Posts Tagged run

Sunday Column (433)

Happy Easter. I love Easter, mainly because I can spend a lot of time with the family. Good food, great chats and quality time with the kids. Particularly if you have the weather and can spend some time outside. It is nice and meeting great friends, chatting about what was and what there will be. Easter, for me, is about reflecting on the winter, the dark months, then to move forward towards the summer. It is also very close to my birthday, so making it a reflective time for me.

I started Easter with a run – a 10 mile run turned into a 23K run – as always I got lost. A lot of uphill and downhill. With the wife – and it was fantastic. I was knackered though. Being out in the woods, spring in the air, some drizzle, some views. Amazing.

This week I have been debating what and how much to write. It will be a shorter post I thought, just because I am really chilling out, relaxing and staying offline more than anticipated. This is a good thing. A friend of mine recently suggested that the trend goes towards digital cameras, MP3 players and any other ‘not connected’ devices. Away from an all in one, phone, connected device. I am not sure about that yet. However, maybe it is a trend and ‘humans’ will try to disconnect again. Hmm. Time will tell.

On productivity, a few weeks ago I started using Inbox for Gmail (by Google) which essentially let’s you snooze your emails to a time/date which is convenient for you. By doing so it removes the emails from your inbox. This way you easily get to inbox zero and also read emails when they are relevant (e.g. important ones in the morning, newsletters on a Friday afternoon). It gives you an immense satisfaction to clear your inbox by the end of the day, before a holiday or sometimes during the day. Latter is less often the case and it helps you to chase and remind people of actions.

Having more control over emails and being able to use inbox as a todo list, something I never recommended to do with a ‘standard inbox’, is a good way to keep your todo list small. On the other hand, the amount of articles lately that suggest to schedule time in your calendar for actions to get them done rather than using lists, is getting more. I will share them via the Thursday Flash, but only partly agree. Blocking time to get through your todo list and work on time relevant things is important and good practise. However, to schedule every task down to the hour only makes sense if your work is very task based and then you work through one after another anyway – hence could use a list. But as outlined in my book (link on the right hand side), the important thing is that you find a system that works for you and that you are consequent in using and applying it.

I enjoy my Easter break. The last 3 and a bit months have been very intense. In a good way though. Time to reflect, recharge and fly to the moon when I am back! The sky is the limit, really! Powered by Rocket Fuel 🙂 Sorry I couldn’t resist. LOL

Whilst I would say that, over Easter I had to explain a few people what we do and how we do it. Our industry is still so young and so far away from the big boys. No surprise there are the big boys like Oracle, Times, Adobe that get into the game. Fun. And surely more mergers and acquisitions ahead. What will life look like Easter 2018?

Anyway, I am disconnected too – a bit anyway. Not fully of course, that wouldn’t be me.

Have a great Easter weekend.

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (407)

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Monday started off nicely and when drafting my blog I realised I ended up writing a whole post on Brexit. See Brexit.
So I had to stop myself writing another post just about train strikes on Tuesday. The RMT union, rightly or not, strikes. Again. Overrunning engineering works added to the misery. I finally was on my way on the first train (!) running from Brighton to London. Just before 830 am. Two hours later than anticipated. I am up early anyway. I can change my schedule but my employer expects me in the office for 9 am. And they should do. The ongoing situation with Southern Rail is inexcusable. It is utterly disgusting in this day and age. But I wouldn’t add anything to the conversation by getting annoyed.

So I breathe in and out. I decide how I feel. Southern cannot make me feel a certain way. I cannot change the situation. I can only accept it. Doesn’t mean I like it. Far from it. Totally out of my control. The same is true for my headphones. After spending a small fortune on my Bose noise cancellation wireless headphones I exchanged them on Monday. Interrupted and intermittent connectivity. I have been testing the new ones all week. It seems better and I am in close contact with Bose support. We will tackle that. The sound of the Bose headphones are just too good.

