Tag: sleep

Sunday Column (497)

Whilst I am not sure what the main highlights were this week, yet surely England playing in the World Cup would be one of them. A stellar performance beating Columbia, finally winning a penalty shootout in a World Cup. The nation deserves a good football result in the World Cup, it would surely boost its confidence and get the nation closer together. And we are on our way to bring it home, what a great game against Sweden as well.

I know, we Brits always complain about the weather. But seriously, we are not used to good weather, heat waves and that lasting for more than 4 weeks! We are blessed somewhat with a proper summer this year, however I find it too warm and too muggy and just not very pleasant. 15 degrees, sunshine, that’s all I would ask for. Then next summer it will be all wet, raining all the time. I bet you, we will complain again 😉

Then, I spent another two days in Germany this week with one of my contracts. Not only do I get the feeling that I can help, it also makes me think about Germany. What is it like to live there? Could I ever consider it again? And one of the conversations I had was about ‘the lost generation’, a phrase I coined a while back, and I wrote about ‘my Germany’ before on this blog, and you find a few reviews when you search for it. The generation I am talking about, and I am not 100% sure you can nail it down to specific years, but if I had to I’d say people born 1975-1979. A generation heavily influenced by the generation that lived through the war, or was born during or just after the war. People that heavily influenced your upbringing based on old views of the world. Yet the generation is also heavily influenced by what came after, a Germany open to foreigners, growing up with a large Turkish community for instance. A multi cultural, open Germany. So having found someone who understood my theory of sitting in between the young, integrated and the old influencer society, was nice. I truly enjoyed chatting about the feeling and meaning of ‘being German’ and how it has influenced our decisions to e.g. move abroad, travel or explore other homes outside the fatherland.

You can see I still have strong bonds to Germany and interesting enough met someone too, who has done the opposite swap: moving to Germany from the UK due to finding love there. And those are the reverse stories of myself, the stories life writes. I like to look at all of them at some point and tell them to people. I think there are so many great stories surrounding a closer Europe. As I mentioned before I went through a lot of interviews with French people recently in my job search, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Isn’t it great, a united, borderless Europe. Now, there was this thing called Brexit, wasn’t there? Don’t get me started.

So a thoughtful week, an intense week, a very warm week. A good week though, it was good to have the conversations I had, the emails I sent and received. I could have slept more, particularly the hotel I was in, but that’s part of a travelling job. I slept a lot over the weekend trying to make up for it. It is what it is, and I enjoy it, which is nice. I love seeing the progress and how things just fall into place. Buddha bless.

And next week? Another trip, another start, and hopefully it all falling into place.

Wish me luck, you can never have enough of it.


Sunday Column (479)

6.52 – Monday – my train is leaving my local station to get to Victoria for an 8.30 meetings. It is minus degrees, and bitterly cold. As I am waiting for the train I reflect a bit and realise that I should have taken a woolen hat and some gloves. But no, I never really think about this. As most of my readers know I am an early bird. I lost over 10kg a few years ago and ever since had to bake in exercise into my daily routine. The only way it works for me, given I have a 90 minute door-to-door commute, is at 5 am routine in the morning. So despite people asking me if I am mad, I am not, I am just scheduling things so they work. 5 am wake up, about 45-60 minute exercise, 15 minutes meditation, getting ready, breakfast and out of the door by 7ish. Simple, isn’t it?

Having done some research recently into my sleep pattern, I realise that I have been waking up earlier than 5 am. What happens is, as my body must have got used to getting up between 4.45 and 5.15 every morning for the last 6 years, that the sleep cycles, the 90 minutes cycles, kind of start messing up my sleep. So what I noticed recently, going to bed around 9:30 pm, that I wake up at 3.30/3.45 fully awake. This suggests a theory I have been following by someone who only sleeps about 6 hours (4*90 minutes cycle) and gets up at 3.30 am, yet goes to bed at 9 pm. The theory is that if you get 4 good sleep cycles, that is all you need, rather than 4.5 cycles which leaves you actually more tired. Or you go for 5 of course, e.g. 7.5 hours sleep, about 8 hours in bed. You could argue if I go to bed at 9 pm, I should get 7.5 hours, getting up at 5, but it seems not work like that for me. So I shall continue to experiment, and maybe go to bed around 11 pm. The challenge is that I do not want to compromise on sleep and definitely don’t want to run around like a zombie. Just planning 8 hours for sleep seems a big ask on my time I find, that’s ⅓ of the day. But if I get 4 full cycles, e.g. 6 hours, and wake at 5 am, then 11 pm seems to be the right time to go to bed.

