How I did on my vacation checklist

Its over!!! My month long vacation ends tomorrow when I have to wake up before 10 for the first time. 30 days ago, I created a list of things I was going to do. Time to go through that list and see what I actually did. I think it worked out even better than I planned and I’ll tell you why afterwards:

  • Tweak this site – come up with a blog design that I really like and that isn’t broken in some spots. Make it easier to update and friendlier to you – Well, I tweaked it a bit, but not a whole lot. I had some fun with it.
  • Read some books I have bought in the last few months (and put them into action)
  • Organize my life –
    • Get rid of some of this extra crap in my apartment – I bought some more crap instead
    • Get rid of the extra feeds I don’t really read in Google Reader – They are all too important
    • Get rid of the extra crap on all my PCs, etc. – Nope, didn’t do that either
  • Every time I have seen something interesting on the net, I added them to my del.icio.us account. Now I can actually look at them. – OK, good in theory, but didn’t quite get around to it
  • Prepare for my new apartment – Be a bit more involved in the renovations as they come closer to completion. – It was certainly easier to do when work didn’t get in the way, but I wasn’t any more involved than before
  • Write up some reviews of amazing software I use everyday and that I can’t live without
    • DashNo, but I still love it
    • ClearContextA review would have given me a free license, but I just paid up instead to upgrade
    • SpinVoxDid that one
    • Trog BarNo, but its really cool…did that count?
  • Learn about new and interesting technologies that I haven’t had a chance to really focus on yet (I could probably spend a month alone on each of these):
    • Sharepoint 2007 – I am still riding on the memory of my time as a Sharepoint PM at Microsoft…didn’t touch it this month
    • Facebook and Facebook development – Nope, but I played plenty of Scrabulous on Facebook
    • Windows Vista Sidebar development – Nothing here
    • Firefox and Thunderbird addon development – I briefly looked into Chrome dev
    • The new stuff in Visual Studio 2008 – Never even launched VS
    • LINQ – I can now spell it correctly
    • Windows Presentation Foundation – No
    • Windows Communication Foundation – Nada 
    • Windows Workflow Foundation – Zilch
    • Silverlight – I tweaked a Silverlight slideshow
    • YUI – I scrapped it from my site
    • Everything else in .NET 3.5 – Closer to nothing else in 3.5
    • System Center – Still need to download it from MSDN
  • Actually start to use Powershell more often so that I don’t have to relearn it every time. –Never touched Powershell
  • Maybe see a little bit of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. There is so little I have seen of this place. This guide might help. – Didn’t see anything new
  • Sleep – I plan to sleep a lot. I haven’t been getting much of that for a while. – I did exceptionally well on this one.

So there is my list. As you can see I did far better than I had ever expected. I managed to stay away from semi-work-related stuff for an entire month. It was magical. And I did a lot of work in managing my photos and using Lightroom and Photoshop to prepare for a wall of photos in my new place. My Lightroom catalog went from 4000 images to well over 11000 photos. Very few were new, I just had them scattered across 4 different PCs. It was especially amazing to find some photos I thought I lost from Nepal, Costa Rica, Moscow, and more.

I wholeheartedly recommend taking a month off at the end of the year to relax. Don’t go anywhere, just sit and rest. What? You only get 2 weeks vacation? OK, sell everything, move to Europe, get a job, and then take that month off. Even better, take the full 6 or 7 weeks everyone gets over here. I will someday be able to change my ways to do that too…

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