Posts Tagged exercise

Sunday Column (467)

Another week in the run up to Christmas. It was a week I spent predominately at home, researching, studying and mulling over my coaching and consulting proposition. It was also a time of writing and outputting more content. On a personal note, if you haven’t done yet, please read and like/comment on the following articles, maybe even share it. No apologies for the shameless punt, but any exposure would be greatly appreciated, despite the Drum feeding me exciting figures back already. What I write resonates within the industry, that is good to hear!

* DMP/CDP post in the Drum
* Consulting and Career post in the Drum
* Growth Mindset

Why I write about data, and hopefully I embark on a few data projects moving forward, is because it becomes key to programmatic execution and is now available at scale and quality. Two factors that haven’t been met over the past few years. That is where programmatic comes into full play.

The other article is more about a shift in our industry. Just this week I spoke to someone who took redundancy at a big tech company this summer, who joined a start up which might be sold again. It is a cycle of exits, M&A and redundancies on the back of it, unrelated to your quality of work. This is madness compared to what a career was supposed to look like according to the old view of the world, but has it changed. Let me know!

Change is everywhere and with everyone. Like a butterfly we are on a constant metamorphosis.

Yet hold on a minute. Another interesting conversation this week suggested that the career is dead and that it doesn’t matter what you do, how you do it but that you do it. To not miss the boat, to take a risk and overcome fear (despite having a family and a mortgage) to gamble essentially on the big exit. Can it be done? Did we all miss the boat on Bitcoin. Guess not all of us. I just heard about someone investing a cheeky £1,000 a couple years back, now not having a mortgage. But hold on a second, when do we know if something like Bitcoin takes off, something like Facebook etc. How much of a gamble are you willing to take and how do you cheat the system? Or, as a matter of fact, can you actually cheat the system or is it all down to luck? Can you influence luck through the LOA (law of attraction) and by playing the lottery and being a good person?

You can see that I am throwing around some buzzwords, connecting the world of believe with the world of realism. Not sure if that is the best way of putting it, but what would we have to change in our ‘personal’ system and view of the world to make the output of what we are doing just ever so slightly better. To take a punt on something like Bitcoin, or gamble on predictable things. Latter is an oxymoron isn’t it.

I am fascinated by that idea. For me, and I had enough time on my hands this week to think about it, the barriers of business and personal development, to overcome fear and building your own system into the greater macro system (see my book on #BeBetter), is an ever increasing key to success. On the back of that revelation, I started working on a framework around my book to apply to high performance achievers moving forward. Plus, I am having my first concept of a new idea at the ready to be launched in Q1. I have been busy and I will keep you posted. These are exciting times. The plan is to relaunch the ‘Ballueder’ brand with some exciting content, alongside some kind of job of course.

On other parts of my life, I manage to uphold my exercise routine and try very hard to not slack on bad food intake. It is all about what you buy and have in the cupboard, the accessibility of junk food. We are getting better at that. I increased my weekly runs to 30K in total plus two gym sessions. I find it hard but know that I will have a week off over Christmas where all I do is accompany the wife for some longer, yet slower runs. I’ll be fine and my body will have time to recover and soak up Christmas food and drinks. It is the festive season after all 🙂

Being able to take the kids to school most days, making their lunch and becoming part of their daily life, is great to get engaged. When working in London every day, I didn’t have that. Or less of it, thanks to the commute and long hours at work. I think I will get back to that at some point, however whilst it lasts, I am more than happy to enjoy the engagement and what I can do to help on a daily basis. It makes me think what life would be like to live in the country side, have a local job and be home for dinner every night – but as my wife said it would do my head in, as I am just wired completely different. So it is what it is. And she is right.

On that note I hope you are all well, getting your presents sorted and enjoy the quieter time.

Have a great week.
Love and kindness from my corner of the world.

