T-SQL Tuesday #134 – Give Me A Break

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is being hosted by James McGillivray (blog|twitter). The topic is “Give Me A Break“.

I’ve never been very good at getting away and find my self in front of the PC even when I’m not working but there are a few breaks that I usually take.

The annual holiday that did not happen

Usually my family would go down to the coast for the x-mas holidays. South Africa, being in the southern hemisphere has x-mas during our very hot summers making the coast the kind of place that you want to be. Unfortunately going to the coast this year was really not an option with a high number of Covid-19 cases being experienced in the Eastern Cape which is where we usually go. This meant that

The Office rebuild

For years I have had a small uncomfortable table to work at from home. Although eliciting a lot of complaining on my part it was never a huge problem as most of my work happened in the offices of my clients. 2020 and Covid-19 changed that, in addition to working from home full time I had also committed to writing a book. This meant that I spent far too much time behind a small desk with an uncomfortable chair. I’ve always liked the idea of working at a standing desk and I decided to build a solid wooden bench at standing height across the length of the room. This gives me a great 4 meter open surface to work on. I also took the opportunity to rope in the help of my best mate who I hardly get to see now days.

First layer of oil goes on
Getting there

This turned into a really nice distraction, so while I may have not actually gotten away from from the office, and actually spent blood, sweat, and tears at my desk than I would usually it was actually a great experience and while not technically a break I felt refreshed and now love being at my desk (Although my legs are still getting used to standing for the majority of the day)

Goals for 2021

Many people question the usefulness behind setting goals for the year. Of the 39 years I’ve been on the planet I’ve only done this once in 2019 where I set several goals for myself and completed them with various degrees of success. I did not set my self any goals for 2020, which may have been a good thing seeing how that year turned out.

What happened in 2020

Apart from the state of the world that we all know about, I managed to get done in 2020. The biggest thing would be writing my first real book. Together with Ásgeir Gunnarsson (T|L|B), we completed a book aimed at Power BI administration. Writing a full book was a lot more work than I’d thought and was quite a struggle to finish towards the end. I was also able to speak at my first and ultimately last PASS summit event. While the event was virtual, it was still lovely to see everyone, usually during the chats at the end of the talks.

A new Analytics Virtual Group

As you are probably aware, PASS will suspend all operations on the 15th of January. For the last three years, I have run the Business Analytics Virtual Group so it would be sad to see this resource being lost to the community. Therefore, together with Ásgeir Gunnarsson (T|L|B), we will be starting a new group with a similar focus. There is still much to do, and not much time to do it as all the resources that PASS has provided in the past need to be recreated.  

With no real way to gauge real community engagement, in 2021 our aim is to provide 5 000 hours of viewed content across both the live events and the YouTube channel where we will post recordings.

For more information on the group head on over to https://analyticsvirtualgroup.com/ , Ásgeir and I will be working on the site over the next few days (the 3rd of January 2021), in the meantime, we would love to hear your thought and get you signed up to our mailing list by filling in this form.

Write 18 Exams

I have not been very good at writing exams and generally only write them for the Microsoft partnership. One of my focuses professionally will be growing the training side of our business, so it is important that I get up to speed with the Microsoft curriculum. I’ll be relying heavily on Microsoft learn for this. While 18 does sound like a lot, and it is, I’m hoping that I should get many of the fundamental exams without too much time spent studying (famous last words). The goal is to get the six fundamental exams out of the way by the end of February then go along at a bit over an exam per month. With such a high goal, even if I only make it two-thirds of the way through this goal, 12 exams would still be a great accomplishment.

Run 1600 km

In 2019 I set my self the goal of running 1000km. Running started well, but I got lazy mid-year which resulted in a mad dash at the end resulting in a few injuries. In 2020 I set my self un unofficial goal of running 5km at less than 5 min\km or 25 min in total. Again I achieved this only by pushing it in December. This year I’m setting the goal of running 1200 km with a stretch goal of 1600 km. Using Strava has helped from motivation point as there are a lot of runners in the #SQLFamily and it nice to get that positive reinforcement.


I’m hoping to doa better job on blogging this year than I have in the past. I’m going to set my target at 24 posts broken down into two per month, like running long term goals like this need smaller attainable goals.


That about covers my personal goals for the year. I’m hoping like we all are that this will be a better year than the last (Even though the first few days of 2021 suggest it won’t be).