What do you think? Are you an early bird? What works for you? Please reach out to me and let me know. If you read that and have done some studies, please let me know, I am curious on how to master this.

Now the #uksnow – panic set in from Monday yet most trains were running as normal on Tuesday. I was impressed. And pleased. Good to see that the system works and that enough preparation didn’t kill the infrastructure. Well done Southern and Thameslink. I wore my old Navy boots to town, yet changed into more formal shoes once I got there 😉 It is a shame that the UK seems to normally collapse under an inch of snow, the more I was delighted to see it didn’t. And the boys loved it, they haven’t seen proper snow for a while. Personally, I love the cold weather. A few weeks of bitterly cold weather, snow and chaos sometimes doesn’t hurt. But then again…..it is easier without, isn’t it?

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I decided to stay at home. Weather was ok-ish on most days, but deteriorated on Friday. So I postponed a meeting I had to go in for on Friday but thought it’s better than getting stuck on a train half way home. A Skype call worked just as well, and after all, the trains were running fine. I actually enjoyed the cold snap and having the fire on most days, getting cosy and drinking wine, and maybe taking it a bit easier, was actually rather nice. Cheese boards. Oh yes, I love a good night in. I have a busy week ahead next week. Fingers crossed I will be getting closer to making progress towards finding a job. I keep saying that every week, but I feel like things must come to an end before Easter. Fingers crossed, I keep you posted as always.

So not a hugely eventful week but with the snow and all, that’s what happened. For a few this was the perfect excuse to not do any work on Friday at all. It is wonderful for the kids and only ever happens every 5-10 years. So not a big deal but disruptive. It slows down a lot and given it was MWC this week in Barcelona, half the industry was out of the country anyway. Easter is getting closer with 3 weeks to go, so let’s see how things plan out. I definitely enjoy being out there doing some contract work, being busy and having a purpose. It helps not going stir crazy.

Additionally I booked a few new podcast guests in, and almost filled the schedule until the end of the year. I finally got some women committed and also started having some guests that are not in the adtech industry. We are moving in the right direction and I enjoy listening to my guests, discussing the Stories of Success.

Apologies for a rather diary like column. My focus at the moment is on the job hunting, the contract job and juggling a few things on the family side. Life never stops.

Have an amazing week ahead,

Sunday Column (339)

As I started writing this blog I just published an Ebook/guide on weight loss. It describes what I have done, and what made me lose and keep off 8 kg since January. Yes, I am proud of it, yet this is only one piece of the jigsaw of a successful and healthy life. As a matter of fact, the guide will form part of a new book I am writing on, hopefully completed next year.

I am excited about personal development. I am passionate about the potential to train your mind, to develop your personality, and about what all we can learn, and how we can improve other people’s lives. This is my greatest hobby, passion and interest. For me, being back on the commute, is like being back at school. I started to pick university lessons from iTunes university and listened to quantum mechanics this week. I now understand why older, retired people, are going back to university. There is so much out there to learn, understand and explore. However, it is time that is the challenge.

With on average 7.5 hours of sleep, a 5:30 am start at the moment, I feel I don’t have enough spare time. Over the next few weeks I will change to 5 am starts again. However, I don’t want to go below 7 hours of sleep. Balancing that, trying to find the optimum, is key in life. A lot of things like your health, your success, performance, mood, state of mind and so on, are depending on your sleep. Weight gain too btw.

I like to experiment with these things. The early routines, meditation practises, exercise routines, studying, researching and writing. That is all for me, yet there is a whole family and a demanding job on top of it all.

Nothing like this week when my 6 year old asks how the world was made, leading to a discussion whether there was a god. We are quite open for him to form his own opinion and quickly he concluded there isn’t one. He is smart. It doesn’t make sense, sorry. As much as we all would like to have someone there, and I personally believe in a superior (un)consciousness, there is no one that put Adam together from a handful of clay. Maybe this isn’t the place to discuss this but I love the challenging questions.

On other notes. My new wallet only holds cards, notes are a bit tricky. So I started using wireless payment whenever I can. Thinking about that, I am probably a slow adopter, I realised I carry less and less coins with me. Hence I can’t give money to homeless people or charity collectors. Not that I ever did this a lot in the first place yet I won’t be the only one. The world goes paperless, now coinless. Whilst I still donate coins to my Buddhist shrine (note Buddha isn’t a god in my eyes in reference to above), and I donated £150 this year from it to a GSP charity which we felt was the right thing to do, most people won’t carry cash in the future.

