🎥 Yesterday, I published a new video on my professional YouTube channel, answering one of the most frequently-asked questions I get about my job as a psychologist: “Does your job ever make you sad?"
🎥 Yesterday, I published a new video on my professional YouTube channel, answering one of the most frequently-asked questions I get about my job as a psychologist: “Does your job ever make you sad?"
Another summary of the week that was…
I’ve had ups and down on the health front. On the one hand, I’ve stuck to my healthy diet and got to the gym after work. I’ve now lost 3kg since the beginning of the year. On the other hand, my gastro symptoms and associated pain have slowed me down several times. I’m just focused on my hospital appointment on March 4th and getting some clarity and a plan of action after that.
Doctor Google has not been my friend, and I’ve had to force myself to stop looking at articles about my disease and routes through surgery. None of it has brought clarity and instead has left me feeling worried. Which is never helpful.
Despite my wellbeing issues, I’ve managed to have a stellar week at work. I received two pieces of feedback about my work podcast which set my heart soaring. Feedback isn’t a constant, so when I hear from listeners, it makes all the difference. And it wasn’t just the usual ‘thumbs up’ or ‘well done’, they provided some context and helped me understand what they’ve taken from the various episodes.
Client projects continue apace and I’m working on an exciting set of new coaching programmes for clients to purchase. After the rather unwelcome rise in corporation tax (thanks for nothing, Tories) I need to work extra hard and more efficiently to bring home to the same money from my business. So I’m also reducing my fixed costs and looking for subscriptions I can end.
You’re probably sick of hearing about it, but yes - my upcoming trip to Japan is less than a week away and I’m still just as excited. I’ve been doing more research, making a prioritised todo list of venues and experiences, and watching videos about the JAL First Class cabin (and, more importantly, the on-board food service!).
You can read my extended Japan-related gushing over on This Guy Flies.
My Dry January streak came to an end on Wednesday this week, when I went out for an after-work drink with a friend visiting from Newcastle. And while it was lovely to head to the pub and have a natter, I regret the pint. Not at a deep, existential level, but because it was possibly the worst pint of Guinness ever pulled in the history of pints. It almost brought a tear to my eye. I wish Dry January had ended on a more positive note!
I also went out to the pub with friends on Friday night and noticed my tolerance of alcohol seems to have evaporated in the last five weeks. I felt a bit grim the following morning, so I got right back up on the saddle of… let’s call it ‘Dry February’. My epiphany was this: booze is expensive, is basically a poison, makes me sound like I’ve had a blow to the head, and makes the following morning a real effort. I don’t need that in my life.
So, no more casual trips to the pubs with the sole goal of drinking. I might have the odd drink at home when entertaining, or for a special occasion. But I think I’m leaving my beer monster days behind me.
And that was the week that was…
I’ve had quite a fun and productive day!
I started my morning by editing a podcast episode and then edited the video version of the same. I’m now using Descript for the podcast and I’m loving it. It’s the perfect, pragmatic solution for a non-techie like me. Although I noticed quite a few glitches in the video, courtesy of my Elgato webcam, but after lots of back and forth, I decided to publish it anyway and let the audience be the judge of how annoying it is. The stats will tell me all, I’m sure, in time.
I had a couple of client calls and some writing time for a new project, then headed back to Canary Wharf to meet an old friend visiting from Bath. He was in town for business, but had a gap in his schedule to come see me. We had time for a quick coffee and catch-up before he had to go catch his train home.
And I found a whole new (new to me!) floor and coffee shop in the local ‘Market Halls’. It was great and I can definitely see myself heading there at the weekend with my laptop if I wanted to do a bit of writing in a different environment.
I then headed to the gym, caught up on my podcasts while on the elliptical machine, while also capturing some ideas for future podcast episodes of my own.
I know I’m not the only person who gets inspired while exercising, right?
Now it’s time for a chicken salad and something good on TV. I’m filing today under ‘mission accomplished’.
Another summary of the week that was.
It was a really productive week on the work front. I kicked off two new client projects, both super-interesting and with nice clients. This really makes all the difference!
I recorded another couple of podcast episodes, so I don’t run out of content while I’m in Japan later this month. I also recorded a few more videos for the YouTube channel, which I’m going to slowly edit over the coming couple of weeks.
I finally had my consultation with the gastroenterologist and it went as well as can be expected. He was very nice and very thorough and definitely wants me in hospital for some tests. I was worried it would coincide with the Japan trip, but he’s actually not available until the first week in March. And so I can try to put it all out of my mind until then. Which is hard, considering the ongoing discomfort.
