What Keeps Me Up At Night

What keeps me up at night 3:00 am“What keeps me up at night” is one of those cliches I often dismiss. I suppose it is because I have never really had any trouble sleeping at night in all my years of working in IT because of work related issues. I suppose it is because I am not a worrier by nature, although I do have my insecurities like everyone else.

What Keeps Me Up At Night

What usually keeps me up at night is noodling through a project I am planning to start on the farm. Or, sometimes I find myself thinking about how I am doing as a blogger. But none of this ever interferes with my sleep, but then I always get out of bed if I am still awake after 20 minutes.

When I do have trouble falling asleep due to a work related issue it is never anything you’d find on one of those dumb lists. When I can’t get to sleep at night because of a work related issue, which is very rare, it is most likely related to a personnel issue.

Sleepless in Wisconsin

What does happen to me is that I sometimes wake up very early, maybe to simply rollover, and I am hit with a very clear thought or a strong idea and a feeling of being totally awake. It’s as if while I am sleeping things magically get worked out and now the result is ready and it wakes me – at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning.

The decision then is to go back to sleep and hope I remember it all in the morning, or get up and do a quick brain dump. Getting up is usually the choice I make which requires a quick estimate of being able to finish quickly and get more sleep or commit to starting my day right then.

In my current role, as an adviser and consultant, this scenario usually involves solving a client issue or developing a strategy for how to present it to them. Sometimes this includes a multi-part idea for:

  • what is the issue to be addressed;
  • the likely best approach to use;
  • how the client might best go about executing it;
  • and how to present it to them.

VDI and Storage

Increasingly, the issues I am helping clients address are chronic production problems and bringing IT costs in line with industry specific benchmarks. Usually though, they are both issues that need to be dealt with.

The most common scenario is production problems that trace back to storage and desktop virtualization, especially the VDI with NetApp combination. As you might expect, the solutions to VDI and NetApp or any desktop virtualization and storage problem includes costs as a major consideration.

But the real issue popping into my early morning thoughts has been how to help people see that it might be time to back away from their desktop virtualization strategy. You see, nearly everyone agrees the desktop virtualization ROI just isn’t there like they thought. But they still insist VDI has benefits over other desktop solutions even though they can’t show it through a TCO or ROI.

The challenge in these cases isn’t simply helping people overcome the sunk cost fallacy. The real challenge is helping people find the professional courage and leadership to walk away from their own decisions. Sometimes this can be positioned as a change in direction. But too often in the case of VDI it is a reversal.

And that makes it hard, and that’s what I am thinking about at 4:00 am.

What Keeps You Up AT Night?

So, what keeps you up at night? Or, what wakes you up cold well before the alarm goes off?

I am truly interested in hearing from you on this one. If you are sleeping like a baby perhaps tell us what is stressing you out even though it is not interfering with your sleep.


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4 Responses to What Keeps Me Up At Night

  1. Dr. Laura says:

    I’m very interested in the answers to this question. In fact, I have asked a CIO what keeps him up at night, meaning it metaphorically. Indeed, I sleep like a baby most nights, but I use the term “what keeps me up at night” metaphorically to indicate my biggest concerns.

  2. Inverted CIO says:

    I like your stance that I am not a worrier though there are insecurities. Bless you !

    In my younger days there were times that sleep eluded me when I was attempting to crack a tough problem, but those were one off instances. Today I can say that rarely things fluster me after having faced varied situations, there may be a rare instance when I get worked up and it is rarely due to technology.

    I had written about this a few years back, the link is enclosed.

  3. The Higher Ed CIO says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience and the link to your post.

  4. The Higher Ed CIO says:

    I am glad you note the use of this phrase as a metaphor. But in many circles it takes on a more literal tone.

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