If you suddenly had a week of free time…

I’m gonna take a minute away from my regularly scheduled blog posts (GoF patterns, Agile Arguments, etc) and seek wisdom from the Collective. Aside from spending more time with the family and the kids, doing some networking and career building, there’s going to be some time where I’ll have a chance to work on something and I’m trying to decide how best to spend this time.

Should I contribute to an open source project?  Should I do more blog posts?  I can do some work-for-hire, but I’d really like to take this week for myself and no do any “work” (where “work” is something that I’ll be monetarily accountable to someone on a timetable/deadline).

The week after this current week coming up, I’m going to go back into career/for-hire mode, but until then, I want to do something for the community.

Any suggestions from anyone? I’d be particularly interested in anyone who knows me to suggest something for which you think my skills and talents would be most useful.

About Chad Myers

Chad Myers is the Director of Development for Dovetail Software, in Austin, TX, where he leads a premiere software team building complex enterprise software products. Chad is a .NET software developer specializing in enterprise software designs and architectures. He has over 12 years of software development experience and a proven track record of Agile, test-driven project leadership using both Microsoft and open source tools. He is a community leader who speaks at the Austin .NET User's Group, the ADNUG Code Camp, and participates in various development communities and open source projects.
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  • Jason

    Write a first person shooter in C#.

    And read The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

  • Challenge yourself on something Chad. Either an open source project that is out of your comfort zone, or spike something of your own with something new.

  • Maybe you could do something outside your normal discipline, like graphic design. I’ve learned a lot from just messing around with graphics tools. And since design seems to intersect our profession fairly often, I might come in handy.

  • “it” rather, would come in handy.

  • Catch up on anything you wanted to do (RSS, that one eluding blog post, or that book on your night stand)

    Then catch up on at least 2 non-tech things around the house.

    Then zone for at least 3 days. Watch Star Wars, play Wii, whatever…for me being a slob for a few days recharges the batteries and also makes me feel guilty so I come back out racing at top sprint.

  • @Max:

    Dangit, don’t stay that. You’re not helping with my former plan to waste the whole week being lazy. I decided that I might get a little too used to that. Stand back, tempter!

  • Sorry -

    Alright, I will give you another reason to chill, you don’t want any leftover bad mojo from the last gig flowing over into your next one. Chill out a bit, find your center, get all zen…then get all jiggy with it…

  • Learn to play the banjo.

  • If it was me, I’d spend a week with the family and get my thoughts together. I’d take some time to figure out what I wanted to do next. You can always blog and whatever, but you won’t always have the time off.

  • I seriously don’t know how you could stay inside all week. It’s probably going to be the best weather all year.

    You could go on a “tech-free” week. Though it could lead to some serious withdrawal.

  • Matt

    Chad – read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Reason-God-Belief-Age-Skepticism/dp/0525950494

    Then apply presuppositional apologetics to your anti-anti-Agile series.

  • +1 on going tech free and being with your family.

    If you cannot bring yourself to-do that, than make a significant patch to an open source project. Blog post are great but nothing helps the community than solving a problem via an open source project so that the collective group can concentrate on problems that are currently too much effort to solve. These are the types of problem that we could not solve because we spent too much time on reproducing the same code that we did on/at a previous employer or project. Maybe it just costs too much with the business guys get back the estimates and say.. it’s just not worth the effort. Pick one problem domain that you know well and that has a hole in the open source community and make a mark.

  • +1 on going tech free for week.

    Take the time to cleanse you mind. Spend time with the family and enjoy the spring and it has to offer.

    If you get the dev bug then pick up something new such as F# or Erlang. Learn something outside of what you have been working on the past couple of months. For that matter you may want to step outside the .Net camp and look into Pylons. You would be surprised of just taking your mind outside the norm with foster creativity and bring clarity to other issues.

    my two cents.

  • Havagan

    If you want to spend the week recharging mentally, jump in the car and take off for a non-structured road trip.

    If you want to spend the week helping the community, find a local charity whose website sucks and build them a new one that doesn’t.

  • Thanks everyone. Great suggestions. I think I may just take the time off and strategize about what I’m going to do next. Ayende mentioned some Linq for NHibernate tests were failing, and that really interests and excites me, so I think I may take a crack at it and poke at it a little, but nothing serious.

    I’m very thankful for this time off and I just didn’t want to piss it away not doing anything productive, but I think I may actually go along with my family when they go to Story Time and the Library, etc and participate more. I won’t get this opportunity again and I’ll regret it if I don’t.

    @Havagan Aw man, sounds awesome. But you don’t just hop in the car and go on a road trip with 4 kids, lol. Unless you have a big RV or something (which I don’t…. yet).

  • Oh man, you should *totally* learn to play the banjo. That’s the best suggestion of the lot.

  • Definitely take some down time. Don’t even answer your cell phone for a while. Take your wife away for a couple of days if you can. Take the kids to the zoo, and the pool, and the park, and the back yard. Spend time reminding yourself who you are ultimately working for, and why it’s important to excel at your chosen profession.

    And then jump back in with both feet.