With Apple pay and other phone based electronic payment options, we won’t even need a wallet anymore. The scanned card, our fingerprint and that’s it. Banking is changing. Just this week I was debating via Twitter with Halifax Banking whether they need to send me a reminder to log in to my online, meaning desktop, banking account, as I regularly log in to the banking app? They think they have to for legal reasons, whilst I disagree. Most of my main accounts are managed on an app base only. The future are apps, app environments and functionality.

The world is changing. Our kids might not need a driving license as they have an app calling a driverless car to take them anywhere they want. They pay wirelessly, or via a chip implanted in their arms. Phones will be replaced by mini computers in a watch that has the same capabilities as our current smart phones. Tablets are no longer used. Laptops will be around, connecting wirelessly to huge roll out screens on walls. One will just throw content on there to do presentations. Most of this exists in its infancy already btw. By the time our kids are grown up it will be normal.

In the meantime I am going back to the commute. I am almost at Victoria, having had a pleasant journey, writing this post and meditating on the way. People will still need to get together to collaborate. More and more can be done virtually, but nothing will replace physical get togethers. I am off to work really.

On that note, have a great week.

Sunday Column (332)

I survived, actually really enjoyed the long weekend with my boys. Having dad time is great, yet juggling the school run, taking the dog for a walk, particularly in the rain, with two little ones….anyway, it was all fine. The kids seemed to have enjoyed it and I did too.

This week at work it was still busy. Looks like next week a lot of people are on holiday, then another busy week and July is already gone. Wow. Time flies when you are having fun! We interviewed for a German Sales Director position based in Germany and are in the process of appointing someone soon. So that’s good news, we are moving forward. Lots of things to do, targets to achieve. Exciting times.

On the private side of things I am looking at my health again, my exercise patterns, my sleeping patterns. I am tempted to experiment more. My 18K run encouraged me to extend my running cycles but looking at having to spend 2 hours running and being tired for 2 days, just doesn’t work for me. My ambition is to stay fit and healthy. Also, my leg pains are back, not as strong, but I believe it might have to do with my shoes. If you run 20K a week, 800-1000 km are quickly done. Time to get new trainers.

So this week I went back to a 10K, a 5K and another 10K over the weekend. This plus 2 sessions of kettle bells and 3 sessions of own body weight exercise, plus my 10,000 steps a day, keep me fit. Given I continue to eat healthy, I shouldn’t put on more weight.


What’s my aim?
I want to spend as little time as possible away from my family exercising. I want to stay healthy. I don’t want to regain the weight I lost.

Along those lines I have been looking into my sleeping patterns and the 90 minute cycles. I seem to really be refreshed after 6 hours of sleep (that is 6:30 in bed). 4×90 minutes. I wake up ready for the day. The next one would be 7:30 of sleep, e.g. 8 hours in bed, catering for half an hour of going to sleep.

So rather than sticking to a 5 am start, I might change to a 6 am start but a later time to go to bed? It is all about routine, accepting your body’s internal rhythm and monitoring what works for you, extending on what you have learned. Personally, I find that very interesting and fascinating 😉


But let me not bore you with all that. On other notes, our dog got into a habit of jumping up on strangers, licking them and ‘play biting’. Nothing malicious yet unacceptable behaviour, particularly with older people and children. So we seeing a specialist to hopefully get on top of that. She is otherwise such a lovely dog and has positively transformed our kids’ lifes over the past 12 months.

We are also in the process of renovating upstairs. Good bye artex ceilings, new skirting, new design/outlay of our spare bedroom/home office and some electric work on top, matching downstairs’ design. Last but not least we are getting new carpet too. Exciting times.

There is not much left to renovate now, a bathroom and a shower room and my long anticipated driveway….all that to be concluded for my 40th when I then park a birthday present on it…the dream. I will continue dreaming 🙂 See pictures.

Not long now! Things are falling into place.

Whilst summer is on and off, we managed to have a lovely BBQ with friends today, enjoying some of the outdoors, a good chat and some wine 😉

I hope you had a great weekend too.

Stay tuned,

Sunday Column (199)

I thought I had overcome the jet lag but when I tried to get up for my 5 am run on Monday I just couldn’t move. Worse I slept the whole train journey into work. On a high side our new family iComputer arrived and it is fantastic. A lovely little toy. And beautiful too.

