Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Value of Reflection

I'm not talking about meta-programming, I'm talking about taking time removed from a situation (work in this case) to consider what you have done, what you have learned and what you want to do.

I was struck by this last night, this morning really, in a discussion with a stalker...I mean friend over IM.

I was describing something I wanted to do in the RPD (OBIEE) and his reponse was, WTF are you thinking? (nicely, of course).

It was then that I realized that I had not taken the time to reflect on my last 2 years.

There are a number of reasons for this.
1. I've been really busy (a good thing)
2. I've been working from home.

Being busy is a no-brainer. Most of us go through periods where we work a lot, that's me. I'm thankful for that, especially in light of my time just before this run started. Things were...not so settled. I've also got a family to support and a daughter who requires more (time, attention and money) than the average child.

During the time when life wasn't so stable, I was full of rants and opinions about how things should be. It's because I had a lot of free time to think.

Working from home is different as I am learning. I've been home (from work) for over 8 months now. I spend all my time in front of the computer. I rarely just sit around.

Sitting in front of the computer all day long occupies my mind and prevents me from reflecting. Perhaps it is distraction? As Jake mentions in that article:

even worse with unread counts, the most heinous weapon in the psychological warfare armory an app can use to ruin your productivity.

Or maybe I just haven't learned yet to step away for a little while. A few weeks ago, I was spending my lunch hour on the bike, I felt great but even better, I allowed myself to step away for a mere hour. Verboten!

So I'm going to take some time in the next couple of weeks to step away; "it's OK Chet, the world will not fall apart while you are away."

Hopefully it will give me the needed time to reflect on what I have done...


Jake said...

Reflection is difficult when you're in the weeds at work, and working from home really keeps you from quiet time.

For a long time, I found the shower and the brief minute before I drifted off to sleep as the only real quiet moments for deep thought.

Now, with a new child, I have more time for reflection and prioritization. So, kinda the opposite of your problem.

You need quiet time to think. Find it any way you can.

Joel Garry said...

My suggestion in the So Very Tired post still applies.

oraclenerd said...


Turn it off once a week. I hear ya.

(and thanks for reviving that thread...I just went through 4 or 5 to remember the good old days. :))

oraclenerd said...


That's one of my problems too...I start thinking right when I'm going to bed, thus, I have crappy hours. Or I'm an insomniac and my brain is still on. I don't know, I'm tired and can't think.

Bex said...

I hear ya... I had a project going for about 18 months of nearly constant travel, and I didn't have any "down time" to think (or blog for that matter).

Working from home can be great for reflection... cuz you can take a walk over lunch and get some inspiration... but after too long I miss the face-to-face interaction with other geeks.

Sam Khalaf said...

I hear you Chet, when I work from home I always end up working more hours, you start earlier & finish later. Even on vacation times, you still need to think and worry about what is going on at work (if you are workaholic) ... or you may even be called for help :) ... I hope there is something like a "brain massage"