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T-SQL Tuesday #97 – Setting Learning Goals for 2018

The topic for this months T-SQL Tuesday #97 (hosted by Malathi Mahadevan Blog/Twitter) is:

Setting Learning Goals for 2018

I like to think of year end goal setting in terms of inhaling and exhaling. Reflecting back on the year and planning ahead for the next year is exciting to me. I think a lot about these things – sometimes too much. Like breathing there is a balance between thinking about something and taking action to do it.

Let’s see about a healthy balance by looking first at 2017 then ahead to 2018.

Reflecting Back on Goals

2017 has been a good year for me. I learned a lot and branched outside of my comfort zone to grow. I detail some of the years highlights in my Blogiversary #1 post:

  • Blogging
    • I started a blog this year! Set it up myself and got it up and running. I’ve learned a lot along the way here and am trying to reach more people so tell your friends and tell your foes 🙂
  • Speaking
    • I spoke at my first SQL Saturday events this year! Spartanburg, SC and Charlotte, NC
  • Certification
  • Leadership
    • I became a team lead this year – making the most of my opportunity

That may not seem like much but you should know that I’m strongly introverted and these things can be quite a challenge.

Planning Forward

There’s a few things I’d like to accomplish in the short term of next year:

  1. Time Management
  2. Obtain MCSE
  3. Network

Time Management

Bullet Journal your goals

Bullet Journal

Managing your time is a critical factor in reaching your goals. I started Bullet Journaling this year. It has made a significant difference in my productivity. This is something that I will carry into 2018.

Randy Pausch Time Management Lecture

The most inspirational thing I’ve seen about time management to reach your goals is a lecture by Randy Pausch. Randy taught at CMU – across the street from the University of Pittsburgh where I studied. If you haven’t seen his lecture on time management here it is (1 hour 15 min). It is well worth it.

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

If nothing else this book is worth it for the part about prioritizing tasks. I’ll summarize it below:

Stephen Covey's Quadrants of Priority

If you have these 4 squares what do you do first? Obviously the upper left – Important and Urgent. Where most people struggle is after that. Some mistakenly think to do the Not Important stuff because it is due soon. Instead the focus should be on transitioning from Import / Urgent to Important / Not Urgent. That’s where a lot of our goals live. As for the other 2 squares – if they are not important why are you tracking them?

SQL Server Certification

I have never had a technical certification. I decided this year to start to obtain MCSE in SQL Server. I’m doing it as a personal challenge to learn and accomplish this structured goal. I’ll write about certifications later as I know they engender strong opinions.  The important thing is that I will use this structured path to learn more about SQL Server and being a data professional.

Networking Goals

In 2018 I want to improve my reputation. There’s a few interactions I want to do more of:

  • Speak more
    • I want to speak at more SQL Saturday’s and reach more people
  • Write more
    • I want to blog more and produce more quality content so others can learn. I have read some blogs for years and they helped me in my career. It is important to me to contribute like those before me.
  • Participate more
    • Whether it is contributing to some open source software or attending a hack-a-thon I will strive to do more activities to increase my network.

Write, Speak, Do

Other people have value and are important. Connecting with others is how big things get done. Although the term “networking” sounds clinical it means sharing, teaching, listening, having shared experiences, etc.

Goal Realization

Planning and goal setting is essential to achieving what you want. However, it must not stop with planning. Action is the key part. Without the discipline to take action you likely won’t reach your goals.

Where do I start? HERE

When do I start? NOW

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