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The commuter nightmare. A lot of people feel the strain and pain. It makes people sick. And I wonder why or do I get sick? On Tuesday I couldn’t leave the house before 8 to catch any train. On Wednesday I was in London before 8. Madness. No reliability or consistency. The fear and worries of the train company’s delays reflecting bad on you and your ability to be at work. Companies luckily understand but they shouldn’t have to. And neither should we as commuters. A never ending story but shouldn’t we just get a reliable service most of the time? The other challenge is that most people don’t know how to use the commuter time. I have habits. In the morning it is very much about me-time. I read. Without (many) exceptions I try to go through a book every 10 days. On the bus it is a mix of emails, podcasts, preparation for the day. Depending on the day I might just chill out to some music. On the way back I work on the bus. Time sheets, feed reader catch up. On the train home I usually work. If there is nothing to work on, which is rare, I read or watch some catch up TV, an episode of a TV series or chill out. Moving forward I also will make sure to finalise my next productivity book. Once I finished reading Bruce Springsteen’s biography. Yet without that routine and use of the time to accomplish something, this commute would be hell. Now it is one of my most productive times of the day. The reduced strike service causes less delays and less time to work. I get home quicker. Bit odd, and counter productive 😉

Due to the strike I also changed my exercise routine. A nice run on Wednesday night, given I had time, resulted in a 43.16 for the 10K on my treadmill. Result. My body went in overdrive and resulted in some ‘stress pimpels’. Never mind. I enjoy challenging myself and pushing boundaries. I feel like I am moving in the right direction and get a few things done at the moment, clearing out the old, bringing in the new input. I am looking forward to a break, to recap on a few things, and make sure I am not missing anything in life. Half term is not too far away! On the other hand there are things that seem a bit off at the moment. Without wanting to go into great detail, just when you think things are all happily moving along, more change is in the air. I hope for positive change of course but that isn’t always guaranteed. Sanity is what you must aim for.

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Coming back to Springsteen’s biography I realise a few bits about life. No great revelations but essentially, as you grow up, you notice more and more that your life isn’t at all different to other people’s life. Bruce said in one of his chapters that ‘I loved as best as I could, but I hurt some people I really cared about along the way. I didn’t have a clue as to how to do anything else.‘. I see myself having done that in the past, and had to learn a lot about loving people. Something that just didn’t come natural to me. I am great in building rapport with people, mastering situations, dealing with people and having a higher EQ than some. Yet under the skin, the love and appreciation for people beyond the daily interaction was something I had a hard time learning. My wife would be a in a better position to tell you, but also my kids. It took me a long time to come to terms of what fatherhood means to me, and how to love kids in the right way. To appreciate them seeing the world from a different place and to understand how to change my perception to their level. It is a wonderful world, once you are in it, but getting there didn’t come natural for me.

Where is that coming from? I often had doubts if I could ever learn it. If I say that Bruce gives me the confidence that it is normal, I don’t have many other people I could ask. But that’s what you learn in life, that actually the challenges you have, the things that you worry about, are the same things everyone else is worrying about. With personal nuances of course. Talking about his puberty, Bruce writes ‘I was a punk, grumbling my way through….My dad’s journey on this ship was probably one fo the most meaningful of his life and I couldn’t respect it.‘ – and I can remember those days when I was just a grumpy old teenager, and so can many, that didn’t respect their parents. And looking back we will feel bad. When Bruce looks back and says he would like to turn back time to change it or get a second chance to make it better, we often don’t get this. We often only have this one chance in life, yet we mess it up. And so what, you might be thinking. You are probably right. I have regrets in my life but I am not worried, don’t want to go back to rectify them. I found my closure in life a few years ago. I went through the exercise of writing letters to people asking them for forgiveness and closure. The ones that wanted, replied. And it is good, it is healing for me, and hopefully it was for them too. We move on in life and need to focus on what lies ahead of us, not looking back. We cannot change the past or dwell on it. We would go crazy. Would I love to go back in time to rectify things? No, I honestly would not. Maybe I don’t have enough baggage and my things are small in comparison to others, yet when in puberty, I am certain my kids will go through the same thing and I will experience life from the other side. What goes around comes around I suppose. Cycle of life.

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I am not quite sure where I am leading with that. I look around the full ram packed train which I am on at 7 am in the morning due to the strike in order to get a seat and look at the commuter crowds. If we took a snap shot of those people and ask them the above questions, they would all agree. Life is what it is. No surrender. No regrets. Moving on and up. We can change the now and are obliged to make the now the best one yet. We must ensure that we always give our best, to keep winning and moving in the right direction. I am certain of that.

We sometimes remember snapshots that might be, over time, look bigger than they are. Like the famous objects in the rear view mirror. Yet often the opposite is the case. We lay to rest what we have to lay to rest. It’s done.

