Tag: stress

Habits and Routines – Productivity Tip 5

How to you de-stress? How do you keep fit?

Not only during the lockdown, just generally, you have to ask yourself if having that glass of wine or beer at night to destress is the right thing? What about a healthy routine of exercise of body and mind to make sure you stay sane and healthy?

Make sure to build a routine into your day that allows for plenty of exercise, down time and mindfulness. Whether that’s a solid morning routine or small breaks spread throughout the day. Whatever works for you and your circumstances. I love my 5 am routine, and a nap if schedule allows throughout the day. Regular breaks are important, and don’t forget the earlier tip of not scheduling more than 70% of your available time.

Develop your routines and habits to have a more balanced and productive life.

If you are interested in more tips around productivity, head over to my playlist on YouTube to discover them all.

If you like what you see, you can also check out my personal development course which helps you to align your inner values to your goals and purpose in life. This in return will lead to more success and productivity.

Living in a new world – Days at home (57)

A day blends into another. Last minute changes to campaigns, learning about WordPress, getting on with a job, finishing a project.

Life doesn’t stop. It never does and always goes on. A bit like a treadmill.
I am just preparing for my 3rd half marathon of the lockdown and managed 15K yesterday.
We managed to get our walk done last night and met a very friendly sheep, or lamb to be precise. Life is good in those moments.

I wonder what happens post pandemic. Articles by McKinsey and the FT, and the article in the Independent I quoted yesterday, give me hope that things return to a new normal quickly, and that we rebound quickly from the crisis. Germany seems to be.

I hope this happens soon, and that maybe we can carry on a bit longer to follow our dreams, to live the life we wanted to be living. Then again one seeks security, new opportunities and a balance of the lot. What I am alluding to is, indeed, the new normal. The drive to succeed, to overcome, to make it happen. And, the willingness to take risks and to start all over again. Exciting and scary at the same time.

I worry about mental health. It is mental health awareness week.
I published content this week on Linkedin which shows the impact of Covid19 on mental health. We are ok, and I hope the boys will be ok. One doesn’t know but I am confident. Yet, we know of people who are more affected. And it is nice to know that I can help, and that I do help, and that mindfulness helps with stress reduction. My stress coaching course I finished today gives me another string to my bow. Stress reduction, anxiety coping and burnout prevention. My generation never talked about it, whilst the Millennial and younger generation does. And it is good that they do.

Speaking to a company the other day, they argued that the reason for them to offer unlimited holidays is that you can take time off when you need it. No one wants you to burn out. I absolutely loved that; no one told me before, when I was close to a burnout a few years ago, that they would actually care about me (from a corporate POV). It’s usually about working hard and playing hard…but it is so re-assuring to see companies changing.

Enough about mental health thoughts for the day.

It’s only Tuesday, but I had some time to share my thoughts.

Stay safe.
Volker

Living in a new world – Days at home (52)

Hey, how are we all doing?

It seems, given recent discussions, that the world is slowly returning to the new normal. April was a write off, and we are now going back to new normal, a normal of working from home, schools and services resuming, if slowly.

What are we missing, and what am I up to?

Actually, let me share a video I shared earlier on this week on social media and earlier today on FB/IG. It’s an update about me, but also about my most recent podcast.

My podcast focuses a lot around stress management and prevention, as well as burnout prevention. Why?

It’s simple, so many of us are stressed. What does the future hold? What is going to happen? Stress becomes anxiety, becomes depression, leading to burnout. It’s not conclusive, but it might happen. I don’t want that to happen to anyone, and so far have avoided it for myself. Having said that, I publish a podcast soon which actually defines burnout in a way where I identified I was a few years ago. It’s time to talk openly about it, hence I was very pleased to welcome Sean Betts on the podcast to talk about his experience. Let’s remove the stigma.

As you can see it also talks about my personal development course #BeBetter. It is designed to identify your values and underlying drivers, your purpose and goals, for you to achieve success and become better, to achieve your dreams, to improve your productivity.

Maybe something you or someone who has been furloughed might benefit from?
We should all do those exercises and #BeBetter and understand ourselves. That’s what it is designed for.

