I can hear music when Power Pivot is near…

Guess who presented for the first time at a SQL Saturday? It was also the Utah Big Mountain Data Conference.  I wanted to share my presentation in case anyone else wants to learn Power Pivot.

I love Power Pivot and think it can make a difference in how you look at data everyday.  If you have questions that you need answers to, I am happy to help.

Big Thanks to everyone that was so supportive with this presentation!

Beach Boys Data Demo

SQLSaturday Powerpoint – Unleash the Power of Power Pivot

Time, why do you punish me? All About Time Management

Happy New Year to all the Kingdoms far and wide!  I don’t make resolutions anymore because I was sick of feeling like a failure on New Years Eve.  Instead I am trying to live each day the best I can.   One of  the ways I am going to try to make my days better is by improving my time management.  I have been trying this out all week and have had a really successful week.  Here goes:

1. Block out chunks in your calendar to accomplish specific tasks.  I am keeping this really flexible because sometimes emergencies come up.  I usually start the day by blocking my calendar and I leave little places open for catch up and other things.  I have loved this and it has helped me to stay on task.  It gives me an idea of my priorities.  This process allows my manager to always see what I am working on and give me feedback on what priorities I need to change. 

2. Do the task that you really don’t want to do for 10 minutes.  Plan it out and make yourself do it.  You might get going on it and like it (or not as I have found with certain things).  Either way you will make progress and that is the whole point.

3. Take breaks.  I know this sounds like a time waster, but your brain and your body need it.  Say “Hi” to a co-worker, take a short walk, something that will get you away from what you are doing.  You will find you are refreshed and energized when you get back to your tasks. 

4. Avoid Time Wasting websites. They actually exist and if you google them, you will find some awesome stuff.  But when you are trying to manage your time, avoid them. 

5. Automate.  If you do something over and over again, figure out a way to automate it.  This shows initiative and impresses your bosses when you tell them how much time you are saving each day.

6. Reward yourself.  When you accomplish a project or some task that you really didn’t want to do, give yourself a reward.  This will help you to stay focused on getting your task done, knowing that you have something to look forward to when you finish.  Mine has been a video game that I get to play when I get home.  I have been playing all week and am starting to get sick of it so I need to find a new reward. 

7. Block out distractions.  This is a big one for me, especially when I am in the office.  I sit near a chatty group which has allowed me to  learn about sports and current events. While this is great, I was having a rough time meeting my personal level of accomplishments.  I have added headphones and found I can concentrate  longer and be more productive.

I would love to hear what you do to better plan your time and be more productive. 

Have a magical day!

Fear Is A Part Of Life – By Matt Slocum

No matter what field you work in, or what you do in your personal time, fear is a part of life. It is just human nature for certain things to make us uncomfortable, or downright scared. Do you know anyone that doesn’t seem to have any fear? Don’t believe it, they’re afraid of something, but they have learned to live with (or even overcome) the fears standing in the way of their goals.

Personally, I have a fear of public speaking, but I’m currently leader of a PASS chapter and a SQL Saturday organizer. I find myself speaking in front of people on a fairly regular basis. How did I overcome this fear? In short, I didn’t. However, rather than focus on my fear of speaking in front of people, I focus on something I’m passionate about, SQL Server. By focusing on the positive, I am able to keep the fear in check. I try to stay really focused on and excited about the topic I’m presenting/discussing and the fear of being in front of people melts away.

At my first PASS Summit, I determined that I wanted to meet people. Instead of letting fear stand in my way of meeting new (and AWESOME) people (like Andrea), I focused on my passion for SQL Server and the fact that the people I was meeting also had a similar passion. This resulted in many interactions and relationships formed. This is what SQL Family is all about. Getting to know one another and help each other out.

If there are fears standing in the way of your goals, focus on the positive and what excites you. If you can keep the positive in mind, you can help keep the fear in check or even be able to suppress it altogether. Don’t be afraid to look or sound stupid. We all make mistakes (it’s what makes us human), just focus on the positive and keep moving forward. Learn from your mistakes, but move forward with them rather than letting them cripple you.

where-the-magic-happens

Celebrities (Hollywood, SQL Community/Family, etc…) are just like you and I, they’re just more well known. If you run into one, don’t let fear stop you from starting a conversation. Chances are, you’ll find out they’re just as human as you or I and you may make a new friend. I met Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker from Star Trek The Next Generation) once and found out that he was a very friendly man. I didn’t spend nearly as much time talking to him as I would have liked, due to my fear. Afterwards, I regretted not pursuing a longer conversation with him, but I’m not letting my fear or regret cripple my future progress. If I ever meet him again, I’ll be sure to have a good long discussion with him.

Fear is a challenge we all face. Find your way to overcome it and you can accomplish anything.