Volker

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Sunday Column (464)

Another week, another flight. Yes, you read correctly. As time of writing I sit on a cramped Easyjet flight back from Amsterdam. People smelling of stale cannabis and I wish I had booked a mid week flight rather than the ‘Monday after a long weekend from Amsterdam’ flight back. But I was only over for one day, one interview which turned into meeting people from the whole company. Worth the trip and experience. And when I say that, this isn’t necessarily that I got the job, as a matter of fact the positive noise in the meeting turned into a silence. It turned into something I knew would happened because I trust my gut. I trust myself and I know what I am doing. But when did you last turn down the chance for a final stage interview with a company for a big international role, a big salary because your gut told you not to? Anyway, consider it done.

However, nevertheless, the trip was very successful as it helped me in my decision making. As my former boss would say: Focus, Fight and Change the Conversation. That’s exactly what I am doing. More to come as things emerge over the next 6-8 weeks.

It finally got colder and the condensation is back in the house. We had to turn the pressure (speed) on our air distributor thingy up again. It also meant cosy nights with the fire on and it meant cold mornings in the gym. I am down in the garage 5 days a week now. 5×45 minutes of exercise. Slowly but surely I have the feeling that my body transforms, stabilises, I am getting somewhere, not gaining weight and not loosing more. That’s a good sign for me, at my age anyway 😉

Whenever you meet people in the industry, you always discover something new, or something you knew and look at it from a different perspective. I enjoy that challenge. I enjoy going out of my comfort zone and learn. Further I learned a lot about how people perceive me on LinkedIn. How one topic is seen as industry changing by some, yet hardly noticed by others. What I have been missing in some conversations this week is simple: the growth mindset. I am reading that book by Carl Dweck. The fixed mindset is about people believing their basic qualities, like intelligence or talent are simply fixed traits. The growth mindset is about people who believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. A love of learning. Like me, reading self development books and listening to podcasts all day long. You never stop learning.

Again, there will be more on that topic over the next few weeks. I am working on a concept to take this to the wider market, coaching and developing people. And people who want to be coached, want to learn. They want to develop. This week I spoke to mentors and coaches. I am getting the input I am looking for, the advice I was hoping for, but I only have 24 hours in the day. So I need to slow down, reflect, focus.

Life is about focus and about doing what you want to do and not what other people expect you to do. Life isn’t the way our parents perceived it and told us to perceive it. No fault of theirs, but that’s how it was. And what do I want to portrait to my kids. I vividly remember sitting with my mother in the living room and I said to her that when I come back from the exchange year in the US (I was 15 at the time), I might just become a car mechanic. She said that I should do at least A levels, and university or a good apprenticeship. A good foundation. She wasn’t wrong, and from what she knew then, this was the right thing to say. Now I wonder what would have happened if I did do a car mechanic apprenticeship. Maybe I would own a few garages now, making more money than I ever made.

However, there is something else: opportunity costs. Money is only one part of the greater life equation. How much money does one have to earn to compromise happiness? Which figure can you put on it? Can you really? Tell me. Direct message me and tell me how much your happiness is worth to you. And then put that money on the table and let me help you find it. Deal?

So how does a life look like for me 2 years from now? Ideally I work with a variety of companies in one capacity or another. Board memberships, non executive roles, advisory boards, hands on consulting and strategy, positioning, connecting and selling….a variety of things to make sure that companies are represented the way they should be. Additionally I would work with companies on corporate and cultural development. Coaching their employees to perform better. 1-2-1 sessions, analysing profiles etc. I would very much enjoy that plus management coaching. I have been coaching friends for a long time and mentored many, however there is so much more I can bring to someone’s life by helping them discover and connect with their inner purpose, connecting to their systems, and discovering happiness.

The right things come to your life for a reason, and at the right time. Be patient. Trust your gut and trust yourself.

To exciting times. More as my positioning is strengthening.

Love and happiness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (405)

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I feel tired. Maybe the weather change, maybe the wine, maybe just being on the edge of winter? The fire is on, I am finalising my blog on Sunday morning. Not that it is that cold, but why not. However, I also feel full of energy. I am bursting to put more hours and effort in to get things done. Make this my world, my day, my minute. Make time work. Make this my life. Somewhat, over the last few months, I feel more in charge of what is happening than I have ever done before. This is a new but amazing feeling. As my American friends would say, I am pumped!