Enough of a self promotion. But I just come out of a discussion with my agency to promote the course and see the uptake on it. Great stuff, keeping me busy 😉

Have a good one and speak tomorrow.

Best,
Volker

Living in a new world – Days at home (51)

Wednesday already. This week is passing quickly. That’s good, right?

I watched ‘A Hidden Life’ last night, a 3 hour movie. I don’t normally like long movies, but it was a very good, very intense movie, which I also recommend to anyone given the time you have on your hands 😉 That’s of course if you do.

I managed to sign up for another coaching course which helps me coaching stress and burn out prevention. A topic I am interested in, and you hear a lot on my podcastpodcast recently.

The boys had a good day today actually. They seem to engage well, and the mood is great. Just something (good) in the air, not sure, but things seem to lighten up. Fingers crossed.

I kind of love some good music videos. This one was shared in a popular sales newsletter by Revcelerate (Thanks Phil!) and I thought I re-share it. Times like these, ey?

I am sure I have more pictures again tomorrow. We have been on our daily walks in the country side and things seem more normal. All good I suppose, and things are moving, aren’t they.

Yet, there is a lot to sort out still.

But we will get there. Of course we will.
Never ever give up!

Stay safe!

Living in a new world – Days at home (45)

Yes, it is Friday – sort of!

We are back on Monday 😉

I had a busy week. I am good at keeping myself busy, but besides the launch of my online coaching courseonline coaching course, I have been designing banners, making marketing plans, learning things and having great conversations. However, I did manage a few 5 pm finishes, and enjoyed the sunshine, some walks and socials.

I put one podcastpodcast live this week where we talk anxiety, depression and burnout. I recorded another one with an amazing woman from Germany about stress and burnout. It’s a hot topic, for the wrong reasons unfortunately, but a topic I am a) interested in and b) want more people to talk about.

The boys have been better. The lockdown has an impact on them, and I hope we get more freedom from next week. Fingers crossed.
Kudos to my wife for being just super awesome! She isn’t a bread baking person (that’s down to me), but she is great in engaging and entertaining the boys individually, helping with the home work etc. Super proud (of course!).

We also got a shelf delivered we ordered early February – things just take longer atm. Pictures to follow.

So not much new stuff, just turning over one page at a time, plugging away at things.

Enjoy, as much as you can, a great bank holiday weekend. Speak Monday.

Over and out,
Volker

You can’t give up. Ever. A personal look at life.

After an inspirational podcast recording the other day, my guest ask me if I ever thought I’d have a burn-out, given all the stuff I am doing. I wanted to pick that question, because this is a passionate topic of mine. I have always been work focused, enjoyed work and love being busy. I could never imagine not being busy or doing something. It’s an inner drive I have, however …

I am no King, but I like a laugh
I am no King, but I like a laugh

Reflecting on my work life, I have gone through seven redundancies in my career. That’s more redundancies than some people had jobs at my age. But, I haven’t given up. And, I have not had a burn-out or struggle with mental health problems. Given ‘blue Monday’ was last week, I have been reflecting on how lucky I am. Whilst I have to deal with anxiety when I hear the words of ‘restructure’, as it just has this negative association with redundancies, given my history, I believe that is fair enough.

There is something to be said about being able to get up 8 times when you have been knocked down 7 times. What I struggled most with was that people didn’t see the value I added, or if they did, they were bound by politics and ‘that’s the way it has to be done’, e.g. following ‘bullshit rules’. Redundancies are never personal, and once you understood that, it helps you to deal with them.

I am freeing myself from those bullshit rules more and more, in life and work, and focus on doing a great job. Simple. And the jobs I am doing now following a theme and passion of mine.

At the moment, I still maintain a foot in adtech, in an area I absolutely love and adore (data!), and which is changing massively over the next few years with Google’s recent announcement to abolish the 3rd party cookie; additionally, I work with companies that I can help and that can help you! I am excited by both sides, which is why I now work for myself.