In more positive news, my weight continues to drop, slowly but steadily. I’m still avoiding alcohol and exercising deadly. My diet is healthy, but not overly restrictive. No fast food, no snacks, fruit instead of desert, and virtually all homemade meals. Simple, but effective.
Just last night, my Japan trip plans changed quite a bit. My other half found that a couple more seats had opened up on a flight two days earlier. With a minimal fee, I still have a First Class seat with wonderful JAL, but I arrive on a Saturday afternoon, rather than the following Monday. An additional weekend in Japan - what could be better?!
He also managed to find me a room for these extra two nights in the same hotel I’m booked into, in Shinjuku. Yes, it’s the Godzilla hotel!!
I’ve also arranged to go on an overnight trip to an onsen hotel down in Hakone with one of my Tokyo-based friends. I haven’t been in Hakone since my very first trip to Tokyo back in 2013. And our hotel has both public baths and an individual private bath, which again, will be a new experience. Can’t wait to get soaking ♨️
This morning, while on the elliptical trainer in our gym, I agreed with the same friend (via WhatsApp) to go on a two-day trip to Sendai with him while I’m in Japan. This will be my first visit there, so I’m looking forward to seeing something new.
So yeah, I’m quite excited about this trip, for so many reasons.
And that was another week that was…
I’ve had a super productive morning
I went into the office as soon as I was showered and dressed this morning. Yes, on a Saturday morning! I wanted to take advantage of an empty building to record some content for my podcast and YouTube channel.
And what do you know, as long as nobody is slamming doors or making loud phone calls in the corridor outside, I can get a lot of recording done. In just a couple of hours, I managed to record a solo podcast episode and three videos for YouTube. And I’m finally happy with the backdrop for the podcast (it’s a video recording too) and the one I’m using for youtube content.
The DJI Osmo Pocket 3* makes recording a breeze and I’ve basically decided to sell the Sony camera I bought for this project a few years back. It’s overly complex, tends to overheat too easily and has the worst user interface of any device I’ve ever bought.
The DJI is light, incredibly portable, turns on instantly and has a wonderful wireless mic. Far less fiddling around with the set-up means more time spent actually recording. Which is a win all round.
I did a quick promo video for a free event I’m running later this month, the latest in my behind the scenes vlog series, and a video all about the importance of a ‘chemistry’ session when working with a coaching psychologist. That’ll keep the channel fuelled for a few weeks!
Now it’s back to life admin: cancelling subscriptions I no longer need, finishing my packing list for Japan, and deciding which bag I’m going to bring as carry-on luggage on the fight.
And then, completing the assignment for my Japanese course. Because the deadline is tomorrow afternoon 😬
(* Affiliate link!)
I know we’re supposed to say that Mondays tend to suck, but to be honest, I quite like Mondays - and the fresh start they bring.
This one, in particular, has been great. I started it in a lovely cafe on Old Street, meeting with a prospective client. The coffee was great. The conversation even better.
I then had a couple of super-productive hours back in my office, before heading to this week’s Japanese class.
Japanese class was fun and challenging in equal measure. I like being challenged, but boy am I glad I did my homework and prepared for today. Otherwise I would have been lost. It seems like the pace is picking up with each week, which is great - as my next trip to Japan gets closer and closer.
And now, I’m curled up on the couch, full of a delicious chicken salad, waiting to watch the latest episode of True Detective.
Here’s to Mondays - they’re what you make of them.
I’ve continued a real focus on my wellbeing, with several visits to the gym, my first 5km run of the year (and my second!), some long walks and - shocking to me - managing to stick to my healthier diet. Dry January continues to be a breeze, and the easiest way to decrease my weekly calories. So I’ve decided to continue it into February. How I’ll handle the free champagne on my flight to Tokyo is a problem for future me to deal with!
But in all seriousness, I’ve not slept this well or felt this positive for ages. So exercise and AF beers seem to be the combo that’s making all the difference.
I bought a new weighing scales, as my old one completely gave up the ghost. I got this one from Withings, to use up the last of my Christmas Amazon vouchers. So far I’m super impressed. It measures body composition as well as weight, to give you an idea of the fat to muscle ratio. The accompanying app is really excellent and syncs perfectly with Apple Health on my iPhone. A daily check-in on the scales keeps me honest! But also realistic.
The fact that a friend noticed I’ve lost weight in my face was the boost I needed to keep going.