Beer. Football. Fun on a Saturday afternoon. Fish and chips, take away pizza and a curry. Am I turning into a Brit? No doubt I still have my German accent, yet I feel, after 15 years, things are coming together, and I am more settled than ever in this society. I love this country. Passport or not, am I turning my back on Germany? Slowly but surely I am I think. Whilst I still have my roots there, no travel is required to the fatherland at the moment, so I get little exposure to it. So maybe I am just properly settling down… nothing wrong with it, life is good, I am happy.

Brexit or not we keep investing. Hopefully into something money cannot buy, but health for my back and sanity: a new bed and memory foam mattress. A bit beyond what I wanted to spend, but I feel this is an investment worthwhile. Our first bed after uni was IKEA. The mattress lasted a few years, then it was gone. Then we had a futon mattress. 4 years, it is gone. Now a memory foam one with 8 years guarantee and 40 days return…we cannot go wrong with that one I don’t think.

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On the note of health and my wife completing her first marathon, I am getting obsessed with my Apple Watch as a fitness device. Whether to track my runs, or to see how often I stand during the day, how much I move or how well I sleep. The health app and my watch keep me right. A gentle reminder on my arm suggests to breathe, take a minute out and refocus. Nice. I need those reminders and find them useful. I remember too well that my colleagues at uni in halls of residence laughed at me, when I had my first palm pilot, and it reminded me of things. And they said, is that to remind you to breathe, Volker? I didn’t then. My device now does. I think it’s funny now. They probably don’t -) Particularly this week whilst I suffered from the evil man flu. Trying to not fall asleep in meetings and getting any sympathy of course doesn’t work, so a bit of focus on the inner self was useful.

And I am now competing with my friend Adam on performance on a daily basis. How many steps did he take? How long did he stand up? A nice competitiveness. I think my wife needs an Apple watch too. Christmas coming soon.

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Another thought this week. Whenever I start a new job I am getting consciously aware of new people reading my blog. Often I get asked, based on my bio, whether I am a Buddhist, and I guess I am. Why, I wonder, am I classifying myself as a Buddhist. And I guess the answer is relatively simple. As simple as most things in Buddhism. For me it is about the philosophy. The bit about being in control of your thoughts, to be able to help and to be a good citizen. But foremost it is the philosophy of calming your mind, being mindful and present in the moment. Focusing on the one thing that is important. It isn’t a religion for me, it is a certain commitment to be a good human being and focusing on improving my mindfulness. It is that simple really.

Being a good dad. A good father. A good husband. A good manager. I was told this week by an ex colleague of mine, that I am very good with people. A huge compliment. I love people. I love working with people, developing them. One of my biggest things. Hence I love my new job. I can so see how I can help and impact the workflow and people. I enjoy that. Yes, there are things I don’t like, but there always are some in any job. I only started and got a chance to meet the big boss this week. You know, and I would say that, meeting the founder is impressive enough, but meeting the guy who has the vision beyond your little world is impressive … Jim Rohn said to surround yourself with 5 people that help you develop. I am improving my 5. And hopefully I am to others what they are to me.

Jim Rohn. Anthony Robbins. Freedom Fast Lane. The Mentee. There are virtual mentors and instructors, coaches and helpers, yet having people in the real world that talk sense makes you feel good. Who are your 5? Who are the five people that influence you? I enjoy sitting in the middle of receiving but also giving. Helping and being helped. One grows, all together we improve and grow for a bigger purpose. I enjoy that, an environment I strive in.

Hopefully, so will my boys. I haven’t seen much of them this week but when I did, I feel like the bond is improving day by day. I want to be a good dad. A good friend and sparring partner. A coach. All their life. That is my purpose. And the only way I can achieve that is by gaining trust.

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You know, trust is key in any relationship. It takes ages to build, and once destroyed it is difficult to regain. I remember in one of my start ups they gave me the trust to be the sole account holder, I mean kind of. So, when I left, in theory they had to cut my card. They trusted me for so long, would you trust them? Yes you would. And still today you would. This is the key to any relationship. My wife, and we had a great night out on Saturday. Let’s work on that in our lives to improve the relationships we own. Let’s make time for each other, rech out and share trust and love.

