Self Improvement is a hard thing to do at the best of times. Putting pressure on yourself to change at the start of a new year is probably not the best of ideas, but we do it anyway (much like choosing to run Windows 8).
So without too much additional preamble here is my list.
- Backups – We are all guilty of not taking adequate backups… or often in my case taking adequate backups but not automating them or keeping them organised. This doesn’t need to be a big complex system, it could just be a cron job tar’ing up the important data, encrypting it and uploading it to the cloud.
- Improve security – There are still a lot of us choosing to not embrace TLS for their services and with StartSSL and LetsEncrypt offering free certs and PositiveSSL (I get mine via Namecheap) being pretty cheap, there is no excuse. In addition to this why not use this time to start using keypairs for your SSH (Microsoft announced SSH support back in June) for secure access to your systems.
- Stop procrastinating – We all have these little things we have put off; fixing that computer in the corner, cleaning the office, learning a new language or framework or perhaps asking that girl at the coffee shop out. The first step in getting stuff done is to just fscking start it… and then continue doing it. I just wish I could take my own advice…
- See the world and meet new people – I know many of us are most comfortable when it is just ourselves and our computers, but if we are to grow as people we need to experience new things and be exposed to new ideas. Perhaps goto a usergroup (I sometimes goto some of the London DevOpsy ones and PHP:East Midlands) or perhaps a conference or two.
- Be more polite – We all get stressed from time to time and in our quest for efficiency we can forget how we are coming across. It probably isn’t helped by the fact that many of us communicate better with a machine than face to face. Like any skill we can hone it and become more adept at it.
- Be more organised – We often complain that there are not enough hours i the day but conversely know people that seem to manage to accomplish so much. It generally comes down to two things: being more organised and prioritising what is most important.
- Spend time with people that matter (and less time with the people that don’t) – As you get older you come to understand some of the decisions you have made in life didn’t always align with your current values. I doubt that when I am old and grey and laying on my deathbed that I will say ‘I wish I had worked more’. More likely I will lay there wishing that I had spent more time with the people that were important to me. Why wait for this time when you can do something about it right now?
- Get more sleep – Lack of sleep can affect your health, your stress levels, your effectiveness at work and indirectly the people you live and work with. Do the world a favour and don’t shortchange yourself on your rest.
- Eat healthier – Your body works better if it has the right fuel. Over the past couple of years I have come to understand I can’t just keep abusing my body and I am trying to turn my health around a little… unfortunately, I haven’t found this trivial with spending 13 hours a day out of the house and commuting 250miles a day…
- Exercise more – Spending hours a day sitting on your arse isn’t ideal from a health perspective. I try to get up at least once an hour and stretch my legs and get out for a walk at lunch – I say try because sometimes this is easier said than done…
- (Bonus) Learn to be content with your life – We all have things we regret doing; choices we made; opportunities that we passed up; girl friends we haven’t got over etc. We might also be looking forward to certain events in the future…
We need to stop living in the past and live in the now. The future hasn’t happened yet and the past is gone and can’t be changed. We need to live in the moment; embrace it and let the past go.