I offer Mindfulness Trainings for instance to improve mental health, and to improve resilience and therefore productivity in the workplace. My start-up Moment Pebble is working in a similar area. I have been training Mindfulness for myself since 2006, and I believe that it made me more resilient, and therefore I never had a burn-out or struggled with mental health when taking redundancies or faced the challenges of life. Unfortunately, I know too many people who weren’t that lucky, and I want to help them, and help others to avoid that experience. Does that make sense?

Productivity, resilience, mindfulness – all of those topics have been part of my life for many years, as I have always had a focus on ‘live to work’. I love achieving, whether that is to write a bestselling book, or have a can do attitude at work. I am a doer (manager’s quote) and I get shit done. Simple. That’s who I am and I absolutely love it. Striving, but not over-striving, resulting in not having a burn-out or doing too much. It’s a fine balance, but you can learn it. For many years, I have optimised my approach, refined my productivity (remember I wrote a book on it years ago), and tried to be better, running a more optimised life. And it has paid off, multiple times. The constant improvement, holding yourself accountable. That’s self-coaching, and yes I had help from external coaches and mentors too. Thank you!

And, with me being trained in Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and other techniques, it means that I know when things get too much. I realise that when I am juggling too many balls and have to put one aside before I drop it and it breaks. I know when people around me struggle and I know how to help them. And, I discussed that with my podcast guest too, I never turned down a favour to help people. I never asked for more than I give, and always pay a favour forward. I believe in the greater good and the good things in life, the good people, and that the majority of people are genuinely nice people and are in this life to do a good job and achieve the most for others first, then themselves. This has always been my motto for many years, as I believe as a good manager, you rise with the tide.

Hence, in conclusion, I know where I can add value and whether I can take on more work. Yet one thing is changing, and that goes in line with what I preach: I start to live my life more in a way that family will always (!) come first, and that I work more around family commitments; ‘working to live‘ rather than ‘living to work‘. It’s about choice and balance.

This won’t impact my output or productivity, the opposite is true, it will make me even more efficient; with my 5 am routine I am already doing that, but it’s about balancing life, prioritising, and making sure all parties involved are happy. It’s not about slowing down, it’s about channeling the energy in the right way, applying focus. Maybe what I read in the One Thing finally comes to fruition.

Giving up isn’t an option.
Changing the way you do things is.

The most important thing is to be happy, enjoy what you are doing, put focus and effort into what you are doing, do a good job, and be good to people who surround you. It will always pay off in the long term.

Have a wonderful week.
Reach out for comments or contact me for a chat, I am always happy to help!

Volker

Thursday Flash (23)

Flash….

No way you living in the Moment – as a Buddhist this is tricky. We should focus on the present moment but our brains are wired to focus on the future. Even more important to train your brain daily via meditation.

Five ways to keep stress at check. It is all about connecting with what matter. Good friends, nature, the outside and disconnect from technology and disturbance. Taking a break from the constant pressure reallly.

The next programmatic revolution. A more industry focused article on why what’s possible with programmatic these days and how it is best used. Like it!

Sunday Column (383)

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend! I even had Friday off and enjoying a mini holiday. The weather has been ok, sunny yet cold. We went for a nice walk, made bow and arrows and had the fire on. I know….we are having a relaxing weekend really. Good food, too much food, nice wine but also plenty of exercise. I was desperate to run the length of a half marathon and so I did. I really enjoy the challenge of long distance running, so you never know what I might run next…

This week is somewhat decision time upon us. There are many lose ends I feel and trying to tie them all up needs decision making. One of them is the car. We spend last weekend and part of this weekend to go through features, benefits, pricing, ideas, necessities around a new car. The finance offers for a new Skoda Superb are just too superb to ignore. So we are set on the car, we are set on the offer yet have to find the best offer in town. Maybe we can make a decision as early as next week, we shall see.

No doubt there is a basic decision on whether we need a new car in general, whether we want a new car and whether we want to afford a new car. The answer to most of those questions is yes, yet it isn’t an easy decision making. You also need to take into consideration what else is going on in your life.

And that is a lot!

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Starting with some family discussions. We are thinking a lot on the private side of things as well. Should we stay the way we are, should we change. What needs to change internally to keep up with changes on the outside. Lots of decisions and discussions are being made.

