Blog Post

The Powershell Challenge–Notes and Observations


It’s been a month and a half in real time since I started the Powershell Challenge. In that time, I had a business trip and 9 days of vacation and the holidays that impacted the event. After a week of working on the book, I ended up sporadically getting back to it, partially as I lost the book for 2 weeks after vacation.

I’m still working my way through it, and as my schedule stabilizes, I’ll get back to regular posts. However, I wanted to make some notes on the issues I’ve seen and the challenges of professional development (PD) from my own experience in the last month.

Vacation is vacation

For me, vacation is really vacation. I have tried hard across the last 10 years to learn to enjoy vacation and not work during that time. I rarely check emails, and if I do, I typically don’t respond. I also leave the computer closed most of the time.

This means, for me, that professional development also gets stunted. There were times in the past where I dedicated some time to professional development while on vacation, but as my kids approach adulthood, and I mature, I have typically stopped doing that.

You can choose to spend your vacation as you wish, but with time off for family visiting, skiing, and ranch projects, I didn’t do any PD.

A Schedule Matters

One of the challenges I face is that I have a hectic life. As a result, when I try to fit things into that schedule, something else gets moved. Across the last month, I’ve been making more of an effort to exercise on a regular schedule, and that’s often been at lunch. Unfortunately, that’s pushed off the Powershell Challenge more days than I’d like to admit.

I need some routine and schedule, and the holiday season (Thanksgiving-New Years) was disruptive to me. I didn’t think it would be as much of a problem as it was. I thought I could just sit down for 30 minutes and I’d find the time easily.

I was wrong.

I need to schedule time to do this each day, and I’m looking to get back to that next week.


In line with scheduling, I think momentum matters as well. Just as with exercise, if you put it off for a few days, it’s much easier to put it off for a few more days than it is to get back on track and back to work.

When Thanksgiving intruded, I lost momentum. When I came back and was pressed for time, I put off a few lunches. When exercise became a bigger priority, I put it off even more.

This is why I do regularly talk about scheduling some time to learn. I think once a month won’t work, though perhaps you can make once a week work. I suspect for me that I need to schedule more regular time, such as every 2-3 days or M-W-F and stick to it. I recognize a balance is important, and I’d likely do this for 4-8 weeks and then take a break for a few weeks before tackling something else.

I’ll see if I can implement this in the new year.

A Place

This might not matter for many of you, but it does for me. I started the Challenge by sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop and the book.

My desktop for the last year has been a standing desk, that has the keyboard and mouse lifted off the desk surface with boxes. However, there is no place for a book at my desktop. During the holidays, I rarely had my laptop open, and in fact it was often in the bedroom near the bed. Having a book open in bed, or at my standing desk, didn’t work.

I need to use my laptop regularly with the book and that was an issue for me. I’ll get that back on track next week.


We do need to regularly improve our skills if we work in technology. Or medicine or engineering or law or accounting or a number of fields. Some fields make that easier, but in technology it is mostly up to each of us to motivate ourselves and find time.

I encourage you to tackle something like my Powershell Challenge, but think about budgeting and scheduling time in order to succeed. I’d also encourage you to schedule in breaks in your life when you aren’t driven to move forward in some direction and just enjoy your life.

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