Office Servers and Services MVP Tracy van der Schyff wrapped-up an amazing feat today. She’s finished writing one blog a day 365 days! The series, called Around the Office in 365 Days, includes a year’s worth of blogs on Office 365 - and it was started to empower people around the globe to expand their knowledge daily. We spoke to Tracy about what she learned from the experience, what challenges she faced, and what we're all wondering: would she do it again?
What inspired you to write a blog every day, for 365 days?
Since it’s called ‘Office 365’, it just made sense to go Around the Office in 365 Days. Secondly, in training I realised how much I’d forgotten, but that other people still have to learn. Since my reason for being is to empower people, I wanted to give them a way of learning something new every single day.
Didn’t you ever feel like you’d run out of content?
Yes. On day two.
What challenges did you face?
Time: Finding time every day to do it. People would ask me why I don’t write a couple of blogs in advance, but finding time for that was even more difficult.
Inspiration: I’m very creative so I need to be inspired to do something. That’s difficult if you have to force it; it takes the joy out of it. Lucky for me this was a big year in Microsoft and WOW, there was lots of amazing stuff that inspired me.
Connectivity: I travel quite a lot and had a couple of evenings where I didn’t have WiFi and had to make some crazy plans.
What are the top three things you learnt from this experience?
I was amazed at how much I learnt. I didn’t just document stuff that I knew, I had to research and check facts and ended up learning new things every single day. If someone had asked me if I would study this year, do daily two hour evening classes, then document what I’ve learnt every day – I would have said no, I cannot do it. But I did.
I’ve never seen myself as someone who finishes things. Procrastination is definitely one of my skills. Setting out to do this AND achieving is a big personal achievement for me.
If you put your mind to it, and you work really hard at it, it can be done.
Did being an MVP help you in any way?
I only became an MVP 7 months after I started the crazy challenge, but going to the MVP Summit and being surrounded by likeminded people at the Mothership was a dream come true. Being more involved in and informed about new products and happenings at Microsoft has definitely fuelled my passion. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by a group of friends in the industry (MVP’s and not) who are my support and inspiration. They are the people who always answer my questions and share my interests. In South Africa the community is my family.
What tech blogs are you reading now?
Although, I don’t generally ‘follow’ blogs. But I am exposed to great articles through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook shares.
What advice would you give to someone looking to take on a similar task?
Believe in yourself and just do it!
And would you do it again?
Absolutely, but not every day. I’ve already decided on my next challenge, which starts the second week of March (I’m taking 1 week break after this one). Forty-two blogs for 42 weeks until end of the year. It’s called Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – documenting my journey into understanding UI and UX. For me UI/UX are the stars in our galaxies and I also turn 42 this year so I think it’s rather appropriate. (Yes, yes, I am just a silly hippy at heart).
This has been edited and condensed by the MVP Award Blog.