Tag: busy

Living in a new world โ€“ Days at home (45)

Yes, it is Friday – sort of!

We are back on Monday ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had a busy week. I am good at keeping myself busy, but besides the launch of my online coaching courseonline coaching course, I have been designing banners, making marketing plans, learning things and having great conversations. However, I did manage a few 5 pm finishes, and enjoyed the sunshine, some walks and socials.

I put one podcastpodcast live this week where we talk anxiety, depression and burnout. I recorded another one with an amazing woman from Germany about stress and burnout. It’s a hot topic, for the wrong reasons unfortunately, but a topic I am a) interested in and b) want more people to talk about.

The boys have been better. The lockdown has an impact on them, and I hope we get more freedom from next week. Fingers crossed.
Kudos to my wife for being just super awesome! She isn’t a bread baking person (that’s down to me), but she is great in engaging and entertaining the boys individually, helping with the home work etc. Super proud (of course!).

We also got a shelf delivered we ordered early February – things just take longer atm. Pictures to follow.

So not much new stuff, just turning over one page at a time, plugging away at things.

Enjoy, as much as you can, a great bank holiday weekend. Speak Monday.

Over and out,
Volker

Living in a new world โ€“ Days at home (37)

Hump Day. Middle of the week. Half way there.

A few early pressies arrived and it was a stay at home day. Sorry, bad sense of humour here, but to be honest, today was a bit dull.

That wasn’t in terms of work, actually I have been in calls since 7 am, ploughing through staff from mindfulness, technology, webinars, team chats and partners. Then a coaching session, discussions around my online course etc. It was more because of the weather.

And, without saying, the boys seem to feel it too. They are keen on their computer games, feel a bit down, and I believe they miss their mates at school. That is all fair enough and understandable. I guess we all love this to end sooner rather than later, and given developments in other countries it looks really good, doesn’t it. Fingers crossed.

But what will be next? And how?
Distancing in schools? Distancing in trains? Commute, work? And what about jobs?

There are so many things to worry about, but we will get through that, and get out stronger on the other side!

Believe in tomorrow they say, and better weather ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay safe,
Volker

Living in a new world โ€“ Days at home (31)

One day blends into another. A cracking week in terms of the weather, and whilst I complain it’s too cold for the BBQ, my wife keeps reminding me it’s only April ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today just ran away. I am super busy with my online course and discussing things with both the videographer and the social media agency. It’s great to see how a project comes together.

I arranged for a few virtual drinks next week. I had to skip the walk today, so in that sense it is actually great that the wife is home a lot.

What I realise more and more is that I am not a born teacher, e.g. it is a lot of hard work to home-school the children whilst balancing all other activities. I am sure this is only temporary, the question is how long temporary is ๐Ÿ™

Stay safe, the week is almost over. The weekend is almost here ๐Ÿ™‚

Living in a new world โ€“ Days at home (25)

Is it Friday yet?

Wowsers, another busy day. And next week I am stacked. Lots of positive developments though, so not complaining.

Part of what I am busy with is my online coaching course which goes live in May. Below a screen grab from my recording. It’s such a fun journey, and amazing learning.

BeBetter

My original plan was to spend more time with the family this week. Far from it, unfortunately, but we make up for it at the weekend. Whilst I have more time due to less commute, it’s also more time I get more stuff done. And I like to be busy ๐Ÿ™‚

And next week, we are back to school. Hurray, at least home schooling.

Now, a glass of wine…or maybe not quite yet ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a wonderful weekend,
Volker

Living in a new world โ€“ Days at home (22)

Hey, welcome back.

The boys are still off school, and we can certainly say we have had a relaxing Easter. A couple of BBQs, a nice walk, some ‘body work’ on the beetle and yes, just some time to switch off, a fire, a movie, lots of nice wine, and a run. Wow.

Walks seem to be a daily occurrence now, so even the boys love them.

You almost think what’s not to like, but for me there is so much to live for. Yes, I’d love more freedom of movement and more opportunity to find an income source, but in the meantime we make do with what we have. There is plenty of food, we are healthy and that’s all that matters. Being thankful daily for what we have.

Below some impressions. I wanted to write more today, but it has been a busier start back than anticipated.

