My name is Robert Green and I’m a CAD Geek/Dork. There, I said it and I’m not ashamed. So when Melanie Perry had the idea that a bunch of us post what a day in our technical life is like I was on board immediately. What follows is a slightly irreverent look at what a typical non-travel day at the office is like for me. Here goes.
Early coffee – A big mug of extra strong Costa Rican blend from CostCo with plenty of milk is poured by 7AM. Said same coffee is coursing through my veins shortly thereafter. <> Information prep for the day – As the caffeine takes hold I read the Wall Street Journal, scan through Reuters, hit the major CAD social media sites, check on some IT blogs, and generally see what’s up in the technical and business worlds. I’m keenly aware that I’m only doing CAD work for clients because their businesses require it. No business, no CAD – thus I worry about the business environment in detail. I try to think about how the CAD tools I’m working with can help businesses deal with the pressures they face so I can build my consultative skill set accordingly.
Make my daily task list – After information prep is completed I create my daily task list by jotting it all down on a piece of paper that sits next to the keyboard. Yeah you heard that right Bucko – paper! Paper has the dual advantages of really fast boot up and great battery life all while providing the tactile satisfaction of scratching items off your list as you complete them (there’s no way clicking “task complete” in Outlook will ever feel as good). Of course you’ll need an analog data capture device (you may know it as a pencil) to build your list but you’ll get used to it.
Pick my soundtrack – What will I be listening to while I work? Busy days demand hard driving music while writing requires more subdued and nuanced pieces. You may have your headphones off more than on as the phone and other distractions demand but at least you’ll feed your ears when you can. I especially enjoy great guitarists like Eric Johnson, Paul Gilbert, Guthrie Govan or Steve Morse that play through high gain amplifiers but I digress.
Programming – I do a lot of programming work for various clients and I like to get that programming done before anything else. Whether I’m debugging existing code, creating new code, or confabbing about a new programming project my brain does programming best when I start on it early and stay with it. Some days I may have multiple programming tasks going concurrently but I will strive to keep my mind in programming mode as long as needed.
Journaling/writing/speaking – I write and speak a lot so I’ve had to find ways to fit technical writing and speech preparation into my programming schedule in a way that allows me to clear my head and start fresh. I find the creative aspect of writing/speaking is a great counterpoint to the regimented thought process required for programming – almost like taking a breather after a long hard walk. One day I may be knee deep in writing/editing an article, another day I may be brainstorming ideas for my newsletter, and other days I may be creating PowerPoints for a talk but, no matter what, I do something to build my writing and speaking skills daily.
Client communication, project management and programming revisions – As the late afternoon arrives I find my phone starts ringing more (I’m on the east coast and a lot of my clients aren’t) so I use this period of frequent interruptions to knock out emails, return calls and get revised programming to anyone who needs to look at it. Of course emails lead to phone calls, phone calls lead to emails and programming reviews lead to programming revisions so the balance of my day is typically spent trying to manage it all and get setup for the next day. My goal is to get as much crossed off my daily task list as possible.
Proof reading – If I’m in the middle of writing anything I’ll now read it again. It is amazing how much better your writing is when you put it down for a while and come back to it later!
Wrap it up – At the end of the day I make notes for the following day, update my calendar, check on social media again, and then put the computer to sleep.
Engage in hobby/play – This is where I UnGeek/Dork for the day. We may go out for dinner, we may cook in, I might have band rehearsal that night, we might watch Big Bang Theory, I might learn a few new songs or we’ll all catch up on some Netflix (comedy and Sci-Fi mainly) but I make it a goal to not be a CAD Geek/Dork on my time off. Wait – does watching Star Trek count?
Think – OK, so I may THINK about work in the late evening and sometimes I’ll get a great idea. If so I text the idea to myself before I forget so I can look at it in the morning.
Rest up – Tomorrow is another big day!
January 27th, 2015 |
4 Responses to “What Do CAD Geeks/Dorks Do All Day?”