T-SQL Tuesday #135: Tools of the Trade

The latest topic for T-SQL Tuesday comes from Mikey Bronowski. This month is all about the most helpful and effective tools we’re familiar with. More info for the T-SQL Tuesday post can be found below:

Just Do It

The main tool that I use every day is one I couldn’t live without: Todoist. For work related tasks, personal tasks, and just organizing life in general, Todoist is a to do list app that I’ve relied on to keep my sanity. If I think of something I need to do it immediately goes in the Misc category and I schedule it later. If I think of a blog post idea, it goes in the Ideas column of the Blog Topics category (and if it’s deemed a good idea will eventually go onto To Do, In Progress, and Complete). The free version has more than enough for my needs but if you want additional features or are trying to use it with a team there is a paid version available.

Safety First

I think it’s important to write things down to get them out of your head. It’s terrible when you think of something and say to yourself “I’ll remember that tonight” or “I’ll remember that in the morning” only to forget it when you try to think of it later. Maybe even worse, you don’t even realize you forget. I saw a quote recently that if you’re working on something and wonder to yourself “should I be wearing safety glasses for this?” the answer is always “Yes!” Similarly, I think to myself if it’s something I want to remember, the answer is always to make a note of some kind to be sure I do.

Todoist is what I use but there are plenty of similar tools out there (Trello and TickTick come to mind). You can even keep it simple and just have a notepad app on your phone to help you stay organized. It can be as simple or as complex as you’d like but I think any type of system is better than nothing.

Be a Toolmaker

A more work related tool that I would be lost without is one I put together a few years ago for myself and our team.

I used to have a folder with dozens of SQL and PowerShell scripts. Some scripts I would use daily, some weekly, and others only as a particular issue arose. This was fine but there were many times when I was spending time sending scripts to others on the team or spending time searching for a particular script.

To make life easier, I created an application for our team to search, add, or update scripts called ScriptHQ. Not the fanciest name but it works.

If I’m adding a script I found online, I always try to reference it at the top so that more information can be found if needed.

Searching is much easier. For example, if someone is looking for scripts around blocking, they can start typing in the search box and scripts with that term will be filtered:

Found a useful script to add? Click the Add button and add your own:

I need to spend some time organizing what’s in there. Some scripts aren’t used anymore or should just never be used.

I’d say on average I focus on three or four programs a year either for work or just for fun that are like ScriptHQ . Nothing too crazy and maybe not the prettiest but functional.

I guess where I’m going is that if you think of something that would be helpful and would make your job easier, don’t be afraid to take a shot at doing it yourself. There were projects I thought I could do quickly that became too much work compared to the reward. There were others that were easier than I thought. Both times I learned and grew from the experience. YouTube and Google are your friends. You have nothing to lose!

Thanks for reading!

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