I realized today, after a day at work that I found to be particularly frustrating, that I'm starting to fall behind a bit on keeping up. In other words, as the technology areas that I'm most familiar with continue to evolve, I'm not spending nearly enough time thinking about them or playing around with them. That concerns me.
Historically, I've always tried to stay on top of what's going on in the Microsoft world. I continue to do that, in part because I still have a fair amount of access to people who keep me in the loop (under NDA, of course). I also try to keep up a "feel" for things going on in other stacks, platforms and frameworks, because they often involve novel concepts that apply well to any practice in technology.
But lately, it's not happening. Historically, at any job I've had in the last ten years, I would reach a point before lunch, or just after it, where I would take a break and read up on whatever I had encountered via RSS or shared links or whatever. That also meant that I would experiment and play, sometimes at work, but more often late at night. I'm not doing that either. I think the problem is some combination of mental fatigue at work (mostly from navigating and slowly trying to change a culture that is in dire need of change) and a lack of opportunity to come up for air more often. I suppose that essentially makes it a time management problem.
Last week, Azure was essentially relaunched, and as far as I can tell, it's awesome. I was fortunate to work on the platform early in its life while at Microsoft, and while it was slightly a mess back then, I really started to love it for all of its promise and simplicity. It's a part of my expertise that I don't want to get stale. For that reason, I need to find some time to get into it and mess around.
It's not an impending doom scenario, it's just something I've become very aware of lately. I'm not doing enough nerd stuff. The nerd stuff pays bills.