20121219-073601.jpg There are a lot of things you need to get used to but ultimately it is my wife’s working machine. Future proof I hope 🙂

I often feel a little overwhelmed on a Monday. A lot of people want to know lots of things all the time from you. Particularly if you have been out of the office for a week or so. This is ok but if you have deadlines to meet it can be quite annoying. So I try leaving early on Monday and catch up with the stuff that needs done at home or on the train. Too much information these days. The year end stress of course accelerates things, so I was very glad when it was Friday. Time to chill out for two weeks. Family. Toy story. Christmas I suppose 🙂

Not sure if I will put a goal or wish list together for 2013. I am excited about the opportunities at work. I am excited about Colin starting proper school. I am excited for Rohan to start talking. There is so much life has to offer us. And it is just there to grab and live the moment. I am tired just now (in general at the end of the year) but full of enthusiasm and positive energy for next year. Bring it on, I can take it!

Now, going with the flow, I plan to do some catching up over my holidays. A bit of writing and reading. Running. This week seemed like running wasn’t possible because of tiredness and Xmas parties. I got a massage this weekend which helped me to relax. My muscles are much looser than in the summer when I had my back ache. I got a few plans for the holidays. Spending time with the kids and going down to Sealife in Brighton again. But, going with the flow (this will be my new mantra I think), there is no pressure for anything but to spend time with my loved ones. Look at what kind of family man I become 🙂 I am loving it too.

20121219-074837.jpg You probably heard a lot about sleep and tiredness there but there is one detail I haven’t mentioned: C sleeps through the night. He now wears socks and has a gro clock which shows him stars when he is supposed to sleep and a sun after 7 am for waking time. He loves it. He gets up and is all excited to have seen the sun. Bless. R also, after almost 2 years, sleeps through the night. A bit more food, a bit of crying and off he went. So after two years I seem to get my life and wife back. Catching up with sleep I never thought I would get back.

I believe I survived our Christmas party alright-ish. I was fine to the point I came home and my wife offered me a few zips out of the bottle of wine she had open. So it got later than anticipated and I did feel it a bit the next day. Crimbo drinks with some “industry veterans” the next day were a bit messier but I survived even that. A bit ropey on the Friday but lucky me worked from home as all trains were cancelled into London. Due to a fire in the signaling box along the line trains were cancelled even at the weekend. So that all worked out well, overall a good last week in the office. I am now off until the 7th of January, a proper break.

We got a couple new fish at the weekend too. Some Neon Tetra, two plecos and more catfish. A friend advised me on the right set up of the fish tank, so fingers crossed this all works out.



To be honest, this is concluding the highlights of the week. We are very fortunate and happy. Things are good in our little village and our little home. All set for Christmas. I am sure I will post a picture of a few toys that are meant to be for the boys but I will spend most Christmas Day playing with 😉 Christmas is really for the kids and hence we are more excited for them than for us. We already got our Christmas iPresent this week, so we are all set.

This year has been a bit rocky road. With the move, some changes at work, some changes with the kids. But overall it has been a really good year. It went fast but not too fast. We didn’t manage to catch up with as many friends as we wanted to but you never have enough time for everyone. That is mainly true for the guys living in Scotland or Germany. Having said that we saw a lot of the family this year. The move is probably still the biggest thing that happened. One of the best things that we have ever done. We slowly settling in our little village, found friends and just going with the flow.

Maybe one last comment or thought. I read the other day a quote that went like this: “Just because it is better, doesn’t mean it has value. Value comes from improving people’s lives, not impressing them with your technology.”

I work and sell technology. I try and help people to improve their lives. That is very enjoyable. But sometimes more technology, a better computer, a nicer tablet, another laptop, a faster car or just a bigger TV won’t get you anywhere. Just because things are better than others doesn’t mean you add a lot of value to your life. A 42 inch TV doesn’t add more value than a 32 inch TV. It isn’t about “the longest” or “the biggest”, it is about what value you add using technology. And I am determined that this will always be the case for me. With work and with my private life. Value adding, giving and sharing is so important. And, if we can do that utilising technology to make it better, faster and more valuable for everyone, then this is a good thing. That is why I love technology, embrace Facebook and Twitter.

Enough now. I hope you and your family, wherever you are, have a fantastic, peaceful and happy Christmas and a great break.

Love and Kindness to you all.

Yours, Volker

Sunday Column (179)

The Olympics seem to dominate London’s life. Transport so far had been little affected, at least for our guys in the office journeys to work are ok. The odd lateness and leaving early but nothing out of the extraordinary if that makes sense. We expected worse.


I was asked a couple of times which team I support. Really, I am not overly interested in the Olympics despite the fact they are happening in London. Whilst it might be a chance of a lifetime to go and watch an event, I am really not interested. Maybe sad but that’s the way it is. And if I had to cheer for a team, believe it or not, I would cheer for team GB. I arrived.

