#TSQL2sday: My Life Hack is an Hourglass. Yes, an Hourglass.

SQL Server

For this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, Jess Pomfret asked for our favorite life hacks.

My life hack is a half-hour hourglass. (Halfhourglass?) Seriously, an actual physical object:

I keep it on my desk. Whenever I start working on a task, I flip the glass. After 30 minutes, I need to stop and assess the progress I’ve made so far.

When I’m tuning a query, for example, I’ll stop there and ask myself, “Are the results here good enough?” If so, then I need to switch gears and start writing documentation to explain the changes I made to the query, or start testing the output.

I’ve tried digital timers, but they add a feeling of nervous pressure, especially when the alarm goes off. An hourglass feels calming to me, and it’s so much more flexible and forgiving. I can just glance down at the hourglass and get a rough idea of what kind of progress I’m making. I only glance down at natural breaking points, so that way I can stay focused for a little bit longer to finish a train of thought.

I use it a lot during my Mastering Query Tuning class, and students often end up buying their own and posting pictures in the Slack chat.

They don’t make my particular model anymore, but if you’d like to buy your own, these are my favorite new ones because you can pick your sand color and your duration.

There’s also Marc Newson’s Hourglass. Quite fetching. Very reasonably priced at just $12,000 – which sounds expensive, until you realize that it’s about the same as two cores of SQL Server Enterprise Edition. And then it sounds REALLY expensive.

Yeah, um, no.

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