Tag: blog

Sunday Column (505)

You know, this week saw the beginning of season 2 of my podcast. I really enjoyed recording loads of material over the summer, meeting interesting, successful people and recording their stories. However, I also know that I probably end up having less time doing that moving forward. So this season is similar to season 1 maybe a bit more topical and next year I am planning to potentially shift the podcast a bit into a longer form concept. Let’s see how it goes.

I must say this weekend was fantastic. Life is about creating memories. I managed a 25K run, and it was fun, pleasing somewhat. It was weird, running through fog, cold patches as the sun came up, then warm muggy patches in the woods. I love where I live and whilst discussing Brexit a lot this week, I don’t want to leave. I am sure things will work out. Will I end up running a race after all? Maybe, I still haven’t made a final decision yet.

Then the little one and I enjoyed a fabulous football game in Brighton. It makes for a whole afternoon just to get there and back. And what fun we had. Who would have guessed that I enjoyed football that much, after I had never been to a game until 2 years ago. And now, we got the premier league at our door steps, why wouldn’t we go?

I wrote it before, life is about focus. So when the family disappeared for 10 days and I had some spare time, e.g. a long bank holiday weekend, I decided to crank out lots of content for my podcast and blog (watch this space over the next few weeks). Also, I started clearing out some old stuff. Every now and then I go through old folders, picture albums and decide whether I keep them or not. So this time, a lot more went in the bin than I had anticipated but it is good to discard pictures from 25 years ago, just keeping a few of good friends or special occassions. Clearing your mind, your house and letting go of things is important. As the only thing we can do is live in the now, and be present in the moment. That’s where we create memories, we don’t need pictures of them or post them on social media.

I also wanted to thank you for the positive feedback about my more topical blog posts, including the one around success which includes my podcast. Are we obsessed with success, or am I?

Maybe. And how are we defining it? When joining my fraternity in Germany many years ago, I transitioned into a ‘career driven personal development’ person, developing a sense of ‘always give your best performance to achieve the most possible results’. And of course there are limits for everyone, discussing this recently with a fraternity brother of mine, a mentor for over 20 years, there is always a new boundary to push and a new angle to develop on your personal approach, in order to push yourself further. This could be in a job or outside work, most things are mind games. My running training for instance. You can always improve a bit more. You compete with yourself not others.

I discussed that with an executive coach this week too, trying to find the best approach to get some professional help to push things a bit more. The last couple of years I have invested a lot in self finding, career development and have been battered by redundancies due to industry change. Life is a constant change.
I seem to have this urge to constantly better myself. I know a few people that do not understand that, but I love a great challenge. I strive of the learning I get from new exposure, people and concepts.

So to conclude, as I get deeper into my work and get busier learning new skills and apply my experience, the further I develop and apply focus. Hence my podcast concept will probably change come 2019; as I keep closing chapters, discard of the past in a physical and/or mental sense, I open new doors and opportunities. Exciting times.

As one door opens, another one closes. Or the other way around, as one door closes, another one opens. Similar things, aren’t they. And yet they can be seen differently.
Life is a constant change and I am learning to embrace it, enjoy it and think less about it. But I will be more present in the moment, the now.

Have a good week,

Sunday Column (366)

Happy New Year. To 2016. The year I have been in the UK for 15 years! I feel more British than German by now 😉

It is going to be an amazing year.

Why I am saying that? It is really simple. I spent the last year preparing myself, both physically and mentally, to grow personally. I have put mechanisms, routines, habits and structures in place to kick start 2016. Subtle changes, yet I am prepared to move beyond achievements of 2015, both professionally but also personally.

Last week I pushed myself. Over 40K in running in 4 days, concluding over 100K in December and 900K in 2015. I am really getting into my running and will add swimming to the balanced exercise plan as of tomorrow morning. I cannot wait to get fitter and establish a routine to run 100K regularly per month. Working towards my 24 hour relay challenge in July.

Upon us is January. Dry January. I did it last year and I will do it again. No alcohol for the month of January. It isn’t difficult, a lot of people are doing it and it is healthy. I mean most people are debating how healthy it is to go from excessive Christmas drinking to zero in January and then back to normal. A general moderate approach is surely healthier, yet a month without booze won’t harm my liver, mood or exercise routine, that’s for sure.

I am also thinking of logging off my Facebook. Using it half for work and half for pleasure, I think I keep on it once a day but on the desktop only. Constantly checking on the go is such a time waster and not efficient either. So that and some other email, social media and reading apps need to be removed or put in the background to work more effectively and efficient on the go – as some apps are just time wasters and the ease of access via a mobile is just to tempting. Notifications are stopped and more focus put on the work at hand.


