What I do

In this section I just want to run through my typical activities, both personal and work-related in order to give you a better understanding of where I (choose to) spend my time.

Understandably, this will change over time, and probably more often than my GitHub contributions will, so this may be out of date by the time you're getting to it, and as a result, I might make it a bit more generic than when we're talking in-person.

That being said, I hope that this is indicative, and shows you some of the things that I value.

I've broken this document into two themes: in-work-time and out-of-work-time. For me, I've come to learn that I need to keep those two very separate, for the quality of my personal life, but also to succeed and focus at work. Spending time inside work focussing on personal items, or (more commonly) spending time outside of work focussing on work challenges has proven to be a contributing factor to my unhappiness in the past. These days I really try to make work stay at work, and home stay at home, and so this document represents that as well.

During work

My days normally start with a coffee and a gentle walk into the office. I deliberately separate the two so that I have an established "start" to the morning. After that, I break my day into two "types" of activities: things I do for others, and things I do for myself.

For others

  • Regular syncs (1:1's). Some people need this more than others, but one of the most important things that I do at work is make sure that "my team" is going well. If all I did was spend my day "clearing blockers", then I think I'd still go home happy. Enabling and empowering Team/Tech Leads to solve their own problems is still my first priority, but checking in and helping where I can is very important to me.

  • Recruitment. Most of the organisations that I've been a part of have been through periods of "hard growth". I appreciate the challenge of finding the "right people" for the various positions these companies have asked me to fill. As such, it's not uncommon to see me spending 5+ hours a week in interviews, or other recruitment activities, like screening, interviewing, signing, on-boarding, and retention.

  • Operational duties. A new policy needs to be rolled out, or a new piece of legislation is foisted upon the company (...here's looking at you GDPR), and that can take a lot of my time. Granted, this is primarily delegated using some form of "trust, but verify"-techniques, but it can still take time out of my week to ensure that these projects are making good progress.

  • Strategic responsibilities. An equally important part of my role is identifying and implementing items of strategic importance; whether this is making small changes to our recruitment processes, or updating the employee handbook, these are generally items that don't provide (easily) measurable impact on the bottom-line, but are very important for any organisation to scale effectively.

  • Appraisals (& promotions). A (pleasurably) challenging part of my role is to appraise the efforts and achievements of others, as well as helping them appraise themselves. As a result, I spend a significant part of my time in evaluating others (and myself). You can see the templates and formats that I'm using in other sections of this document, but between the strategic items mentioned above, and the appraisals of myself and others, this is why I block most Thursdays to work from a quiet space; i.e.: my home-office (or a "silence-room" at my current employer).

For me

  • Lunch outside. Whether the weather is good, bad, or just plain Dutch, I try and take a walk. It helps me to take a breather and reset, or to go over events from the morning, or prep for sessions in the afternoon. I really try to block this time and enjoy walking with friends because this is "for me".

  • Presentations. I enjoy presenting, and more-so, I enjoy presenting motivational topics. Thankfully, my day job gives me plenty of examples of success stories (or funny stories of failure that we've learnt from) that I can then share with larger audiences. As a result, you'll find me collecting anecdotes, gathering insights from teams, and preparing these stories as time allows.

  • Preparing social events. I love setting the stage for a great work-culture; making sure that our day jobs are fun, and we feel motivated to come to work with our friends, and so it's not uncommon to see me preparing a Pub Quiz (in Dutch and English, scary!), a "Beer & Laptops"-evening, or working closely with a larger team on projects like Hackathons or meetups.

  • Go home on time. My children are still young, and I moved to this side of the world so that I don't need to commute for hours each day and can eat dinner as a family and tuck the kids into bed. This means that I like to make sure I leave the office by 6 each evening (as you'll see in my schedule later on) and be home in time to spend time with my wife and kids. This helps me to make sure that I'm prioritising them accordingly.

Outside of work

Outside of work, I have quite a few "hobbies" that interest me:

First amongst these is PC gaming: online team FPS games, like Overwatch or Counter-Strike really help me to blow off steam, and put my headphones on and just have some fun for an hour or two. On the other hand, if I want to destroy a whole weekend, and I have the time/space, then I can absolutely lose myself in games like Prision Architect, Cities Skylines, or other "world-builder"-type games.

This is closely followed by contributing to open-source projects. Sometimes this is development (and helping me to make sure that I don't lose the hard-earned skill of development in C#), but these days, more often than not, this is documentation, guidelines, or project management skills.

Finally, I love spending time with my family, and I love spending time with my family out of home :) Planning the next big adventure (esp. now that we live in Europe) is something that gives me a lot of energy. Currently, I'm investigating options for a proper "white Christmas" in a Nordic country, and incorporating that into some sort of road-trip.

If I'm not doing any of the above, you'll probably find me on Slack, or on Twitter, or sitting in front of a TV-series with my wife, or enjoying a good [gin/whisky/beer] with friends, or sleeping, or possibly/maybe/hopefully even at the gym - although I'm still struggling with motivation for that last one ;)