I wish you well.
Have an amazing week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (373)

It was half term this week. That meant I took a few days off to spend with the boys and the wife of course. It was great. Three days of ‘peace’ and happiness.

On Monday we went to London and the Natural History Museum. Again. Yet every time we go, the boys seem to understand a little bit more about earth quakes, lava, dinosaurs and so on. It was great, and Rohan’s best part of the museum was how life is created as a dot within a mother’s womb. Then evolution….we must go back again soon.

mother's womb

Having had some time to myself, I decided to shut down my productivity blog ‘tidwows’ this summer. The content finishes end of March and I shall move it under my blog’s pages as an archive. The decision was made to focus on other things that are going on in my life. Life is fluent and I enjoy working on new projects.

With my second book on productivity far from being finished, I just don’t have the time to maintain two blogs and two separate sections of productivity, e.g. one on a blog and one in a new book.

Regarding our car buy…or not buy. We have been thinking a lot. There seems to be a lot of new SUVs coming out this year. Whilst I enjoy the thought of having a new Skoda Superb and drive it for three years, then get another new one etc., from a financial point of view it might make more sense to buy used and drive a car for longer. Or does it?

Having done some research, looking and offers and realising it is a huge financial burden to add a monthly payment to our outgoings, we decided to put our decision on hold until later this year. Our beloved Seat Alhambra works well and is ok to drive for another year or so. Yet, for longer distances, like going to Scotland or Germany, it would be nice to have a more comfortable car. And then again, Ford offers a better deal with better car features….decisions.

The challenge is of course that the new car deals are very appealing. However, if you have the money to buy a used car, or nearly new, out right, it doesn’t stack up to buy new. And financing a new car makes sense if the interest rate is lower than the one from the bank….anyway. Decision made for now. Yet of course we keep looking 🙂

There aren’t many other news this week. I kept up my 5 am routine when being off and also added some additional milage to my running. I noticed it more than anticipated, but won’t have time to keep it up. Even a 5 am start doesn’t allow more than 10K before work 🙂 I think however that this is enough, twice a week. I tried our new elliptical trainer which wasn’t too bad and worked on different muscle groups. I might just alternate between swimming and cross trainer. Oh, and I did eat too much this week 😉

Going back to work was fine, having two days in the office is just enough to get on top of things, go through your emails and catch up on 3 days you missed. Sounds fun, yet all set for next week. It is unbelievable sometimes as to how much you are missing in only three days. Never mind. And given next week’s activities and schedules, it is going to be very busy. Full steam ahead!

The weekend passed quickly. Given it was half term, there weren’t any kids parties. So that was good. A relaxing weekend to finish off half term was nice. My wife decided to spoil me with nice food and I did my part in choosing a nice wine. One tries 😉 A few errands and play time with the boys.

Also the week I discovered Blinkist, which is a tool that summarises non fiction books. So within 20 minutes I can read the main and important content from a non fictional book and get the gist of it. I like it. The only challenge is can I make it work for £5/month to read enough books? Or in other words, how many more non fictional books do I really need to read?

We shall see.

As with most decisions this week it is down to patience and time. Time will tell and patience will pay off. Fingers crossed anyway. Yet patience, as you all know, is something I have little off. But one tries :-p

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (329)

This week was rather pleasant. I got to spend most of it in Cannes at the international film festival, the Cannes Lion, where my industry (advertising technology) has been represented for a few years now. However, it is not so pleasant when we are looking at sleep patterns, food and alcohol consumption. Being on yachts, drinking Rosé and enjoying stunning views sounds good, but at the end of the day it is still work, networking, meeting, greeting and getting business done. Yet, I am not complaining about my ‘office environment’ this week.

So coming home on Thursday was a bit of a nightmare, mainly because of a taxi strike. I just don’t understand how taxis can go on strike over the innovation of UBER and blocking an airport? What about my right to choose services and paying what I think is correct? Public transport got us there in the end. A bus. Almost on time, and a walk in the heat. Because the trains were on strike too. Luckily, I don’t have more travel planned for the next few months. Of course this might change. And, I was lucky as some passengers and UBER drivers even got attacked. Burning tyres. A war zone…..a bit OTT if you ask me.

