Ever have one of those days?
by, 22-Mar-2011 at 04:11 (806 Views)
Ever have one of those days where you actually accomplish a lot, but you don't feel like you've accomplished anything?
I've done nothing but change clothes, shower, and work on ADISC since getting home from work. That was two hours ago.
During that time, I've solved a ton of minor issues, like:
- Proofread, edited, and sent the monthly newsletter.
- Dealt with about 100 (automated) emails, such as bounces (each of which must be processed).
- Investigated a half-dozen auto-blocks placed by our software on suspicious-looking activity.
- Fixed outgoing mail (broken by the recent replacement of our mailserver software), so I can now reply to emails.
- Investigated and ultimately disabled an inter-site linking system, since we had over 70 pages of useless links, dating back to 2008, awaiting approval.
- Created a system to identify key differences between the versions of ADISC, to make future maintenance and version control easier.
I don't know about you, but I only really feel like I've accomplished something if I can take something off one of my main "TO-DO" lists.
For example, doing a reboot test of ADISC (where the server is powered off, powered on again, and we verify that everything comes up correctly) counts as a substantial task, because it has to be perfect - the server is in a datacenter, and I cannot access it physically should something go wrong. So, this is an operation that must be co-ordinated with their technicians, and I must take a complete backup of everything beforehand, just in case. This reboot has particularly great potential for problems because we recently did a complete OS/software upgrade, of everything from the kernel, to the webserver, the mailserver, the database server - basically all the import back-end parts of ADISC. This will be the first time the system will boot with the new OS (though the server software is already running fine).
That reboot test is on my list for later this week.
Another example of a substantial project would be generating a list of everyone who has gained/lost DC/TC status since the new system came into effect last year - identifying any incorrect cases, and tweaking the algorithm used to determine DC/TC status accordingly. That's tricky because there's no "do-over". Once someone changes status, you can't just say "oops" and revert them back to the old one. People would not be happy if that happened.
Another example of a substantial project would be recruiting a new staff member. A general-purpose moderator to help out with the requests forum. Or someone to help with my "updating ADISC's web presence to attract more people we want and no people we don't" project. Or any one of about a dozen positions I would, ideally, like to fill. (If you're reading this, and tempted to put yourself forward for one of these positions, please don't, unless you have highly relevant experience and an excellent reputation on ADISC) Adding staff is a big project because the new people will have to meet some pretty strict criteria, and will be dealing with a lot from day one, so they must be both smart and willing to work hard at making improvements.
Days like today, where I solve a dozen minor things, just don't feel as satisfying as days when I can announce a shiny new thing to the world.
Perhaps I'm just irritated because I lack blood sugar.
On that note:
- Today's lessons are:
- Don't get frustrated if you have to tackle lots of small problems rather than one big one. Over time, the small ones can add up to a big difference!
- Sometimes, tackling small problems can be a great way to make the best use of your time. For fun, see how many you can solve in an hour! Or a day. Try to beat your previous record!
- Shiny new things are not going to help you if you can't give them the maintenance they need.
- If you feel grouchy for no reason, ask yourself: "when was the last time I ate?". The answer may surprise you.
- I'm taking my own advice (#4), and getting my dinner. Right now!
Listening to: On days like these, I can change the world