Posts Tagged habits

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 🙂

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 🙂 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! 🙂

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

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Sunday Column (401)

andre agassi

I am reading Andre Agassi’s biography. It is a good read and in one of the chapters this week he said that when he finally ranked number one, he didn’t care. If I say he didn’t care, what he meant is that he had to tell himself to be happy. Inside it didn’t bother him too much to have achieved such a a fundamental milestone.

From my perspective I understand that. I like to win. Be on the top. Be the one people look up to. Of course, most people would enjoy that. Now I don’t do that for my benefit. My motivation is for others. I am motivated by helping others to succeed and others to progress. Whilst this usually follows with the succession and progress for myself, this isn’t the main reason I am doing it. So if Andre got a nice ranking, and people wanted him to achieve that, then this is for others, not for oneself. His motivation to win is different. I get that. And people get motivated in different ways.

My first week back to work. My first week after the long summer. Summer has been great this year, compared to the last few years, and I truly enjoyed some downtime too. And we had some amazing family time this year. This week it was good to be back. It was busy, good busy, and yet it takes time to find my feet and get things going. I am trying hard, I am enjoying it.

star wars

Last weekend we started watching Star Wars. Most people don’t believe I never watched it before, and watching a movie that is now 40 years old was amazing. I genuinely enjoyed it and we will continue the sequel over the next few weeks. Also I started watching ‘The Americans’, a TV show about Russian spies that have been part of the US society for many years. It is a fascinating watch and takes place in a time I grew up in, with the Cold War and everything. It is great to see how much has changed for the better over the years. Yet with Brexit looming, they say that they expect 140 years worth of applications for residence permits in the UK in the next 12 months. Wow. I will be one of them, as I intent to stay and therefore will go through the process of naturalisation. On the other hand I have been speaking to a lot of British nationals that are keen on getting a EU passport to have the chance to leave. Europe, the world, is changing. Let’s wait how the US elections will turn out later this year. Part of me is scared.

We also went rock pooling last weekend. I have never done that before so it was a lot of fun. We found shrimps and fish, caught some not others. We had ice cream and the kids went for a swim in the sea. Contentment. Happiness. What else could you ask for in life. It is the end of summer but I have the feeling the kids really enjoyed it and got a lot of positive experiences and memories out of it. This weekend feels like autumn already. The hanging baskets are coming down. Memories, that’s the main thing. For them it was another summer, new things to explore, doing more of the things they enjoy. I tried to wean them with new food, like cheesy garlicky bread or charcuterie, even Frikadellen. But never mind, they eventually will explore more.

frikadellen

So with summer over, a new beginning at work, it seems like a new beginning overall. I am relatively content. I enjoy my life at the moment. This might change, with the wife going back to work, my work to pick up more towards Christmas, and other changes and hurdles to come our way. I treated myself to new noise cancellation headphones. I can’t even hear myself typing anymore, can connect them to the phone and the laptop at the same time and they are wireless. With Apple’s anticipated new phone not having a headphone jack anymore, things change. And I wanted to go wireless for a while.

I finally decided on a design for my illustrations in my book, using Fiverr. I used the platform before for a logo, but not sure I made the right choice this time. The discussions going back and forth. I guess I see when it has been delivered as a final version. So I am progressing on a few fronts, however the first designer has cancelled their order, full refund 🙁 Shame. I persevere.

Lastly, I listened to a podcast this week quoting ‘Discipline is freedom’. Allegedly an old war poster from the states, this quote, again, makes a lot of sense to me. Any (useful and good) habit you have, will free up your time to think, work, do things you enjoy. Essentially by being disciplined and sticking to routines and habits, you are having less time at which you are pottering around organising yourself. As David Allen says, ‘I am lazy, hence I organise myself in order to spend less time looking for things’. I am the same. I like my routines, my habits and workflows to free up time, thinking space and allow for growth to happen. And yes, I am still growing. Whilst hopefully not vertically or horizontally, my mind should continue to grow and expand. Let me make sure to challenge it daily.

That’s all for this week, have a fantastic one.
Volker

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Sunday Column (246)

Another week. If you are like me, sleep a few hours and you are busy and engaged on your waking hours, weeks just fly past. I had a good week. Somewhat. Lots of frustration yet an overall positive week. Good chats about values, skills and what it is that makes me tick. My coaching is coming along nicely, and I make progress on a lot of ends. I worry about my kids, my wife and whether I can keep up with everything I want to achieve. I guess it is a normal worry, not a “mad worry”. Yet, there needs some more bits coming into play soon. Anyway….

I started to formalise my dream, as in my life milestone I want to achieve. I started thinking differently about certain topics compared to a couple of years ago. I start thinking deeper, thinking purpose, commitment and what stays when you are gone. I write a lot, just added another column in an industry publication to my commitments, and I enjoy sharing things. It helps me think.

dreams

On Wednesday, at our Rotary meeting, I got introduced to a charity helping people with mental problems: Portugal Prints. if you haven’t yet bought your Christmas Cards, please feel free to do so via them. They are amazing. A self help group, financed partly by Westminster Council and partly through their design sales, they help about 35 people to cope with their mental illness.

These are the moments I feel humble. I wish I could hand over a cheque and support them in their daily business with a day or two of myself. Of course they are not the only charity where I see myself being able to help. Yet, there are a few that touch me deeply. Working with disabled children, helping kids in the developed world, negotiating peace deals. I want to give something back and have an inner urge to give, help and make a difference. I started with some baby steps but hopefully I will be able to help more one day. This is part of my dream.

Life. Death. I finished reading the biography of Ayrton Senna. I wonder what made him such an idol? What makes anyone a hero? I guess one part is always the dying part, and dying in mysterious circumstances. Yet Ayrton was healthy, fit, concentrated, had a gift of handling a car and was a likeable, down to earth guy. He followed his passion and tried hard to be the best in what made him tick.

We should all aspire to that. We might not become Formula One racing car drivers but maybe better individuals: at work, at home, in society. I met a friend this week who has been hit hard by life over the last year I’d say. Yet he soldiers on, be in the moment and is soldiering on. He is not giving up. I am grateful for knowing so many brave, enthusiastic people. The ones that look forward, set an example, live of a minimum and just get on with what they do. Never give up. I can be a bit more forceful, more demanding. But that’s me. We are all different.

Being-second-is-to-be-the-first-of-the-ones-who-lose.

I am not sure where this leads us. Some random, charitable, praising thoughts? No common theme again. But maybe someone likes my thoughts. Maybe they are a bit random. It doesn’t help that I read HERO, another book by Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret.

On Friday I chaired the last AdMonsters conference for now. This will free up some time to do other pet projects. I recently started coaching a student from Aberdeen University. This is great, I enjoy that. I want to get more involved in Rotary, also looking into another membership. Some people wonder where I take the time and energy from, but it is me expressing myself, creating variety, growth and love around me. That paired with my family is probably the happiest I can ever get.

But let’s stop philosophising. There are still a lot of day to day tasks to be done and lots of stuff to achieve before the dream might become a reality. For now, today, I need to focus on finally shaking off this cold, build up an immune system and get going again on the treadmill.

Onwards and upwards.

Have a good one,
Volker

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Successful change guaranteed?

Maybe success cannot be guaranteed but below’s deck, number 2 in my recent series, is helping you to achieve sustainable change.

Let me know your thoughts.

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