Customer Relationship Management, Mobile and Tablet Marketing

Does Keeping Up Mean Staying Home?

I love music, but I’ve not been to a concert in years.
I love sports, but I’ve not played in years (and my girth is beginning to show it).
I love great food, but I eat garbage.
I love theater, but haven’t seen a show since I lived in Denver.
I love going out for a beer, but I’ve only been out a couple times in the last year.
I love movies, but seldom go.
I hate exercising, so I work non-stop instead. And it shows!

My Health

PC Gamer BikeWhile meeting with a couple local businessmen, one of them talked about how refreshing his day started – he wakes up early and bicycles 20+ miles. I used to actually ride a lot… I love bicycling (though I’m not sure La-Z-Boy makes a bike seat). We joked that we really need a way to build out a computer with pedals. Guess what, there actually is something similar! Tony Little is on top of it with the PC Gamer Bike! That’s not really the answer, though, is it? Bring my exercise to my work because my work consumes my life? I think not.

My Community

Later today, I was chatting with Julie and Julie started mentioning all the local hotspots for music, art, and fun. I’m coming up on 5 years in Indianapolis and I was absolutely embarrassed that I had really not experienced any of the great things that she had. As Julie went down the list… Yat’s, White River State Park, Eagle Creek, The Verizon Ampitheatre, the Eiteljorg Museum, The Indianapolis Zoo, The Indiana State Museum, and a ton more… I hadn’t been to any. I have been to the Children’s Museum, some AAA Indian’s baseball games, a couple Pacers games and a couple Colts games… but that’s it.

Indiana State MuseumIn my mission to build out a fantastic blog and become a great technologist, I’ve really neglected the very things that I love the most! For 5 years now I’ve given my days, nights and weekends to my employers – and worked on my blog in between. Not a day goes by that I have someone at work or in my network pinging me for assistance, and I love giving it. I almost never say no. As I wrote this post, I assisted a young friend of my sons in setting up a MySQL database on his system using XAMPP. I look forward to helping him much more in the coming year – he’s asked me to be his mentor for his senior project developing a web application.

My Network

I’ve acclimated everyone around me that that’s why I’m here and that’s what I’m good for. Rarely does the occasion happen where I think I’m being used. It is going to be an uphill battle to change peoples’ expectations of me. I want to continue assisting where needed, but not at the expense of my personal life.

BluWhen I was out in San Jose a year ago, I was absolutely impressed at how the tech sector keeps active socially. On any given night, there were get-togethers all over the city. I listened as people talked about which place they just left, or said hello to someone they had seen a couple weeks before at another event. Many folks went to shows, restaurants, or other events together. Indianapolis, as far as I know, is lacking the ‘tech night-life’. I know we’ve got SQL, .NET and Flex users’ groups here locally but these are yawnathons. A bunch of folks sitting in a room watching a bad Powerpoint (I’m one of those guys… I’ve been juicing up my Intro to Blogging powerpoint the last couple weeks) doesn’t really interest me.

The closest I get to excitement is attending a local Indianapolis Book Club. Holy crap, I must be 80 years old! The highlight of my social networking (real, not virtual) is a freakin’ Book Club? My good friends Bill and Carla are preparing for a cruise to Europe, and I’m trying to catch up on some reading. “Earth to Doug… this isn’t working!”.

My Future

Folks ask how I keep up with technology like I do. Well? I think it’s becoming clearer how I accomplish that, isn’t it? I neglect absolutely everything else in my life. I could literally have an office in Aniak, Alaska, and have just as active a lifestyle. So – here’s the million dollar question:

Does keeping up mean staying home?

Don’t take this as a ‘poor me’ post – it’s quite the opposite. I set goals for myself and my blog and I’m successfully attaining them. I’m just not sure I set the healthiest goals! It’s time for some change.

DougI can keep up and not stay home. I’m going to start working on that immediately. I’m not compensated for nights and weekends so I think it’s time I stop giving them away for free. No more email, no more documentation. I’m going to a show! I’m also going to ride my (stationary) bike in the morning. And tomorrow I’m leaving work early to go spend some time with my daughter! And… perhaps a date or two is on the horizon.

Thanks to Julie for the idea for this post!!!

27 Comments

  1. 1

    Doug,

    Thanks again for all the help you’ve given me. It’s highly appreciated. I think I was pretty lucky to find someone in my area who could give as much insight as you do.

    I look forward to next year as well; although, on the list of projects that are not acceptable for next year’s senior project is making a website. I’m not 100% sure if this will include what I plan on doing, but I hope not.

    Lastly, thanks for being a dedicated blogger. As you know, I read your blog everyday, and it has become my main source of guidance.

    • 2

      Stephen,

      You’re a great student. I love how much effort you put in before you contact me… it shows a lot of initiative.

      And you’re very welcome! I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with. You know, I met the kid who developed Eventful and he was your age. I have no doubt you’ll be well beyond my capabilities in no time!

      Doug

      • 3

        Doug,

        That would be great in the sense of self-improvement, but then I would have no one go to for help. Haha. As long as you’re always there for a second opinion.

  2. 4

    I’ve sat here for a good 10-15 minutes just taking in everything you wrote. Man, this is a deep post but full of honesty and incite into the man behind the blog.

    I’m a lot like you Doug by putting almost all my awake time as well as one eye open time into work and projects.

    Something I learned a while ago is something you mention here in your post. Geeks like us need to get up and walk away from the computer for a little while.

    Now I’m not saying that I go bike riding for 20 miles like your friend but I do try and step away from the computer a couple times a day to go for a small walk. It helps stretch my legs and back and it does get the blood flowing.