Anyway, I don’t want to repeat what I write over at my tidwows productivity blog. That blog will cease in 2016 or get a new format. This will depend on the progress I am making with my new book and my ideas towards a new productivity guidelines and principles. I shall surprise you.

A New Year. New Year resolutions. Achieve your goals!

I am more prepared than ever to enter 2016. This has to do with the relentless learning I have done in 2015. The relentless working I have done and of course the ongoing work on my book and deep dive into productivity principles. Pair that with stamina, a good health and clear goal setting, I am ready to roll! This might sound like sales pitch, but that’s what it is really. Things will fall into place and things will happen in 2016. The industry is in a state to consolidate.

We wish you a Happy New Year. A healthy new year. May all your dreams and wishes come true.

May 2016 be the amazing year you look back upon in 12 months time and you might say that you lost that surplus weight, ran your first marathon or run your first 5K. You might have had your first baby, got married or moved on from a bad relationship. Whatever it is that 2016 holds in stock for you, it is your path, your life. Make the most of it.

All the best, and thanks for continuing to read my blog.

Sunday Column (118)

What I like about blogging is that actually more people read my posts than anticipated. Not only my boss makes comments, but also my clients. I like it, and the good thing is that I don’t think of changing my style or content just because they do.

Social Media, and surely a blog is part of it, is social, open and determined to ask for comments and discussions. The only difference is Facebook. Or is it? I have this love hate relationship with Facebook. Whilst Twitter is open, links with Linkedin, and the aim for me is reach, Facebook is private. Private to the extend that I am connected with some clients and some work colleagues.

A friend put it a while back as “Facebook are the friends you would invite to your next big birthday”. He is right in my opinion. However, there are still people that insist being my friend and my social life from the USA 15 years ago is all on Facebook, my only connection. But not everyone can see my full profile there, which makes is unsocial if you like. So really, Facebook is selective. Actually, I am thinking of changing it and open it up to everyone, however removing people I wouldn’t invite to my 40th….

Looking back at the week, it was an up and down. Monday was an additional day off and the pizza I made was soggy. My wife always hates me for making soggy pizza, so I have to perform this weekend 😉 Tuesday back at work was just one thing: busy. Wednesday working from home I didn’t finish until 10 pm. Thursday we had a major meeting and a lot of things to finish, so that Friday was just a wind down really. One of those bank holiday weeks where you just want to get to the end as you cramp 5 working days into 4. Have seen it all before.

On Thursday night I met Peter. He told me the story of John Snow, the man who found the outbreak of cholera in Soho, London. The story goes, as John Snow traced the outbreak to the water source (the water pump on Broadwick Street) everyone started drinking beer in the pub next door, now called the John Snow (probably more known for gay couples kissing these days). Maybe the early start of binge drinking or just the old excuse 😉 Anyhow, it was a great evening, chewing the fat about the industry, technology and life in London with a family.

Now, this really wraps up my week. I can’t wait for next weekend when my older one turns 2. I cannot believe he has been with us for 2 years already. Fantastic, and I hope to put together a little birthday post for him.

Just this weekend again shows why you love being a parent. Friday night Colin got really upset around midnight. He cannot say what bugs him yet, so it takes a lot of cuddles, convincing, a drink (of water) and a cookie to calm him down. Just when you go to sleep around 1 am, the next one wakes you at 3 am for his night feed which turns out to be a “mini feed” and you wonder why he woke up in the first place. And, just back to sleep, dreaming all sorts of wild things, you wake at 5.30 am to feed again, close your eyes to hear the older one next door. Wow, it is 7 already. Yes: we spend 7 hours in bed. No: we didn’t sleep more than maybe 4-5 hours.

A lot of people might not understand that you can function on little sleep. I have done it before, e.g. slept 5 hours on average. It is easy. 5 hours interrupted: harder. But you cope. You must. And you enjoy and get a deep satisfaction of being able to be there for someone who needs you. No one can take that feeling away from you, that deep love and understanding of each others needs. No matter what. The love for a child goes beyond any other love I have experienced ever. And for nothing in the world would I want to miss that.

I’ll write more about that soon. In the meantime have a good week. June is here, summer is here, and next week promises to be fairly busy again with me being off on Friday and the Monday after (another long weekend 😉 ). I am in Leeds on Tuesday and meet with a good friend Wednesday night. My parents and in-laws arrive Thursday for Colin’s birthday. Also, I finally plan to go back to the gym on Monday and swimming on Wednesday morning. Fingers crossed this all works out.