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Another amazing moment was on Wednesday morning in Cannes. I ran my 10K along the beach boulevard, just before it got too hot. 7 am and I was off. Unfortunately I didn’t sleep well, so little sleep, lots of booze, yet the run was good for the soul, and my body I hope. Keeping fit and having to do runs is a new experience. Am I addicted to exercise now?

Running along the water front, looking at yachts and enjoying the views, seeing lots of like minded joggers – that was a pleasant experience. I will continue to take my running gear to conferences I think, it is such a nice thing to do. Whether you do 5K or 10K, that’s up to you, but get it all out of the system and explore the city in a different way.

On that note, there was another thought that crossed my mind this week. Middle aged men, you know the guys that are old and have family and … yes, that’s me now. It sounds silly but somewhat I catch myself being this middle aged man. Lots of us going around, getting lazier and overweight, enjoying life because we can. Yet I focus on exercising and loosing weight because I don’t want to end up like most of us. I got that from my dad I suppose, he never wanted to get fat, and he never did.

And I am, we are, getting greyer. I am now that person I looked at in the past and thought, this is this middle aged person, the family dad … I arrived I suppose.

Life just moves on. In a good way I suppose. Life is good and I am not complaining. I even got a tan this week 🙂

There is a German saying, “von Nichts kommt Nichts”. From nothing comes nothing. Hard work, sweat and honesty, patience and good values get you somewhere in life. Whatever you want to achieve.

Say well and safe,
Onwards and Upwards!
Volker

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Sunday Column (314)

Is it Friday yet?

The week started with me wanting to order some shoes from Marks. After they apologised for their mistake, I got a voucher I wanted to put towards some new shoes. The order was marked as despatched and I was hoping to get it this week. An email, a call and a few more annoyed days later, no shoes as once of a sudden they were out of stock. After they were sent? Never mind, back in stock in a few weeks time….

Now, the official week started with work in Hamburg. The red eye to Hamburg on Monday morning, meetings, preparation, work, long evenings, a conference, more long hours in the hotel room, abrupt changes, more meetings, networking and so on. You get the picture. Just a normal business trip. Great to connect to the online industry in Germany again, meeting old and familiar faces. It has been a good and successful trip, and that is great. I arrived home rather tired on Wednesday night yet somewhat satisfied with the progress.

Travel is a lot at the moment and probably I am living through the busiest Q1 of my career. Not ever do I remember a quarter being that full on from Monday after Christmas to the end of March. It is a good sign. Recovery of the global crisis, an interest in TV Data and TV Sync. I am very excited about the space I am working in, gladly contributing to the strategy and direction for our product in Europe.

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So things are good. The family is good too. Speaking to so many people that week I haven’t seen for a long time; it is good to connect, see what familiar faces are up to and how we can cooperate. It is a small industry, many friends and good camaraderie. I so enjoy the space I am working in and cannot repeat it often enough. This must be better than any other industry. It just has to be. And, I am allowed to be part of it too!

Enough about work, really 😉 Then again I saw the family too little this week. I miss them when I travel and I look forward to a week in London next week. It has been busy but Easter in sight, there is a break to look forward to. My camera lens from my iPhone broke a while ago. I figured something wasn’t right and then remembered my youngest throwing it down the stairs and me dropping it quite a few times. Luckily I am due an upgrade sometime soon…in July 🙁 And there was mother’s day. Hurray!

My weight training, physio and exercise along with my weight loss is going well. If we are connected on Facebook you know that I lost just over a stone (7 kg) since Christmas. How did I do that? I foremost started drinking less. I even managed the conferences and networking in Germany without alcohol as they kindly provide alcohol free beer. Not drinking when travelling is kind of hard but possible. I run 2 times 10K a week. This is to keep fit rather than losing weight. So the key are two things: one is to do weight training 4 times a week and then to eat less overall. No snacking on nuts and chocolate unless you have a bad day. Chocolate is a treat now really. Then no more nuts and seeds during the day but bananas. I eat up to 5 bananas a day. Whilst lunch is normal, yet no bread (another key to weight loss), I eat little at night: cracker-bread/Ryvita with humous, an egg or two, some olives or gherkins. That means I have enough energy during the day, I am not hungry at night and won’t put on weight. With less alcohol consumption one doesn’t have to worry about the amount of food one eats, as there isn’t the need to fill the stomach lining before a night out.

