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T-SQL Tuesday #009: An Ounce of Prevention

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This month’s T-SQL Tuesday, “T-SQL Tuesday #009: Beach Time” is hosted by Jason Brimhall (Blog/Twitter) aka the sqlrnnr.  The topic is: What do you do as a DB professional to earn a little “Beach Time?”  What do you do prior to “Beach Time” to ensure that the beach time will not involve work?

Most of my vacations involved traveling out of cell range, so my vacations are usually guaranteed to not be interrupted by work.  My college buddies and I go on an annual trip to Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park, my parents have a cabin on the Gunflint Trail in northern MN.  Being out of cell range is a bit more stressful than it sounds, but that’s why I’ve worked out a system to ensure things run smoothly when I’m gone.  My system is all based on taking care of things before I leave the office because – I believe it was Ben Franklin who said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

First, I always let the people who I’m working with know I’m going on vacation weeks before.  I tell them in meetings and email my boss once plans are firmed up and dates are set.  One thing at my current job which I couldn’t stand at first, but now I find useful is that we send out meeting requests to each other saying when we are out of the office.  The big keys to sending these out is to disable the reminder, set the time as free time and do not request responses.  This way it’s on other’s calendar as a reminder, but that’s about it.

Vacation

Next, and this is the hard one for me, at times, is I tell people no.  No, I can’t get this done before I leave.  No, I can’t make your meeting, I’m finishing up Project A.  etc.  I also decline all meetings and block out my calendar (set to busy) for the days I’m going to be gone.

Finally, I’m a big list maker.  I usually list out what I’ve got to do everyday, when I’m going on vacation I’ll add a column to my list and put a secondary name by it.  I go over everything I can with the secondary person, so they know what’s going on and if there is an issue while I’m away, they can be contacted.  Because I’m a list maker, I’ve also got a checklist of “Things to do for Vacation”.  Most of the items are for issues with specific environmental tasks around here, but the big one is to turn on my out of office assistant.  I did forget once and had a few of upset users know the best way to get a hold of me is via email and I wasn’t responding.

These things don’t really take too much time to do.  If you do these simple things, there will be not only less hassle when you get back in the office – making your vacation stick a bit longer, but also it will give you a chance to fully relax when your on vacation.  It’s just an ounce of prevention!

Sunset Quetico July 2000

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