I had a stellar week at work, winning a new client and getting an approach from an old one to do some really interesting work. I also managed to record two episodes of the podcast, publish two YouTube videos (to be fair, one was just the recording of a webinar I did earlier in the week) and made a big decision about a self-directed business project I’m going to work on this quarter.
More to come on that front…
A friend in Tokyo has arranged an overnight trip to Hakone for when I’m in Japan. So I’ll spend my birthday soaking in a hot springs resort and eating delicious food! I’ve also been refining my list of places to visit, so that it’s more manageable and realistic. And yes, I’ve been organising it all in Noteplan which is all kinds of wonderful. I don’t have shares, I promise - but if you use iOS and want fast access to your notes on the go, this is an excellent option.
And yes, I know I’ve promised a blog post on Noteplan. I’ll get to it. Soon.
And even though it’s at the other end of the year, my partner and I are planing our November trip to Japan. In stark contrast with last year’s trip to sunny Okinawa, we’re planning to head to Hokkaido, to explore Sapporo. Lots of snow and ice, but my first visit that north in Japan, so lots of new experiences lie ahead. Exciting!
I finally finished Apple TV’s ‘Invasion’ this week, on my iPad, while exercising on the elliptical trainer in the gym. It was overall a B+ for me, as I think it could have all be done and dusted in six punchy episodes. I really can’t see it coming back for a second season, but of course, I’m always wrong with these things…
Now it’s finished, I’ve moved on to re-watching the re-make of Battlestar Galactica while exercising. I’d honestly forgotten how tense and well-scripted it is. I’m pretty sure the angst of the first episode translated into a higher heart rate on my part and quite a bit more exercise! And with seasons to go, it’ll keep me from getting bored as I pump away.
And that was the week that was!
The week started on a positive note, with a return to my Japanese lessons. I’m in a new class - as it’s scheduled during the afternoon - and it’s taking some getting used to.
But I have the same wonderful teacher, who brought us all back some delicious Japanese KitKat bars from her visit home over Christmas.
Work was a mixed bag, with some great coaching sessions and some progress made on a big podcasting project, mixed with a last-minute client workshop cancellation (they paid!). I also won a new client project and had a new coaching programme kick-off with a new coachee.
I also published my latest work-related vlog and provided a little tour of my new office!
I still don’t have a referral appointment with the gastro specialist, and I’m going to have to chase that up tomorrow. My health wasn’t too bad and it didn’t stop me going to the gym or getting out for runs this weekend. But it did leave me miserable on Friday night, when I should have been enjoying my best friend’s 40th birthday party. Came home earlier than planned and curled up in pain in my bed.
On a more positive note, my blood pressure is coming down, my post-exercise recovery is improving, as is the speed of my 4km runs. I also lost a little more weight!
My big win on the wellbeing front for this week was sticking to Dry January in the middle of that party on Friday night. I brought a bunch of alcohol-free beers with me, but they were new and pretty awful to be honest. I toyed with the idea of have some prosecco when it was offered (“What’s the harm?") but instead went with the ‘Nosecco’ my friend had bought. My body is very happy with that decision.
Less than a month to my solo trip to Tokyo and I’m still doing lots of research on venues to visit. And looking forward to putting my Japanese to good use…
I’ve also booked a trip to Scotland to see family in March. So I basically have a trip to look forward to each quarter of the year, except during July to September. But I’ve no doubt I’ll be organising a jaunt to somewhere hot in Europe to get some beach time and a break from London.
I also bit the bullet and set up a travel-focused blog for all my future travels and memories of trips from the past. You can find it (though there’s very little there just yet) and This Guy Flies. Thanks to Maique for the steer on Ghost. It’s such a breath of fresh air after Wordpress!
Welcome to the first in a (hopefully) ongoing series of posts reviewing the week that was.
Two big themes spring to mind as I write this:
One week into the new year and I’m attempting to undo some of the damage of a very lazy and overindulgent last few months of 2023. I’m really happy with the amount of exercise I was able to do this week, whether it was running, walking or using our much-neglected gym downstairs.
I made it to the gym three times, went for a cople of 4km runs, and this afternoon walked a loop of the Isle of Dogs - which is about 6km. Combined with a complete absence of alcohol, snacks or junk food, I’m hoping this is setting me up for some wins in the coming weeks.
I may be in the minority, but I’ve always found ‘Dry January’ to be incredibly easy. So why do it? A significant drop in empty / unneeded calories. Yep, beer is full of calories this little body doesn’t need. But it’s not a magic wand. So I also need to get this body moving more.
