that I forgot to change one more thing :).

Yes, I wanted it, 🙂 But I can’t imagine it will be like that for five more months! I hope I will have some life!

A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (III)

When I was planning my long weekend, I planned for a long bike ride on Monday morning. Then, the forecast showed rain at 6 AM. I thought I will wait, but then I thought – what if it won’t rain at six, and instead will rain at eight? What a fool I would be then! I left at 5-40, and yes, the rain started at 6-05 :), so I had to come back. But after breakfast, it was beautiful outside, and I went for the longest bike ride of this season. Actually, I do not think I ever took such a long ride all by myself. I was not even sure how the paths are going where I was planning to go :). And I had a great time!

Continue reading “A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (III)”

Spending Time: a Book Review

I am two months behind on blogging about the books I read, life takes precedence, and there is no time for anything else. However, keeping a promise to myself and others, I am still trying to catch up on my past reading. Below is a short review of the book Spending Time – The Most Valuable Resource, which I read back in February. 

As it often happens, the title and the annotation promised more than the book delivered; however, I do not regret I read it. As my friends now, I take pride in using my time wisely because I always want to do more things than time permits. As a result, I deeply regret that I do not have Hermione’s Time Turner, and continuously search for a substitute of it :).

Each time somebody promises me that they have a secret of getting more done within the same time slot, I am ready to jump in. 

This book does not provide any magic solutions. However, I was very curious about the time dairies which people participating in the research were filling in. I want to know where does my time goes! Once, when my co-worker told us about the Clokiefy app, which she uses to track her time spent on the projects, I decided to try to use it to trace my time in general. 

It didn’t work, and after a little bit over a week, I gave up. It took too much time to record every ten minutes spent on something. The classification of time usage had quickly become very complicated, and I was having a hard time recording activities that I was doing in parallel with others. But it looks like the time dairies mentioned in that book worked perfectly. I would love to be called to participate in such research! 

One particular observation caught my attention. The author was saying that the more money a person makes, the more activities are becoming available (yes, that was “before the war”). At the same time, a person does not have time to participate in these activities because… well, because they spend all their time working! 

At that time, I thought that there is a lot of wisdom in that statement, but now I am not sure. The quarantine cut all my massive volunteering work, on all cultural events, which were either canceled or moved online. And still, I feel like I need twice more time to do all the things I want to do. So it looks like it is something else :).

I know that I do not have time to email, or call, or to FaceTime many of my friends, and I often find myself talking to them in my mind, while I am doing something else. I do not have enough time to document what’s going on in the world these days. And I do not have enough time to do all the professional – non-work things. I will keep trying 🙂

Sleep and Time Management

Back in Cyprus, during my conversation with the local organizer, I told him I had one complaint about the hotel – the fitness center opens at 8 AM. He looked at me with amazement and asked: and when do you go to workout? I shrugged: at 5 AM. He looks at me inquiringly: when do you sleep? And since I hesitated for a moment, he continued: or are one of those people who do not want to waste time on sleep because there are better things to do?… I nodded: precisely! He continued: oh, I know! I once had a girlfriend like this; I couldn’t stay long with her, I need my sleep! We broke up!

Mind you, that conversation was happening next to Boris and before this gentleman said that my husband is lucky:)

Nevertheless, one resolution I made when in Cyprus was to get my sleep back. First, for a very long time, I was sleeping 4 – 4.5 hours a day, and that was way too little even for me. Second, while monitoring my sleep when I did not need to be ready by a specific time, I figured out that my natural sleep need had shifted a little bit. Instead of the previous 5 – 5.5 hours, I now need 5.5-6 hours. And trust me, this is not a fictional difference. 

Since I still want to be up at 4-30, because it fits my schedule better, I resent my evening alarm to 10 PM, which means I am up from my computer at 10 PM, no matter what. The maximum delay is to finish a paragraph. Since I still may need to get my tomorrow’s lunch and/or breakfast ready and to get prepared to sleep in general, that means I am in bed between 10-30 and 11, not close to midnight or past midnight, as it used to be in November – mid-January. So far, ten days after I returned from Cyprus, it really works. 

That’s to the fact, that a New Year resolution does not have to be attached to January 1 

Life is Still Crazy

This week was even worse than previous. Although I work through most of the weekend, I didn’t have enough time to prepare for all of the training I wanted to run this week in the office. Thereby I constrained myself to not doing anything, except necessities, and spend each and a single minute I had “extra” on the training development. 

I didn’t help much (maybe partially because, in reality, I was doing something extra, like going to the performance of Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra on Tuesday). So now, at 11:15 PM, I have a little bit more than half of tomorrow’s training ready. I’ve already booked 2.5 hours tomorrow morning to complete it, but I am ashamed of myself. 

Still, today after work as was at the Open Door Shelter. Last week, a group of youth from the Open Door Shelter had a field trip to the Christkindle Market, and I asked to message me when they will be close – my work is just a block away. We had a really great time at the market. One of the girls mentioned how much she loves German potato pancakes, and I told her we can make them next time. 

Today was the next time:), and we peeled and grated 10 lb of potatoes, and made beautiful potato pancakes. And I had truly amazing conversations with some of the youth. And when I was walking out of the shelter, thinking about these conversations and smiling, I felt that this is something I can never let to disappear from my life…