Struggling to focus? Find what works for you
Don't fall for articles suggesting "THIS ONE THING ALWAYS WORKS" or the "MUST DO TECHNIQUE USED BY ALL CEOS"... Finding things that work for you takes a bit of exploration and support.
Primarily I’m a DevOps consultant working with companies to review and improve their DevOps workflows however I also provide web development & design services and small business IT support for some local companies. I do this via my company SourceCube Ltd. I’ve been full-time doing this for around 4 years now, before that I was doing it part-time for 3-4 years whilst working as a network admin for a large secondary school.
Generally I strive for a fairly flexible working style these days. I used to aim for 9-5 Monday-Friday but after a pretty bad burnout I now embrace my ADHD ways and work when I have the focus even if that means a few hours here and there including weekends. It’s working better for me for now at least.
Fighting the voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough to be consulting and telling companies how to do things - I have to work hard on being assertive. This has at least become a little easier with more things going remote as, being autistic, I struggle a lot more with in-person interactions.
I find that consulting isn’t just a case of “here’s a project get it working” but rather the learning experience for the client along the way as I teach them how new technologies work or that there are whole further levels of automation than they had originally thought. It’s just lovely to see someone else become passionate about the work and knowing I had a part in that.
I’ve got a lot of work to do on this one. For the time being it is a case of introspection to see what is affecting my mental health rather than making changes just yet - for example I am fairly aware that I am a people pleaser who really struggle with the word “no” so I know this is something I need to work on.
Just because I can handle all of my accounts on my own doesn’t mean it is actually worth the hassle - a good accountant is worth every penny, even if you do most of the work yourself just having someone at the end of the phone/email for those silly little questions can save a lot of headaches down the line!
I was diagnosed autistic and ADHD at 26 and 28 respectively and very few people know that about me, not from shame but because I am still coming to terms with my entire concept of who I am shifting so dramatically. Most people wouldn’t know it meeting me as I mask very well but I’m starting to be more open about it and talk about it more.
Being a DevOps consultant makes it tricky to share an actual piece of work so instead I’ll share a project I’ve worked on recently: A lot of TV’s in the UK have something called FreeView Play on them which is an interactive TV guide and I worked with the team building the backend infrastructure to move from on-premise hardware to AWS all whilst keeping the service running for over 4 million TV’s. It was pretty high stress but very cool to work on and help steer the process along the way.
For something more visual to look at, I also spend a fair chunk of my time doing photography and I’m starting to build up a portfolio here: https://aparker.photography/
The sense of community which is key when working remotely and across a number of projects - a lot of my work can be quite short projects so I meet a lot of people but I’m always the outsider (as is the way of the work) and Leapers gives me a space where I’m no longer the outsider. I also find the judgement-free nature of the space really important and being able to check-in and share how I’m doing in #workwell has been vital to me. It’s nice to know that I’m not just shouting into the void all the time and that bit of interaction throughout the day just really helps.
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