One week in, I’m already sleeping better and my skin is looking much clearer. No weight loss so speak of (a tiny drop on the scales) but I’m setting up some helpful habits that’ll
The highlight of this first working week was my office move. I’m now in a nicer building, in a nicer neighbourhood, with a better commute. It’s win/win. And while the day itself was stressful - about as stressful as any other move I’ve experienced - there were no disasters.
I’ve spent most of the working week setting up shop, making plans for this calendar year, and catching up on some simple admin I’d simple set aside in the run up to Christmas. The week ahead sees my first client-facing work for the year, and I’m really looking forward to it.
So that was week one. If the other fifty-one of 2024 are equally positive, fun and productive, I’ll have one hell of a year.
I picked up the keys to my new office this morning.
So excited to move in tomorrow. I just hope it’s all as smooth as the last time I moved, back in December 2022. It was all done and dusted in under two hours.
I’m looking forward to setting it all up to be a comfortable place to get work done. Given how much time I spend at work, it’s important to me that my workplace is a pleasant place to be. Even if the work isn’t always fun… I can be comfortable in my boredom.
I’m still surprised at how much rubbish I managed to accumulate in the last office. I filled bin bag after bin bag with assorted work-related detritus and boxes I no longer needed. It felt great to minimise and clear out at the end of last year.
Here’s to a fresh start for 2024 🎉
As soon as I end this upcoming work call, I’m unplugging everything on my desk, putting it in a packing box and then locking up my office until Jan 3rd. I’m looking forward to zero work for almost two weeks.
Instead, I’ll be eating my body weight in turkey, mince pies, various kinds of potato dishes, chocolate, champagne and beer. We’re spending Christmas together in London, then visiting my family in Scotland for a few days, then back in time to bring in the New Year with ‘The Council of the Gays™️’.
Whatever 2024 has to throw at me!
Just two more scheduled work calls (one today, one tomorrow) then I’m done for this year.
In terms of client work, anyway. I estimate I have about two hours' worth of office packing to finish tomorrow and then it’s holiday time until my office move on January 3rd.
And then the un-packing. But I don’t want to think about that just yet…
Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.
Just ordered all the packing materials for my office move.
I went back to this time last year in my Amazon ordering history and just bough the same stuff. Simples.
And given the upcoming holidays, I’ve worked out that everything will need to be packed up by Friday next week so I can move on the 3rd of January.
Thankfully, I have no client-facing work booked in, so I can spend my time huffing and puffing, getting dirty and sweating, while all the time cursing myself for accumulating so many books and pieces of technology.
But it’s all in a good cause and I’m looking forward to settling in to my new ‘home’. I’ll share some before and after pics in due course.
I just spoke to camera fluently, on topic and to time for 15 minutes this evening.
Sitting back, feeling very satisfied, I noticed that I hadn’t pressed record.
A less than optimal situation.
Right. I put my money where my mouth is and put down a deposit on that new office.
Looks like I’ll be moving in the first week of January.
All I need to do between now and then is pack up the entire office into boxes and have a small nervous breakdown about where everything is going to go. Plus find a moving company. And do the whole ‘change of address’ thing.
In more positive news, the new building has a most excellent roof garden. Irrelevant now, but perfect for Spring and Summer.
I’m just back from viewing a potential new home for my business.
The office looks like it ticks all the right boxes for what I need. Plus it’ll work out cheaper than the office I have at the moment. It’s also closer to home.
So I’m going to put down a holding deposit while I work out if it’s feasible to move in before Christmas. That will all depend on the availability of a moving company to help me out.
Feeling a mixture of excitement at the fresh start, and dread at the thought of packing everything up and moving it all. Again.
When the day can’t end soon enough.
It started so well and then ended up with massive hassle and lots of additional work. None of which was my fault, but I had to do it. Feeling a confusing mix of anger, disappointment, embarrassment and resignation.
Google ‘frustration’ and you’ll see my face.
I’m starting my Tuesday on a very positive note!
I’ve just recorded the 150th episode of my podcast, something I didn’t dream of when the first episode went live back in Oct 2017.
I’m really looking forward to what the next 150 episodes bring.
Back in the saddle!
While it took an age to get home from Heathrow last night, we were super productive once we got to the apartment. All bags unpacked and laundry started with the hour, a delicious Thai meal ordered and all the post (mostly junk) dealt with.