And then we are renovating the bathroom. That took a lot longer than anticipated but it slowly takes shape. Some more minor things to do and then one room should be done, another should get done over the next two weeks. The driveway might not get done until autumn, yet the trees will be planted in a couple of weeks time. Then we need to decorate, make decisions on things, change a window and so on. It never stops. I couldn’t do it without my wife, Jenny, who does such a great job organising things. We are getting somewhere, and we are happy. That is the main thing of course but sometimes things are just overwhelming.

We are happy, healthy and have food on the table. I have a good job and enjoy the space I am operating in. As a matter of fact the bit of the industry I am working on is just forming properly, so lots of things happening! What is there not to like.

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Yes, I now need reading glasses. I have headaches, aches, pains from staring at screens all day. I am hopeful the new specs will help me see what is going on more clearly, and release some of that pain I am suffering from. Age, I am getting older, I just did, but not the big one yet. Still one year to go. Yet I feel fitter than I ever did and healthy and all. Just a lot of strain, which seems to get more as you get older 🙁

So there is a lot going on in our lives. Once most of the things have settled down and we have made most of the decisions we needed to do, we can move forward and enjoy life a bit more again. More easy. I guess I am just not the type to be all cool about things when I can see there is so much more to be done. And when it is all at ease…then I get bored again, work more on my book and will be busy again. Life goes in cycles. 6 months cycles some people would suggest. But life isn’t all bad, life actually – in majority – is very good. And we must appreciate that. Daily. Never forget!

We also got a sneak peak to Colin’s next school he goes to in September. A proper tour, met one of the head teachers and I think it is all good. I was impressed with the school actually and it strengthened our choice of moving to Hassocks. Life is good, as I said, and sometimes you forget how well you have it.

Drinking water, hot showers, all there. A roof over your head, a steady job, health.

In those moments it is good to just sit down, calm down and appreciate what you have and what you got. To stop. Smell the roses.

Enjoy the bank holiday.

Best,
Volker

Sunday Column (375)

I am sitting by the fire. A cosy 25 degrees, wine at hand, heating off, and just above 3 degrees outside. The temperature plummeted over the weekend. We donated blood on Friday, and it was late and I ate that little, that I almost fainted. So Saturday I felt drained. Not sure why, maybe a bug, maybe the donation, maybe the temperature drop. Maybe my old age 😉

So sitting here by the fire on Saturday night is nice. Cosy. Comfortable. A nice Shiraz, my paper and the kids are in bed. We had garlic chicken for dinner with 40 (!) cloves. No vampires for us tonight then.

I get a lot of positive comments about my blog, and appreciate every single one. Even if I get notified of spelling mistakes. I actually appreciate being corrected, no way of hiding my heritage, despite close to 15 years in the country. Let’s see how long it lasts with the potential Brexit looming.

This week has probably been the most stressful one for a while to be honest. Not only was work challenging, I even had problems sleeping. Not even wine helped. It got better towards the end of the week and I chilled out a bit more. Still doing my runs and exercises in the morning. I am feeling pretty fit.

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However, next week I am in New York. For the first time in 23 years I am going to one of my favourite cities in the world. Not sure how I can say that but then again how can one not like New York? It has been a long time coming with about three occasions I remember where I was supposed to go to NY but never did. Now I am going. The flights are booked. Will I get a chance to jog through Central Park or see any of the city? I tell you next week I suppose.

I am dreading the flight a bit. It’s a bit longer than usual and I just hope to get an aisle seat or extra leg room at least. We shall see. One day it will be business class, right 😉 I got a few European trips coming up, some from Heathrow as well, because Easyjet has been changing their flight timetable against my schedule. Less business friendly to be honest. Actually I am surprised but guess they have done the research.

The world of business, travel and life life balance. Nothing has changed, yet in between I am doing an office job which feels like an ever growing responsibility, strategic mission, sales and product development. I am enjoying the challenge and it feels good to push boundaries.

Life is funny in that sense. I was home early one night and decided to completely engage with the kids. And I read two books with the youngest and did maths with the oldest. That was fun! It was a real pleasure to be able to switch off. I seem to be able to separate work and life better the deeper I get into either of them. That’s a bit odd but it seems to work.