I am done. I am done for this week. An amazing week. I feel in more control of things and had a few things I took care of. Nice. I feel like I am winning. In my game. Getting shit done, adding value. But that’s all I want. All I can ever ask for, isn’t it?

Have a fantastic week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (388)

A short and busy week. Whilst it was quiet on the client front on Tuesday, given Monday was a bank holiday, I managed to catch up with lots of internal discussions. Also we made progress in the garden and got more commitment from our bathroom guys, so this should be sorted in the next few weeks.

Things just take time. We must accept it. Nothing ever, or maybe hardly ever, goes to plan. But that’s the beauty of life. Or is it? We always get there in the end. Patience.I am typing this post on my latest gadget. A Bluetooth keyboard by Zagg that attaches to my iPad. It is rather small but very versatile with different options to attach the screen in a way to work in presentation, reading or typing mode. And it works well so far, still getting used to it. However, already, I am loving the fact to be laptop less. Essentially all but attachments can now be easily done on the go on my iPad. Longer emails, excel sheets, presentations, etc. For short trips, conferences and most of my private advisory roles, this is the ultimate working machine.

There is this quote I heard in a Tim Ferris podcast the other day, that just wouldn’t leave my brain: Do you believe what you think? Do you? I listened to it whilst doing my half marathon distance on Monday, 22K in just under 2 hours. Do you? I mean our brain plays tricks on us all the time. We use our kids’ brains thinking to get them distracted or off to sleep. Whatever it is, our brain tells us something. It makes us feel sick thinking of things that might happen, no matter how irrational those thoughts might be. It keeps us awake at night and yet we are able to calm our mind down through meditation or exercise. Latter works really well for me, processing thoughts. GTD users would know how to sit down and ‘drain their brain’, e.g. Writing all your thoughts out of your brain, to free up thinking space.

We must train our brain to think positive and to engage with us, listen to us, and be confident. It must black out the negative thoughts, the what ifs and the maybe one days. The worries should be neglected and we must focus on the positive things in life. Maybe not a new thought but very important, particularly with more and more input coming into our brains atm.
Another podcast, Freedom Fastlane, suggested that there is no insecurity as our brains will always fight for survival. He gave you the food for thought to be told you are incurable ill. If you were, wouldn’t you fight for the most satisfactory life to have until you die, making it happen, no matter what. And once you have been told that there was a mistake, and you live, you never go back to your life of fear but you stay at your most intensive life and living experience you ever had. And that is it. That is the one and only thing I must still learn: living the life of no regrets and within realms of our society and peer pressure life style. Latter are probably the most worrying restrictions, and quite frankly, we shall succeed. 

Video link

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Stop thinking about what you need to do. Instead focus on who you need to be. We do not live someone else’s life, we are creating our own life. Our rules and dreams, no one else’s. We are leading not following and we make it work, always. No matter what. The inner force will drive us on, make us succeed in whatever we do. And that is life’s golden ticket, isn’t it?
So do not believe everything your brain thinks and believe in what you want to believe. It will happen. Life is funny like that. Believe you are going to be the next CRO and you will. Believe in your kids and give them all the tools you own for them to build their own life. They will not disappoint you, and how can they if you just expect them to build. Don’t tell them how the house is supposed to look like, they work it out themselves. Their life. Their love. Their passion. What is it to you? Why should they follow your ideals? They will work it out themselves.

My MIL stayed this week. Her partner too. The kids were off school and I was in Berlin. I would have loved more time off with the family but I was speaking at a conference about data. I enjoy those kind of things and it went really well. Likewise I enjoyed the networking, the discussions and of course attention 😉 I am back out there mingling with my old friends and partners. 
Then there was a 10K run I did in Berlin. Tiergarten, Brandenburger Tor and Reichstag. At least that’s what I planned. I ended up with a 13.5K run, a detour and seeing a different part of the city. Never mind. It is nice to run in cities, see post about Rome, and nice to see some great things. Life is good, and with me doing on average about 110K per month, I do feel fitter too. Actually, as a matter of fact, I am feeling fitter than I have ever been. Yet German beer, Schnitzel and Gyros didn’t help this week.

Life is amazing. Let’s embrace it and let us enjoy it. In full swing, in full acceptance. And let us pass on our passion to the kids, to make sure they grow up and develop the way they want. We can only help them on the way, they have to walk themselves.

Have a great week ahead,

Volker

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