Sunday Column (496)

I donโ€™t believe itโ€™s the 1st of July already. Half ways point. The days are getting shorter and we are closer to Christmas now. The weather is spoiling us.

This has been a very busy week. Admittedly, I started out with a day off on Monday. Funny how when you not contract for a day, you take the day off. But isnโ€™t it a mental thing to mentally shut down and off? We, the wife and I, went down to the beach, got a bit sun burned and enjoyed an ice cream. I am storing energy, producing some great content around my podcast and getting ready for what lies ahead of me.

The days in the office were busy this week. I love the company I am contracting with at the moment, and love the product offering they have. My main role is in Germany, so Thursday and Friday I spend in Munich, next week Duesseldorf and then Hamburg. It is good to be able to help and to reconnect with friends across Germany. Life is good, busy, or as Darren Hardy says โ€˜we strive on stressโ€™. To a certain extend I agree, we are by default used to flight/fight responses, to exciting situations and to stress. Yet, I am not actually stressed, which is nice also ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, this week I decided on what to do next. Where is my career taking me. I decided to join a service unit of a big agency group to position their product within Europe. Sounds not very clear? I know, I will fill in more details on LinkedIn and personally over the next few weeks and after I start in mid August. Things falling into place and I am relieved that things are moving forward too.

But I have to say, and I am not sure who all is reading this, that the decision was and wasnโ€™t easy. I was humbled by the offers I received and it came down to two companies in the end, out of four (who would have believed that back in February), that I thought were a perfect match. It wasnโ€™t easy to make that call to say no. Naturally one wants to say yes to all the good fits. The way I described it to a close friend this week: you have to make a decision, it isnโ€™t personal, it is business at the end of the day. So I made the decision, however difficult and yet easy it might have been.

I can only repeat my thankfulness for everyone who helped me on the journey. The beginning of the year has been rather dark, yet people are generous, pick you up and maybe it was always GDPR that slowed things down, who knows. We will never know and it doesnโ€™t matter. I learned from it. I learned about consulting, see below, and I learned about believing and patience, and that over time things will always work out.

I have been enjoying the freelancing, consulting and contracting world. I enjoyed helping and making a difference in a short period of time. And I continue that for another four weeks. But at this stage in my life I prefer a pay cheque at the end of the month. A pension scheme. That might change again in the future but for now, thatโ€™s what I would like. And I am delighted to join people I have known for a long time and I trust and I look forward to learning from them, working with them, making things happen. Yes, I am excited!

So, as the Germans would say, โ€œEnde gut, alles gutโ€. Allโ€™s well that ends well (Shakespeare). I always knew it was, and I never doubted it yet there were a handful of days that challenged even me. Some nights you wake up worrying. But the future will always be better than the past, and things will always work out and be ok. Trust in you. Trust in the universe aligning things to help you.

On the note of Germany. The football team was playing awful from the start in this World Cup and frankly I prefer the way Columbia or England are playing. Funny that both of my favourite teams are now facing each other in the play offs. Then I donโ€™t know much about football. What I do understand is that there is something missing in the German team: support, comraderie, team spirit. I can see and judge that. And as I said a few times this week, the guys out there on the field are all top players, itโ€™s the team that makes the difference. The team spirit I shall say. As in any job or sport. Anyway, letโ€™s hope the World Cup is progressing nicely for England, they would deserve a good ending.

With that in mind, Ende gut, alles gut.
Volker

Sunday Column (446)

A week without travel you might think makes my life easier. It does. It makes it more pleasant. More time with the kids, I saw them most mornings and most evenings. That made a huge difference. However, there is always something that isn’t right. First of all the new keyboard for my iPad which I don’t really enjoy yet and it makes it awkward to type and get anything done. As a matter of fact: I sent it back. The other annoying bit are the trains. A strike and overtime ban result in fewer trains, delayed trains and more annoying travel. So to a certain extend I hope to be back on the road. Yet, there is a huge advantage of being in the office every day: I have time to catch up with people and get real work done. I definitely enjoy that bit.