Have a good one,

Sunday Column (117)

Another week which felt like it was over on Thursday. Not sure why that was, but – you might have guessed – being another busy week, I also spend a lot of time thinking.

This week, not like most other weeks, I was home early most nights. I went in early a few times for client breakfasts and sorting out a new bank account, but other than that I managed to have a balanced life. That is of course if you ignore time on the HTC and time spend having a glass of wine working on presentations on the couch ;-(

On Thursday I met a good friend. I have only known him for just over a year but we somewhat “clicked”, meaning we really get along well. He just got a new job, a good job. So well done mate.

Then I opened a new bank account with Metro Bank. They are the no frill bank which has no fees but superb customer service. We shall see 🙂 However, I needed a simple additional current account which doesn’t charge any fees and which allows me to put some money out of sight. So for now, exactly what I was looking for.

Now you might have noticed that a few things on my blog changed. I spend some time with Facebook and Twitter integration and already saw an uplift in a) traffic and b) adsense earning 🙂

Most of the family had a cold this week. For some reason it was me that has been spared for now. Not that I felt great but I am still overcoming the cold from Easter, now the new cold I believe just came and left unnoticed 🙁

The weekend weather has been poorly. However, I met with an old friend who showed me around the Beckenham Cricket ground. The first time ever that I even looked at Cricket, lol. I still don’t get the rules 100% but got a lot closer. I think anyway.

We then had a lovely birthday party of one of Colin’s friends. We are entering the time again of 2nd birthday parties, e.g. I remember too well how many first birthday parties we attended last year. Guess that is going to be a theme between May and August now :-0

Sunday was another lovely day with the family. I am enjoying more and more to just “hang out” with the boys and getting up to things. Like riding the train, going for walks or just playing with the train set.

This Sunday we took them to the Christmas Tree Farm. Not like the name suggests a farm of trees but a little park with lamas, goats, sheep, pony, cows, horses….just nice for the kids to see some animals, and just over 30 minutes drive from home. Perfect for a quick Sunday outing.

Unfortunately Rohan and Colin both seem to be a bit poorly this weekend, so we weren’t able to do as much as we wanted. The joys…

Luckily there is a bank holiday tomorrow. So another long weekend. With my booked holidays I am looking at three 4 day weeks 🙂 Happy days for me.

So watch this space, I am trying to put more content and thoughts up.

Cheers, and enjoy your first week of June….

Best, Volker

New blog … new life?


Thanks for all the feedback so far on my blog.

Yes, I have moved my blog to my own domain, following the example of several of my friend. This way I have more control about widgets, add-ons and can add projects like cb consulting to this site also.

I assume that I will move balamadana to wordpress too.

However, it will be a learning process of how to use WordPress as a CMS, how to use Google Analytics, how to use Adsense properly and so on. Twitter is now integrated and you should be able to tweet this post and to see what I am up to as well. Please follow me.

Also, I might delete my old blogs on wordpress.com and blogger to avoid duplicate content and anyone not finding me. I should soon rank highest for “volker ballueder”, once Google has indexed my site
🙂 Ok, not that difficult.

New Life? Not really. Some things are in constant change, the baby is growing and the kittens are growing up too. I am desperate for spring to get some warmer weather, start planting my vegetables and enjoy a nice wheat beer in the sun. I am still in London, assuming for another 2-3 years for sure. But, you will never know.

Other than that, I started my first Tai Chi class last week. It helps me to relax and focus. Like a slow meditation. I will post about it some other time.

Thanks again for visiting and watch this space!

How many web services do you need?

My friend Don K posted an article on Facebook and I would like to share this article with you.

It is about how many web services one person can use?

I agree. Looking at myself:

  1. at least 2 email addresses I check privately
  2. 1 email at work
  3. Facebook
  4. Linkedin
  5. Xing
  6. Balamadana
  7. Search Food
  8. Volker’s blurb
  9. Plaxo

And, if that was not enough, what about things like twitter or flickr. Should I or shouldn’t I? Do RSS Feed count? If so, add another 10 I read regularly and at least 10 on top occasionally. No wonder people complain about information overload. I of course forgot my personal homepage, too.

Then, the question is, do homepages count as web services? Somewhat I think yes, because you would want to update it as it is a personal profile on the web, isn’t it?

Be selective, I guess, is the way forward. Keep it simple. Focus on what you really need instead of trying to get as much information as possible.

As an example. The other day I registered for ALL newsletters from an US online magazine, Media Post. Then I got 20 emails a day and now cut it down to the 3 most important newsletters. You have to be very selective – by the way, good newsletters they are.

Let me know your views! Leave a comment.