Once I sat down to eat, the fatigue caught up with me. I didn’t sleep much at all on the 15hr flight back from Tokyo - due to a combination of being woken up by the cabin crew as they spoke to people around me, plus the incredibly uncomfortable seat. I won’t be dashing back to fly with British Airways when it comes to Japan any time soon.
On the plus side, I had a shower and slipped into bed just before 9pm. I could barely keep my eyes open and was asleep within minutes. And I didn’t wake up until my alarm at 6am this morning. Feeling great!
I had - for once - planned ahead and avoided over-committing myself on the work front today. I actually have a medical appointment this morning (wish me luck!) and a few things to do in the office this afternoon. No clients to speak to, to coaching sessions or webinars.
Looking forward to getting back into my routine today and catching up with what I’ve missed. A cursory glance at my email shows there were no emergencies, so it’s mostly just project updates and business opportunities.
While I felt the usual twinge of sadness leaving Tokyo yesterday, I’m now feeling overwhelming gratitude that I could go there once again and for the fun time I had while I was in Japan. Such lovely memories (and photos) to reflect on.
And only 90 days until I go back and do it all over again!
I just have a handful of important tasks to complete this morning, after which I can start packing for Japan. I’m always amazed at what I can achieve just before I head off on a trip. The deadline-induced focus is a powerful drug!
Then a dinner of “it needs to be eaten” from the fridge and an early night.
In excellent news, my cough has evaporated overnight. I feel so much better. It’s only taken a week to return to normal… So I won’t be that guy who coughs for the entire flight, worrying everyone around him.
In stark contrast to August’s trip to Singapore, when we flew via Sofia, Qatar and Phuket, tomorrow’s flight to Tokyo is direct from London Heathrow. A lot less hassle. We then have a couple of hours in Haneda Airport to eat and shower in the JAL lounge before our flight down to Okinawa.
But before all of that, coffee! ☕️
Like thousands of others, my plans were obliterated this week by Storm Ciarán. For my part, I got stuck down in Exeter, where all trains northwards were cancelled due to flooding.
I had to spend another night there, in another hotel, all the while feeling like death warmed up. A cough that was giving me the mother of all headaches and sore ribs, combined with aching limbs. All I wanted was to be in my own bed.
Before going to my ‘emergency’ accommodation, I swung by Boots (a pharmacy) and stocked up on flu meds. Nothing seemed to put a dent in the cough though, so I spent most of last night sitting up in bed, trying to stifle the cough.
Being away from home when ill is a special kind of awful, isn’t it?
Getting on board a train back to London this morning - albeit a delayed and overcrowded train - was a huge relief. Once I eventually got home, I showered and fell into bed. What followed wasn’t exactly sleep, but I got to rest.
I’m feeling 10% better now, but al the same I’ve cancelled all my plans for the weekend. I fly to Japan next Thursday morning for a trip to Okinawa and Tokyo, and the last thing I want is to still have this virus.
So it’s fluid and bedrest for the next 48hrs. Onwards and upwards!
I made it to Exeter, after nearly coughing up a lung on the train here.
Given all the weather warnings and the predicted travel disruptions, I swapped to a train leaving London two hours earlier. I’m glad I did!
Now that I’m here, I have been given what must be the smallest hotel room in Western Europe, but just don’t care. It has a bed and that’s all that matters. With my bed so close to the door, I’m glad I packed ear plugs.
I want a shower, a meal and 12 hours of sleep. I’m hoping to feel better tomorrow, so I can run the workshop without coughing all over my delegates.
Awake before my alarm this morning, so I did the only sensible thing and started work.
(Your definition of ‘sensible’ may differ…)
So far, I’ve published and promoted this week’s podcast and compelted some YouTube admin. Heading into the office soon to write this month’s newsletter and plan some webinars.
I’m definitely planning to wrap up early this afternoon as a reward.
Happy Friday! 🎉
A very good afternoon to everyone…
…except for the woman who has spent the last hour pacing up and down the corridor outside my office on a very loud, very personal phone call.
After gently asking her to keep it down, she quite literally hissed at me.
So that was nice.
Her office is on the other side of the building, so she quite intentionally came over here to make her call. I’m not the first person who has had to have a word with her about her phone calls and the volume she speaks at. And, based on what others have told me, I appear to have got off quite lightly with a hiss…
I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again: when I’m benign dictator of this country, I’ll ban people using speakerphone in public.
Smiling to myself as my podcast got recommended in an HR blog post about the top business-focused podcasts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it mentioned in ‘print’ before.
That’s definitely making my gratitude list for tonight’s journal.