Last week I ran a promotion for my productivity book. It is about life systems and finding your own systems and habits, to allow for the perfect life. If life can ever be perfect? Probably not. However, if you build a system that allows you to be able to deal with things in a close to perfect manner, you end up being more efficient, more productive, and be better in life. That in my opinion is enough of a reason to consider buying my book ๐Ÿ™‚

I am writing this post before I actually do my weekend run. I joined the Spitfire 24 hour relay race. That means I am in a team of 5 running 10K relay over a period of 24 hours. I anticipate to run 30-40K and be totally knackered on Sunday. So I update on the outcome and whether I would do it again next week. I signed up for it last year but couldn’t make it at the end. It is my wall and I shall see what my next wall might be. Maybe some kind of solo race like a marathon or off road challenge, we shall see.

Remember I write this prior to the race. Going out of my comfort zone is one thing. I am almost more worried about the camping logistics than the physical strain. On the the other hand it is going to be tough but the things I always enjoyed is endurance sports. Going beyond your status quo, pushing yourself. I remember vividly to go on a bike ride after little sleep with a massive hangover as a student. And it was a tough ride. And making it through that or running 2.5 hours along the beach in Aberdeen, that is what I truly enjoy. I let you know if that’s still the case next week.

Similar to dry January, I decided to stop drinking this week prior to the race. Not sure it would make a difference, but it is interesting to see how tired I got. The body converts the sugar in booze into energy and gives you a boost. Not having this results in more tiredness. Similar to giving up coffee resulting in you getting headaches. Whilst I wouldn’t consider myself a heavy drinker, I do enjoy a drink on a regular basis. So my body is used to the additional sugar and energy. I will do some more research into it, as I am keen on trying the new wine Laithwaites delivered last week ๐Ÿ™‚ And wine, according to Ceasar anyway, is good for you. The French drink a whole lot of it and never seem to be bothered by it. As always, in moderation things are good for you, but for every habit you have – let it be exercise, coffee, alcohol or sweets, chocolate – taking a detox and break from it every now and then is useful and resets the system a bit. I am keen on exploring more, and if I was younger, and I said that before, I would compete with Tim Ferris on experimenting with my body and it’s system a bit more.

Now it is back to some travel over the next two weeks. The nice thing is that with summer being here, I actually have a manageable workload. I said the other day, I wasn’t busy. My staff laughed and I realised I have been busy, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming at the moment, not crazy rushed off my feet. Normal I’d say. And that is nice. That in my world means not busy LOL. In case my boss reads that, I am still busy enough! ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s all for this week.
Have a good on,
Volker

Sunday Column (422)

This week was rather busy. In a good sense. Learning, testing and evaluating. That’s for work and commute. My first full day of commuting and the trains went back to normal on Tuesday. Not sure what normal means anymore. I was late on a couple of days, minutes really, but at least I am now learning which trains I can or cannot use moving forward. Testing the new commute but at least my journey in London is quite predictable as the tube seems more reliable than the bus I used to take over the last 3 years. All change.

It also means I don’t see the kids that much. The youngest is up with me in the morning and we catch up, the oldest I see at night for a chat. It works. It is the life we are living with the decisions we made on commute and where we wanted to settle. A lot of other people in the business are in a similar situation. Yet, I still cannot accept the fact that Southern makes me look like I am late. It is the train ๐Ÿ™ It isn’t me, I have no control over it. Anyway.

I was asked this week what my management style is. I believe, in a new job, this is a fair question. I asked my manager. It is very interesting to compare types of companies and different leadership styles and motivations. I so love to be back on the tech side, where people just get on with their work, everyone working towards the greater goal, no time for BS. And I love managing people, in a coaching and consultative style. I want them to do well, to develop and to succeed. I am of the opinion that if people in your team are doing well, you will do well yourself. That doesn’t mean I am not controlling, supervising or checking up. But I wouldn’t want to be micromanaging; why would anyone else wanted to be micromanaged? We are all intelligent and adults, no? Most anyway. It will take some time for the team to figure things out, and for myself, to find the best way of working together and making sure things get done. It is something called ‘trust’, and that builds over time. I always managed to build strong trusting relationships with my managers and my direct reports and teams. But for the time being, we made some organisational decisions this week. Full steam ahead, I am very excited.

