D4D

Life, the Universe, and Something Else.

Archive for the category “2012-2013”

Fitbit Flex – Taking Steps

It’s now been a couple of months since I got the Fitbit Flex, and it’s been pretty interesting.  I didn’t buy it to boost my fitness, or any of that other rot – I just wanted to see how much I do walk on any given day, keep track of it, and also to look at how I sleep. (which I’ve written about before)

The sleep monitoring is quite useful – although I do wonder about how it affects me subliminally. (of which more later in the week)

For the walking / pedometer, it shows I’m currently walking about 3 miles a day. Not brilliant – but equally, not at all bad. I started this year with the intention of getting out and walking more, and getting into a routine of doing so. (This actually started back in November-ish, but has been more fixed since January) I try to make sure I walk around the village (a decent mile loop) most days – although I still sometimes fail to do so when the weather is truly vile – as well as walking more when I go to the local cinema etc.

The Flex helps me keep track of that, and it’s been useful. There is a certain satisfaction when it buzzes away on my wrist, letting me know that the daily target (currently set at 5,000 steps a day, approx 2.5 miles) has been achieved. And weirdly it does get into your head – I find myself thinking “Oh, well if I park there, it’s a longer distance to get to the shop/cinema/whatever, I’ll be closer to that target” and similar.

If nothing else, it’s a useful tool for just keeping track of exercise through the days and weeks – but also as a minor kick-up-the-arse for actually getting out and walking more.

Year End

Here we are, at the end of 2013. It’s been an eventful old year, what with one thing and another.

In no particular order – and probably leaving out a load of lesser stuff – my 2013 has consisted of…

  • Having Mondeo kill itself in the outside lane of the M1 – always an interesting experience
  • Renting a Renault Megane for two weeks – the shittest car it’s ever been my displeasure to drive
  • Buying the Saab as a replacement for Mondeo, and it’s done well so far.  Handing back the Megane was also an absolute joy
  • Countless meetings all over the country
  • Completing my bankruptcy period – it stays on the record for four more years, but it’s discharged now
  • Being made redundant from the job I started the year with
  • Going back to contracting and
    • getting the first job I applied for – indeed, they offered it to me at the interview, and wanted me to start immediately
    • And the second – although it turned out to be shit
    • And indeed the third – on that one they offered after phone interview, without even meeting me
  • Forming my new company, which will start trading from mid-January
  • Sorting out an ISA savings account – which actually has some money in it!
  • Continued writing, and getting some ideas out onto keyboard/paper – time will tell how successful that stays
  • Been able to purchase some stuff I didn’t have in the new house – like a proper bed-frame, etc.
  • Caught up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in far too long
  • Attended two weddings – and another one’s already booked for 2014

All told, it’s been pretty busy, somewhat hectic, highly changeable, and not a bad year at all. Sure, things could have been better/smoother, but when all things are considered, I’d say it’s been a positive year.

The Last Year

Since this time last year, my plans were simple – well, the main goals were, anyway.

The plans, laid out on my last birthday were

  1. Weigh Less
  2. Write More

With those simple plans, I actually did OK over the last twelve months – and got a lot more stuff done besides.

For weighing less, I’ve lost just over a stone in the last year. Could be better, could be worse. I’ve monitored my food intake etc. over the year, and kept track of health/exercise/etc., but it’s not been as good as I wanted it to be either. Something to be continued with over the next year, anyway.

For writing more, that’s kind of worked and kind of hasn’t – it depends on what you class as ‘writing’. I’m writing more on D4D, and I’ve written some other pieces along the way (or at least started them, although I’ve also locked up on a couple when they’ve not worked out) so again, successful, but could do more.

I do feel that this last year has laid a lot of groundwork for the next year – I’m getting back into the swing of things, building up my own plans and routine, and generally feeling a lot more prepared for the coming year than I did this time last year.

Having Time

With the job change, I’ve just regained about 2½ hours a day. My commute has gone from 45-50 minutes each way to 20-25, which gives me the best part of an hour straight away.  However, I was getting to Cambridge 45-60 minutes early, and leaving 45 minutes late in order to avoid the really slow/shit traffic on the dire sections of road.  So that’s another 90-105 mins regained too.

With that time, my primary aim is to get back into doing something healthier, the cycling, maybe some workout stuff as well. That’s the plan, anyway.

However, despite the new workplace being a lot closer, I’m not planning to aim (yet) for cycling to work and back. Even the shortest route is a ten-mile journey, and some of the roads are pretty dodgy.  I might explore a bit, see how things, go, but for now that’s firmly in the “see what happens” side of the list.