Let me know if you have any questions or need advice. I still need to learn to eat a bit more about food for when I am travelling or I am at conferences, to not fall over 😉 But overall I am doing well and will continue the above routine. It is all about habit and making it work, a bit of will power and consistency. But don’t beat yourself up, something I tend to do and get all fussy about what to eat. Particularly not eating bread is difficult.

Now that’s all for the week. May you have a fantastic week ahead. I am sure I will, only travelling my usual 3 hour commute per day. With Monday being my wfh day, so will be able to catch up of this rather eventful week.

Have a good one.

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (296)

This week I feel like I have been there before. When the baby (puppy) cries, I roll over and wake my wife, or vice versa, and one of us attends to Rosie. Taking her to the loo at 11 pm, 1 am, or 3 am. At 5 am it is my turn. I am getting up and whilst Rosie needs the loo and some entertainment, I have breakfast whilst doing some work. That’s fun, yet I can’t exercise as I cannot let her howl in the corridor waking everyone up. Soon, in a few months, I will be able to take her for a run in the mornings. I cannot wait.

In the meantime I go running at night, and did 3x10K this week – that is if I a not watching Twin Peaks. If you are the generation I am from, you were either just old enough or just too young to watch it. I enjoyed watching it as a kid but don’t remember much. It was more for my brother, I was 13 at the time I believe. Just maybe a year or two too young. Now, revisiting it with my wife (who was definitely too young 😉 ) I enjoy watching it all over again. However, after watching the pilot and the first episode the other day, I did dream about it. A very intense, old school David Lynch movie/series. I really enjoy it!

Twin Peaks

It is bizarre watching a movie without internet, mobile or smart phones being present. People smoke in the movie too. That is odd, besides the “80ies” hair styles (which of course are 90ies). Yes, I guess I am getting on a bit. And my most favourite quote so far: I like my coffee black as midnight on a moonless night. Yupp, I am getting a Twin Peaks geek I suppose LOL. Also, Colin commented a bit about my wrinkles, and me getting old and all that stuff. The old charmer 😉

Rosie, on which most attention is focused on, has now had her 2nd jab, which means we can take her out between one and two weeks from last week. So soon we can get her socialised and walking her for 20-30 minutes. Things are improving and her baby stage won’t take as long as with human babies, so we will be alright.

Looking back at half term, particularly at the weekend, I come to the conclusion that there are two important things for me at the moment. One is to really put my phone away at the weekend unless I am going out or having down time. Down time is defined as not spending time with the kids or when the kids are occupied elsewhere. Playing Lego or actively engaging with the kids for 2 hours each day on the weekend is key. They love me being around and I enjoy unwinding from work with them. This of course is normal yet I do want to do this much more consciously as they really deserve as much attention as I can give them. It is part of the effort to enjoy every moment, unfiltered and without distraction. Living in the now and making it count. Each and every time.

So the forthcoming weeks, or 45+ days to Christmas going to be passing quickly. I am travelling again a few times and also stream line some processes and workflows prior to year end. That will be done with some help of a new employee which I am looking forward to welcoming shortly. This year has been great in terms of development for me and the product I am evangelising, and it has once again shown how I can scale even smaller products across Europe within 10 months. I have done it again 🙂 I enjoy what I am doing and getting better at presenting and placing companies at the heart of the European adtech industry. It is a lot of fun.

I will have my yearly review of course at some point around Christmas and will have some guidance and help over at tidWOWs about goal setting, new year resolutions and how to achieve what you want to achieve in 2015. Make it your best year ever. I am confident it will be.