Looking at the news this week there were two topics. One was around Brexit. The trigger of article 50 now needs to get parliament approval. I don’t think that changes much but it shows how the Supreme Court is not afraid to step up against the government. This in itself is a good sign as it shows a strong democracy. I personally think this won’t change things, but it might cause further delays. Hopefully I get my citizenship from the Home Office soon. Then my passport. Fingers crossed.

The other news are, and my Facebook feed is full of it, that Trump does want to build this wall to Mexico. The costs are horrendous, just to maintain it they estimate 2bn USD per annum. How many families could you feed with that? We had a wall in Germany for 40 years, and it won’t last and neither should it. You cannot separate people. People are always stronger than barricades, fear and walls for that matter. I am astonished. What is next? Segregation in the USA all over again? Please don’t do that to this world. We must stand together, worldwide, for the USA not to turn into a 4th Reich. We cannot let history repeats itself and must be cautious of populist movements across the globe. I am just a little person in the world, and I know that there are smarter, more influential people seeing this already. Yet, we should not forget and everyone can do a little towards peace, community and humanity.

This video from New York sends me the chills. #alwaysnewyork

Another advantage of my new routine is that I run and exercise a lot in the morning again. I feel fitter, watch what I eat (despite the free snacks in the office) and make sure I walk a lot. It seems to work, 3 weeks into the new year, and my weight is almost where I want it, but overall I just feel better and stronger. I also revisit some of the Anthony Robbins personal development ‘tapes’ and experiment with goal setting and focus exercises. My commute allows for a lot of studying and reading again, so watch this space moving forward. Although, I need to factor more time in to reflect and take it all in. One cannot learn and study all the time without reflecting and putting it into action.

A full packed week and weekend and looking forward it won’t change for a while. I love it. And this weekend… I got my battery in my phone replaced (FOC due to a manufacturing fault); the oldest had a sleep over and the youngest was properly spoiled by my wife and I ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy days.

Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to share this blog if you enjoy reading it. Thanks.

Best,
Volker

Sunday Column (315)

How has your week been?
How often did you hug your kids this week and tell them that you love them?
How often did you have the fire on, sat back and enjoyed the atmosphere in your living room – your home?

I did that a lot this week.
I also invested in a few new apps, optimising the set up of my MacBook Air. I am, after getting an external screen, now fully equipped to own a productivity machine at home rather than a ‘laptop’. New 2do app and SimpleMind mind-mapping will increase my productivity, making me less dependent on my iPad and having all tools in one place. I am pleased. My new post on productivity over at Linkedin is doing well. I got a lot done this week!

Also, this week started with great news. If the official confirmation will happen tomorrow, I was tested for some potential “illness” which of course I didn’t believe I had. Yet it had been a roller coaster ride, thinking “what if” and “what would happen to the family”. It makes you think, and gladly it came out this way. Maybe it was too premature to assume anything, but one has to check things out. I don’t think it was ever that dramatic, or I was ever really considering the option that anything bad would happen, but it was on my mind. It eats into your thoughts and it does affect your everyday thoughts. Yet it is over now, it is, and tomorrow I should get the official “all clear”. I am grateful.

And given all those videos on Facebook and elsewhere, showing how people don’t help other people that need help made me think too. I finished Anthony Robbins’ latest book on finance and investing and he finishes it off in terms of: ‘make a difference and help others if you can’. He started to pay for other people’s Thanksgiving dinners. Now he is paying for and helping millions of people get fed. Take a massive action to make this world a more positive place. Today. NOW!

Take massive action

What did I learn, thinking about the scenarios? I learned how to prioritise family. How to be with the family more. More intensive and giving them more attention. Putting my phone and distractions aside. How to cherish the moment, and how to enjoy life. Yet did I really? Yes, it made me think a whole lot and I am improving. I make sure I am. You know when you think of this lottery win, what you would buy and what you could do with the money? One is going on a similar “mind ride” yet less positive. And the lottery win as anything else might never happen, but you never know either.

I don’t think I am a better human because of it, and I don’t want to overdramatise things at all. Yet I like to think that the possibility of not being there in the future, so soon, gave me food for thought.