When all’s said and done, I’m just glad to have the time back, alongside having a better contract that’s making me happier too. I don’t mind idiot commutes (as regular readers know anyway) when it’s a job I’m enjoying, and when I’m happier with how work is coming along. When it’s a shit job though, the crap commute just exacerbates everything, makes me even less happy, knowing that I’m wasting even more time, that the entire thing is just a faff, and one I can’t be arsed with. It also turns out that when I’m down about my work, it also has a lot of knock-on effects on other bits of my life, as well as my self-image/ego/whatever, which I plan to write more about for tomorrow.

Q4 – Plans

So here we are, the start of the final quarter of 2013. Where has the year gone? It’s been pretty busy, but hard to believe that we’re already three-quarters of the way through the year.

Anyway, such is life. Onwards and upwards, and all that rot.

The final quarter of my 2013 is going to be used preparing for 2014 – at least that’s the intention so far. Whether or not it happens in the way I hope, well, time will tell.

The main things I want to do are about preparation, about going into 2014 with some finished developments, stuff to build on/from, and see what happens.  There’s likely to be a fair dollop of work being done, and it feels like the right time to be doing it.

Along with the new contract, which should take me through to the end of the year, I also want to :

  • Form up a new limited company for some of the business stuff I’ve got in my head and…
    • Write the primary framework for at least one of the ideas
    • Write the primary business site to attract attention to the products
    • Possibly attend a couple of related exhibitions and trade-shows, in order to drum up some more interest
  • Also do some maintenance on stuff I’ve inherited (well, been asked to keep on working on) from Previous Employer
  • Get on with some writing – there’s one idea in particular I want to work on
  • Continue to work on the losing weight / gaining fitness thing

That’s the ideas, at least. It’s going to be a varied three months, I think, but that’s the basic framework…

2013 Phase 3 : One week in

So, as I wrote a week ago, I made some minor(ish) changes to lifestyle last Monday. Obviously it’s only a week in, but I thought I’d write a wee bit about what’s happened in that week.  I’m trying to get back into routines and patterns on these things, so I know that a week is kind of short, but if I’ve done it for one, I can do it for more.

The changes were

  1. Cutting out bread completely
  2. Eating better while at work  (i.e. no sandwiches, in particular)
  3. Walking/cycling more

And so far things have been OK, I’m pleased to say.

I’ve had no bread at all – although I’ve not cut out pasta or other wheaty products as such – and honestly I’ve felt no change, and seen no changes or results. I’m going to keep on with it for a while more though.

I’ve certainly eaten better at work, mainly through getting back to eating stuff I’ve made at home and taking that in, rather than paying for it on a daily basis.  I do need to find a balance here still, because as a contractor, it’s better for tax purposes (don’t ask) to buy something each day.

Exercise has been the big one. I’ve been out on the bike five times, and covered fifteen miles, there being a rather nice little three-mile circuit from home that works well for me. My times have dropped noticeably already – I’m using the Strava app on the phone to track things – and we’ll see how it goes.  My leg muscles in particular hurt like buggery on a couple of occasions, which isn’t surprising considering that the last time I was  cycling properly was in 2005 when I worked at CrapCo. But I’ll get better, get fitter, get faster. That’s the plan, anyway.

More importantly though, I’m quite enjoying it at the moment. I’m hoping to get into the routine before the nights draw in and the weather gets worse, so that then I’ll have even fewer excuses for not going. I have missed a couple of days this week- one through vile weather, another through being busy doing other stuff – but I can live with a five-out-of-seven plan for the moment.

All told, it’s all looking fairly positive.

Decisions, Decisions

So, as well as everything else, I’ve got a number of projects ongoing for which I’d now (I think) like to form a limited company again.

I know the company name is available, I already own the relevant domains etc.  It’s just a question of whether I actually do go down the route of limited company – which has its own issues with paperwork, accounts etc. – or whether I just do it as a sole trader.

In general, I prefer the limited route, and I’m safe again to be a director now the Bankruptcy has discharged. But I need to decide which will work best, and how it will all combine to work.  I know that with a Ltd. I can also use it for my contracting etc., although that tends to make the company very profitable very quickly. Might be a good thing, might not.

And of course some of it will also come down to whether any of the main banks will let me have a business bank account, what with only being a month out of Bankruptcy.

It makes more sense (kind of) to start on this kind of venture in January, start of a new year and all that. I need to think about all of these things for a while before making the decisions on where I’ll be heading. And that’s some of what this weekend will be about, I think.

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