In the meantime there is also a lot to achieve on the private side of life. Besides the aforementioned time with the family, I plan to attend a fraternity meeting I haven’t been to since 2006 (!) and spend some quality time with my wife; I also want to increase my exercise output and decrease my “bad food” input. That as a balance should see me out in a good way of making 2015 my best year ever too. Stay tuned.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (293)

The week began with watching Noah on Sunday evening. I wanted to watch this movie for a while, and whilst my bible reading days are long gone, I wasn’t too sure of the interpretation of the story. Yet it was entertaining and Russell Crowe is one of my favourite actors.

Monday saw an early start into the day and a busy start into the week. A trip to Milan, a moderation at a conference and a good catch up with industry friends – a week how it should be, making lots of progress at the end. Flying in and out of Milan is still one of my favourite sceneries, the Alps, the right light and the feeling of coming home. Just nice.

When sitting on the 652 train in the morning you realise why you prefer to get up and exercise. I bet everyone on this train will not have the energy to go home tonight after work, commute an hour, and then exercise. I am still convinced that the early morning starts for exercising are the way forward. My main bug bear I had to overcome was to be able to go to bed at 10 pm. For years we wanted to stay up longer, were forced to bed early. Now that we can we don’t – it goes a bit against our instinct.

The highlight of the week of course was the arrival of Rosie. Adding a dog to the family is a big step, a huge responsibility. Well thought through and lots of effort put in. We picked her up on Saturday lunch time and brought her home. It is like adding a baby to the family. I remember, just a week before we found out that my wife was pregnant with our oldest, we got two kittens. It changed our life then as the dog will change our life once again now.

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But what is it what we hope to be able to achieve by having a dog. An exercise partner, a loyal friend, a playmate for the kids, a companion, a friend, someone to look after. We hope to add joy and fun to the family, particularly for the boys, ridding them of fear from animals.

I had one morning this week where I was thinking ‘I am on top of the world’. That was on Tuesday. I went to bed rather late for my liking but slept extremely well. Very deep sleep, got up to do some weights and running, to then play Lego with my oldest. A chirpy chat with the station person, a joke with a mate whilst boarding the train, big smiles all around. Those are the days your confidence creeps up on you and all day long I pushed boundaries, made things happen.

Those are the days you are on top of the roller coaster ride. The days you don’t want to let go to waste, the days you are on top of the world. Then a part of our company got sold this week, good news all around, some organisational changes and more focus on the advertising space. Again, all good news.

It has really been a busy and exhausting week. But a good and satisfying one at the same time.

Let’s hope next week is going to be fine, as I am off the week after for half term.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (259)

Routine. Let me start this post with talking about routine. One is set in one’s routine, set in one’s way. We all are. From the breakfast we have to the bed time routine. Mine hasn’t really been any for the past 10 months. But now I am back to establish my 5.15 alarms, exercises and regular trains.

It means you need to establish your regular night times, hours in bed, undisturbed sleeps, alarms and regular fitness routine. All that whilst still getting used to a new job. It has only been three weeks yet it feels like three months. One could say I am busy but in a good sense. I am really enjoying it! I am still very excited!

Then I saw an interesting graph this week. Focus: the things that matter and the things that you can influence. So based on the graph we really should only focus on the intersection of what we can influence and what really matters. I guess this is part, if not the basis, of productivity.

matter and control

Of course that all ties in with routine too. Whilst focusing on my daily workout and focusing on the right exercise for core strength, ankle support and muscle toning, I also need to focus on cardio and the right, healthy food. Nothing seems disconnected. The half pint more at night causes a slight slump in performance the next day. I am getting there, a challenging path still in front of me, well worth at the end. A few weeks or months down the line I will be proud of sticking to this new routine, seeing and feeling the results.

It comes a bit at a price. I have been unproductive on my train journeys into work and instead caught up on sleep. Nothing is disconnected. I am finishing my coaching this week for the foreseeable future and made a lot of progress. I still need to focus on more implementation and continue to work on some things. Yet over the last few months coaching helped me a lot in terms of focus, which now is integrated into my routine.