    I highly recommend you try the same thing, even if it’s a little walk down the street and back. Every little bit helps.

    As for your personal life, that’s really cool about a date or two being on the horizon, just make sure if she’s not a geek and I mean that in the best way possible, leave your PocketPC at home or turn off notifications.

    Give your date the full attention that you would to a coding project.

    Your future seems bright Doug. We all have to go through ups and downs in life and work. It builds character and boy we have some of that 🙂

    Good luck in a life, love and work. I mean that from the heart Doug.

    I’m glad we’ve become friends, even with ups and downs, what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger…

  3. 5

    All good things in moderation. Nuff said.

    And I am humbled that I put the bee in your bonnet to step away and enjoy yourself. There really is so much that is great about Indy! The people in this city are spectacular and our world would be a better place if we all enjoyed your surroundings more. Changing the world starts with changing YOUR world.

  4. 6

    @Julie: I didn’t know Doug wore a bonnet 🙂

    Thank you for helping Doug get motivated to take of himself. That’s awesome.

    I agree 100%, all good things in moderation.

    Now, if we can get a picture of Doug wearing said bonnet, my day would be complete… hehe.

    • 7

      LOL. I will work on that pic. I’m sure some of my graphic artist buddies with mad Photoshop skills could help me out if DK won’t be a willing participant. Now, I just realized that by the “bee in the bonnet” phrase I completely let the cat out of the bag that I’m a country gal posing as a city girl in this fine place.

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    • 10

      Cycleputer comes out and we may have to talk! There’s a local guy here that has a stationary with a 6 panel display… I saw a pic in the newspaper once. He, of course, also has his own full time systems engineer for his home.

  6. 11

    “My pics with bonnets were destroyed long ago, before the days of the web.”

    So I guess that I shouldn’t post the one of you back in your Navy days wearing the bonnet? You were too drunk to remember but man, you were a hoot 🙂

  7. 12

    Hi Doug,

    Great post, and you’re absolutely right. I’m currently working on my PhD and starting a business at the same time, so i’m right with you in being tempted to hunker down for a week at a time in front of my computer. Two years ago, my wife and i (oh yeah, and i’m married) determined that we’d set aside “non-negotiable” time for each other (we’ve not missed a friday night date in 2 years), and for exercise (i exercise at least 1/2 hour per day). Here are a few things i’ve done that work very well. Maybe they’ll be useful for anyone out there struggling with this:

    1. i try and store up any reading i have to do, then print it off and read while on a stationary bike for 1/2 hour. this takes a little getting used to, but it a) keeps me awake while reading scientific papers and b) kills 2 birds with one stone (work and exercise)

    2. if i’m stuck on a particularly sticky problem that requires thinking, i head out for a run, a quick workout at the gym, or a quick game of basketball, and specifically think about that topic as i go. it’s amazing what perspective can be gained thinking about something in a different setting, and with endorphins running a little higher.

    3. my mentor conducts walking meetings, and i’ve done these ocasionally too. they’re great for changing perspective.

    p.s. did you know that Thomas Jefferson is reported to have exercised 2 hours per day?

    • 13

      Christian,

      That’s awesome advice. I’m great at setting goals and keeping them – I think I’m going to follow yours here! All 3 solutions are things I can do immediately… especially 1 and 3. I’ll be walking the circle this afternoon!

      Thanks – and best of luck on your PhD. That’s an amazing accomplishment. I look forward to getting back to school and getting my MBA. I’m not sure if a PhD is in the works, but I love school so much it could happen naturally. We’ll see what the future brings!

      Thanks for the inspiration and tips!
      Doug

  8. 14

    Doug, I’ve always loved reading your blog but this one really hit home with me. I felt like you were describing me as I read it. I guess it’s good to realize there are more like us out there. Thank you for a brutally honest account of your life. And good luck on “the future”!

    • 15

      Thanks Patric! I don’t think you folks will see much of a change here on the blog… it will be mostly to do with my work and health habits outside the blog. If this post helps others to take a look at themselves, that’s a great thing!

      Of course, my new day started by getting on my exercise bike this morning and it was dead. I think there’s a battery in there somewhere that needs changed every couple years… I just have to find it!

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  10. 17

    Doug,

    Thanks for sharing so much of yourself. I think many of us can find ourselves in the same boat! When I first started my blog, I got so caught up in it I ended up neglecting the people who live around me. It was easy to “stay home” and be “connected” to the computer and all my new blogging friends (who I dearly love!). The last few months, I have been getting out to some professional social events as well as doing some local networking (here in San Diego, it is very important to make local contacts!). This has really given energy and lift not just to my well-being but also to my business.

    I never blog on the weekends, and as hard as it is, sometimes I don’t even turn on my PC on the weekends! Putting up a wall between work and personal life is important to me.

    Now, Doug, go out there and have a fantastic weekend! Your blog rocks! 🙂

  11. 18

    “my new day started by getting on my exercise bike this morning and it was dead. I think there?s a battery in there somewhere that needs changed every couple years? I just have to find it”

    All else fails, read the manual 🙂

    It’s probably in the area where the display is… look for a little trap door sort of thing.

    If weather permits, maybe go for a light walk this evening… that would get your blood flowing.

  12. 19

    You are lucky you do not live near me, we would have beers on a weekly basis or perhaps more often, we might even get to the gym! You are a gifted communicator.

  13. 20

    This is why I’m “anti-breaking-news”.

    There’s always breaking news, trying to keep on top of it at all times is nigh impossible. Focusing on learning, skill development, and what you can take away from it makes much more sense in the long term.

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