The rest of the week was less eventful. To be honest, I could do with a week that wasn’t. The first week for months without travel, without back to back meetings and a more relaxed atmosphere at work. It is nice to be able to take it easy-ish for a week ๐Ÿ˜‰ More travel again next week.

My knee after some running two weeks ago is still sore. I had enough todo at work, attended lots of client meetings, a conference and followed up on a lot of stuff. Yet it was nice to not have to work 24/7 for a week and managing to see the family a lot.

At the weekend we had a spontaneous visit from the family: my cousin and husband were here. We also went for a forest educational walk organised by the friends of my oldest’ school. It is nice to be involved in the community and feel at home in the village. A new car tyre, a chat with the local Scots and pulled pork and wine was just what I needed. Not being able to run makes you sluggish but I hope to be back up and running (literally) very soon.

Next week is already the last week of March. This quarter, as aforementioned, really flew by. It is good, I love what I am doing and there are lots of prospects moving forward. 2015 is going to be amazing.

Take massive actions NOW. Don’t waste time thinking about doing good. Just do it. We are here to make a dent in the universe, start somewhere today.

Have a great week,
Volker

Sunday Column (308)

Last weekend, we missed a birthday party of a dear friend, however had a lovely visit from a friend who was very keen on seeing Rosie. It reminded me of what I always thought would happen when you get older: people coming over for lunch, you have a hearty winter lunch on a Sunday, then you head out for a long walk with the dog, come home and put the fire on. Then of course you fall asleep on the couch. I think I always envisaged Sundays like that. But maybe the consume has taken over, the bargain hunts, the Tesco deliveries and the exercise schedules, kids’ birthday parties and doing all those things you don’t have time for during the week. The social pressure really.

I am busy, and try to stay busy between the hours of 5 am and 7 pm but then it is all ‘down time’. At least the couple of hours before I go to bed. I trimmed my beard down and I am not sure if I like it yet. I am not even sure I keep it. It is February too. We are getting out of the January blues and into the winter months leading to hopefully an awesome warm spring that will ignite the fire within us. My mood is changing between winter blues, midlife crisis and an utter urge to drive things forward in life. It is this inner urge a lot of people don’t understand. It is awesome really.

Dry January: I will published a post about dry January on Linkedin tomorrow. But I made it. Despite a client meeting on Wednesday, a conference on Thursday and drinks I had organised for Friday, it wasn’t until Saturday, 31st of January, that I had a glass of wine. With a small one on Friday to ease me in though ๐Ÿ˜‰ Very determined. I kind of enjoyed it to be dry but it felt silly at times to give something up you enjoy and which gives you relaxation.

Having said that, I shed half a stone, which is also diet related, and listened to lots of podcast episodes in January. I had more time to do things, concentrate better and probably saved a small fortune. Moving forward I aim to have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as dry days. Which means it leave me with Thursday through to Saturday with drinking days. Maybe I can swap the odd day and keep Sunday a flexible one. Having said all that I am meeting a few friends for drinks on Tuesday ๐Ÿ˜‰

Never mind, unless you really want to give up drinking, it doesn’t really matter. Drink responsibly, have a few days off and avoid too high alcohol content as well as too fattening drinks if you want to keep off the weight. Red wine, however, is just fine ๐Ÿ™‚

janus

Also, in January, I managed to do a lot of blog planning for tidWOWs, my productivity blog. With the publication of my book chapters I am up to middle of the year for content. The aforementioned podcasts I am listening to about personal development, productivity and life hacks really encourage me to keep going and write more about those topics. I enjoy researching them and started looking more into nutrition, food and weight loss/gain too. There should be no topic one cannot learn if you put your head to it. And currently, understanding which foods are great for my body and which ones aren’t, which ones make me fat and which ones don’t, how to rightly train to gain muscles vs. how to train to get bulky, is a keen interest of mine.

January. There we are. Named after the god Janus, the god that could look into the future and the past at the same time. The month we look back to the old year and the month we look ahead into the new year. I used to be part of an environmental youth group called Janus, trying to look back what damage we had done to our environment, trying to predict what was in store to save it. Those were the days.

But before I get all sentimental, have a fantastic week, enjoy February and … I can now rise my glass to a fabulous 2015!

Cheers!
Volker