There haven’t been many other developments. Without wanting to comment on politics it scares me what’s going on in the US re elections. It scares me to think what people think and do and what they think ‘is funny’ and what consequences it might have. Yet we don’t need to look too far, considering the discussion around a possible Brexit. It also surprised me to learn that Saudi Arabia had to borrow money as the oil price is so low and Korea as well as Russia launched test missiles. Hello? Get over it and make peace, live in harmony and sort out global warming. Never mind, why would Ballueder be able to change the world?

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Yet I changed a bit of the world this week. We took on two cats that needed rehoming. So we now have three tabby cats that are lovely and get to know each other 😉 When I say three, one went AWOL but I am sure she comes back at some point. And she did on Saturday night, putting up a fight to come back in. We hope it all works out. The kids are super excited. So after the dreadful animal experience with rehoming cats and letting the dog go, we are on an up in regards to the Ballueder zoo. Fingers crossed.

So I shall raise my glass to all of you out there. To those that don’t have a living room that is nice and cosy. The ones that are unhappy. I have been thinking a lot recently about my responsibility for others. For the world. The world we live in. I mentioned it in last week’s post.

You know sometimes you are waiting. You are thinking. And you are evaluating. Then you think you should do something and never do. Because there is always something that is not 100%. But nothing ever is 100%. What holds us back? What drives us on? What makes us decide?

Have a great week,
Volker

Sunday Column (312)

Two months into the new year. It has been a busy start with an acceleration towards end of Q1. I just came back from a trip just to go on to another, then another, a bigger pitch and an exciting conference plus another trip. Wow, the next few weeks will be busy. Good busy. 

I enjoy the travel, and have written about it at lengths. They are a bit of an escape and an opportunity to carve out disconnected time. Disconnected time you usually don’t take, as I feel like I am constantly connected, 5 am to 8 pm. That is wrong, no question, and I will deal with that over the next few months. It affects my sleep and downtime, however I have big goals for self improvement this year. Losing weight, changing my diet, running up the South Downs are part of a bigger picture. And I started. 9.9K up the South Downs, down to almost 90kg from 95 at Christmas. Dropping chocolate, snacking and disconnecting more often is next. 

The main challenge I have at the moment is tiredness. Whether this is the 5 ams catching up with me or the vivid dreams, the disconnectedness or some other stressful things in the back of my mind, I am not sure. Getting 7 hours of sleep should surely be enough, yet the animated, vivid dreams are what seem to crack me up. No nightmares but processing things way down my past history. I believe there is a certain stress factor with challenging times across my life.

A computer generated image of a chain with a broken link.

What I mean by that is manifold. The above mentioned travel and associated business at work cause a strain of course. Don’t get me wrong, it is good and I enjoy it, but life is coming with some challenges. I have some challenges outside work I don’t want to discuss here, but it never pours, it rains. Life is good though, with those precious moments; and we should never forget that, I get reminded when going to bed and seeing the little ones’ blanket off, when you pull it back over their tiny bodies, hugging them, and enjoying the moment to feel so close to them. To be able to teach them gratitude and to challenge the status quo. To build their own vision yet pursue their dreams, regardless of money. I want to be able to support them to do that. 

Those moment you can perish. Enjoy the hugs, and hug them a bit more. Sharing the love. When you, out of the ordinary, take their warm milk to their bed in the morning. When they wake up and smile at you. The smile saying that, I love you dad, and thanks for me being able to stretch in bed and drink my warm milk whilst waking up. The love you feel. The satisfaction you get from them being able to have some special moments. Small things in life.

And when you set up the first computer profile for your son to use the computer. And you explain him what a profile is. And you ask him to find out about which games he plays in school, and what he likes to do at home on a computer. They are growing up so fast. My parents always said you have to be 12 to use the computer. But things change of course, technology and exposure to it accelerates dramatically. Mad.

The ever accelerating spiral of technology advancements. The connective-ness and strain, faster moving world, pressure to perform, reply to emails quicker and deal with more in shorter time.

That is it for the week. My WordPress doesn’t show me the visual editor, just the html one, so the post might look out of order.

Love and Kindness.

Volker