Setting the new routine

One of the things that really messes with unemployed people is the lack of a routine. Take a standard office worker – they get up, get ready, go to work, go home, have dinner, do their own thing, sleep, later rinse, repeat.

And then we’re cut adrift, our patterns are broken, and it’s easy to unhinge or lose productivity. The advice given to freelancers – and this applies to the unemployed as well – is to establish a new routine, and stick to it, until it becomes a habit. And to make it productive, before we end up spending every day playing XBox in our underwear and never leaving the house.

I also found myself going through the withdrawal of having a constant barrage of emails from a monitoring system telling me that something had hiccuped, that everything was OK, or that yes, the web server once again was low on resources. I had gotten into the habit of not only getting 50+ emails a day from the monitoring system[1] to getting none. From having to obsessively check my iPhone to make sure that this is the “normal” amount of chatter, and not something actually going wrong.[2]

Imagine going from a room full of noise to complete silence. It’s soothing at first, but after a while you start to miss the stimulus, and then you start making stuff up, and…

…you get the idea.

So I needed to learn to cope to the new order of things, the order in which I don’t have to be tethered to my phone and laptop 24×7. It’s not easy. It’s like kicking a bad habit, and one I suspect I’ll be getting back soon enough, if I end up with another 24×7 environment to support. Ursula has been a big help (see the kick in the ass post earlier) in keeping me distracted until I’ve been able to adjust or build a new set of stimuli to keep me sane.[3]

And in this new new order I get up, put on pants, I have a breakfast bar & coffee, read the blogs, read my comics, and then I start going through LinkedIn, returning calls, and sometimes writing blog posts like this one. Once all of that that’s done, then I can work on other things, like helping a friend with a new setup on their site, blog posts, playlsts for future podcasts, sculpting, casting, D&D prep, etc, etc. And on special days like today, going on a job interview.

Welcome to the new Kevin Order. Let’s see how long it takes me to go crazy this time…[4]

[1] And that was DOWN from the prior system, which was over-sensitive – If you KNOW that 200 devices will reboot once a day, you do NOT need to sent a message for each one. You only need to send a message when something goes WRONG. This also goes for the logwatch messages from each server – you do not need a detailed status report from 20+ servers every day, you need a single message from a single server when something is going or has gone wrong.
[2] And one f my goals for this year was to tune and reduce that even further, so I only got notices when something actually went wrong. Of course, the system wasn’t set up to understand *THAT*
[3] Or as sane as I get.
[4] It took roughly two weeks in 2005, but there were also extenuating circumstances, and additional environmental concerns that no longer apply. Plus I understand what’s up and have learned how to cope. I hope.

About Kevin Sonney

Kevin Sonney - who, contrary to popular opinion was NOT raised by wolves - grew up in central North Carolina. He fell into the technology field by accident in 1991, when he gave up the wild and crazy lifestyle of an on-air AM radio DJ to become a mundane technical support monkey. The technology industry has never really recovered from this. Kevin has worked for such names as IBM, Red Hat, webslingerZ, and Lulu Technologies (we won't mention the ones that didn't survive the experience). He currently works as a Linux Administrator for Apptio. In his spare time he rescues stray animals and plays video games with his two sons. His wife, we're sad to say, helps him get past the really hard bits. Kevin is still not very mundane, he just got better at hiding it.
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