Btw arriving. You probably saw that we got our front and back door now. Finally peace. A few more decisions like garden, heating, decorating and loft insulation but that should be it. Now we are looking at the inside. Decoration, efficiency, warmth, beauty. My wife, and to a certain extent myself, are fed up. 8 weeks of constantly managing builders, receiving quotes, doing DIY. But we got there at the end. Look at what we all achieved. Life is good. The kids settling in. We feel home. We are happy!

Regarding the Olympics I found a great article about what it means from a coaching perspective.

For every Olympic gold medalist there is a team of trainers, coaches, parents, friends and supporters that encouraged and challenged them through the stretching and growth process. And for each one of our greatest accomplishments in life and work there is a story and group of people that made it possible.
If we try to stretch ourselves without the support of others we either won’t go very far or we’re likely to snap.
But when we have support and encouragement we are able to stretch ourselves and reach farther than we ever thought possible.

I see this at work. Summer months are slower in terms of revenue. But having the support structure, mentors, co-workers and good managers, coaches or family of course, will give you and each individual a support team to achieve your goals and aspirations.

It is like being a dad. I was made consciously aware this week how much Colin wants to be like his dad. Starting from the underpants. Of course you know about that. Kids using their parents as role models. But wait a second, that is me. I have this responsibility of what my kids want to be like. I cannot have a cigar around them or get drunk. I cannot shout at someone or be rude. I am in charge of my own life and the development of two little people.

And you know what? It is fantastic. You can be a mentor, trainer and coach. Every day. Every night. Hopefully for another 30 odd years. A helper, friend, buddy, dad. A mentor. A role model. A leader.

That is what I enjoy. That gives me inner satisfaction. That is what makes me tick, this gets me excited. I love to manage and coach. I arrived.

Team VB.

This week concluded a roller coaster ride. Nothing I’d disclose here but I am working on a few challenges. They make me stronger, smarter, better. So it is good.

My sleeping routine will change again. After a week of looking at my hours of sleep versus my energy level I believe 6 hours are my optimum. So this gives me another hour to work on stuff.

Have a fantastic week.


Sunday Column (21)

Time seems to fly, doesn’t it? I keep saying that every week.

This was my first full week at my new job and I really enjoy it. I believe it is the first job change where I change within my expertise, working in the field of Search Marketing, Social Media and Digital. And, I really enjoy my new colleagues, the office, the work, just everything.

On Tuesday I was supposed to meet a friend in Soho. I tried finding him, but instead I ended up in a studio where they did some nude paintings. Not that I minded, but was kind of confused. Guess that is Soho for you, you never know what’s behind the next door. Unfortunately, I never found my friend who I still believe was the model 🙂

On Thursday I noticed my progress in Tai Chi after practicing almost every day. I have been getting into a routine to do a 10 minute practice session every morning before I go to work. Not on Thursday though. I slept in and only got up a 7.44, leaving me 20 minutes to catch my train. Luckily my neighbour gave me a lift and I made it in time. I only slept in 2 days in my life and surely that is the last thing I wanted to do in my first day at my new work.

On Friday for lunch I met a good friend for a catch up and at night I met another friend of mine in the Hospital Club. If I say friend this is due to us knowing each other for over 2 years, however, never really had the chance or time to sit down and just chat. And we did just that on Friday and it was really good. And, as he didn’t drink alcohol, I didn’t drink either, ending up with lots of Apple Mint drinks. Very enjoyable night.

Saturday got us some more “baby visitors”. Our friends from Essex came over and we spent a lovely day in Beckenham, having pints and food in the Ye Ole George. Colin behaved himself most of the time and honestly, I just felt knackered after an afternoon in town.

I seem to be coming down with a cold or something. Of course I am paranoid that it is the Swine Flu, but that might just me thinking that because it is all over the news. My throat is a bit sore and I could sleep a lot.

My wife luckily does most night shifts with the boy and I am left with the “just before bed” feed. However, I just don’t seem to get enough sleep and with the weather being poorly, muggy and me feeling too warm and uncomfortable, I just seem to be worn out. That is of course only temporary. They say after 6 weeks, e.g. end of next week, babies are getting quieter and I hopefully get some better nights sleep. I probably shouldn’t complain, it could be a lot worse, but guess being tired just makes you moan 🙂 The boy is really great and gets more interactive by the day. Really enjoying it!

Sunday, as of above, was just chilling out. We had to do some stuff in the house and sort some bits and bobs. But that was it really.

Have a great week. The weather isn’t suppose to get much better, but enjoy the British summer anyway 🙂