Last but not least it was half term. I have been jealous about the activities my wife came up with for the boys. Bowling being one of it I missed, poppadoms another. Seeing the pictures I wish I could be with them all the time. It makes my heart sink thinking about them growing up and one day living their own life with us not being there all the time. We need to learn to let go, guess another process to learn. We cannot hold on to time and development just for our own sake. We cannot hold their hands forever or think they stay young all the time.

I guess that’s it for the week. I spent the weekend holding on to what I can and enjoying whilst I can. And getting fit, see earlier post.

Have a great week.

Volker

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Sunday Column (220)

This week started out very slowly which I kind of enjoyed. My project got postponed to September which means I could slow down a bit and focus on other things I wanted to sort out for a long time. This was really to de-clutter. First of all I de-cluttered my Facebook news feed. Too much stuff you follow, you like and don’t really care about. Then I did the same for twitter, removing a few people I followed, then my Google Reader feed which I moved to Feed.ly. I wanted to decrease the background noise, the noise that constantly keeps you thinking you are missing something despite the fact you didn’t miss anything. Nice to feel a bit more at ease, and less disturbed. I also de-cluttered a few books, old pictures and “stuff” you carry around. Good to do a spring clean 🙂

I also managed to spend more time with the family this week. Despite interviews and interview preparations, I managed to go swimming with them, went to the park and also entertained Rohan for 2 hours (!). He is a wee pickle, so I found those hours very intense, really not used to him being full on. It seems so much easier to look after an almost 4 year old instead of a 2 year old. Normal you’d say, but I am still learning. Or will I ever understand properly?

On Saturday a friend and his two kids and I with the boys went to Brighton. Two brave kids who pulled through with no sleep. Daddy was tired though and fell asleep on the sofa. I really admire the daily work my wife puts up with!

Regarding the swimming: that was fun. I was the only bloke with 5 other mothers, R and I playing for 30 minutes under supervision and sang songs. Just that I don’t know any of those children songs, so besides being the only bloke I was the only one not knowing the songs. Never mind, we had great fun and R was exhausted afterwards. So was I to be honest as I had been back on the treadmill that morning. We are getting there. C was funny in the afternoon but as an almost four year old he needs a lot of attention. All the time. It is hard work, so a lot of respect goes out to my wife (again).

On Wednesday, and you can now tell I write this as we are going along this week, I managed a 5 am start on my bike to cycle across the South Downs. I didn’t take any pictures but absolutely loved it. I saw a deer, a fox, many rabbits and the odd early birds (in terms of people). I was very energised all day and drafted a few more blog posts 🙂 So watch this space on some more updates. Thursday was my day in town and I had a few meetings, catch ups and input on what to do next. Also, I got a few requests to do things and made progress with my project. I love being busy and catching up with friends too.

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I also managed to make progress on my book this week, go swimming for myself (1000m) and I almost finished reading a book. With R being up most nights and the exercise regime, less food and dull weather, I have felt tired most of the week. Never mind. My wife and I got into a new routine of doing things which make us work alongside each other much better. This is important, as I haven’t really worked from home for such a long period of time. It is working out quite well and I am busy most days, however I believe moving forward I’d prefer a 9-5 job out of the house. Not only will it have more security, it will also mean that I progress in my career which is important for me. I can always decide in 5 years time to not continue doing it and become another ‘digital consultant’ but by then I’d have more experience. However, in the meantime I might just take another project on to tie myself over. It is a difficult decision and with the consultant offers I get it might be a close call.

With the long weekend I spent, as said above, lots of time with the kids and friends. I haven’t really done that since I got time off but can now afford doing so. The initial seeds are planted and I need to see which ones will come to something and which ones not. It is an interesting job market out there with lots of room for freelance and consultancy work. I enjoy it and meet a few good and intelligent people which is just a fantastic way of networking and understanding things better.

Life is good for the moment. I could be happier but generally speaking things aren’t that bad. However, give me another 4 weeks and my wife will try to chase me out of the house 😉

Oh, I forgot to mention that I took all my coins to the bank and we got around £180 which we donated to Save the Children. I feel privileged by putting change aside to be able to donate this sum once a year to charity without it having any impact on me. It feels good to know it makes a huge difference to children around the world.

Have a good week!

Volker

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