Archive | June, 2007

Reflection is my real word of the day

26 Jun

Feel like a lot of change and projects are flowing around in my life at the moment, and wanted to take a few minutes to capture where I am at with each. And also mark any progress on them, once I can stop spending ALL my spare time on facebook – if your not signed up then your rapidly becoming part of the minority, as even technophobic friends appear there every day. It’s becoming big. It may even become an e-mail killer for some groups. Come see. Anyway, on with the life projects:

Project #1: Lose weight

Well, this is going to be a big one if I am to ultimately aim for the “recommended” weight of around 15 stone. So step 1 is… lose weight ! By which I mean just track SOME weight being lost over the next few weeks, ensuring I’ve got SOME healthy habits in place to achieve that. I am also keeping a track of everything I eat and drink to help spot where things are going badly in my diet – it also works as a source of guilt as I fill it in as well ! I also have an upcoming 3.5 mile run I am training for, which helps toward the “keeping active” part required for any weight loss program. Ran 5km in the gym last night – very knackering but rewarding !

Project #2: Write

Nothing as grand as writing a novel, but I do enjoy writing, if not for the reflection it brings, as well as a chance to try out words from my word-of-the-day update, which I quite like, although I wouldn’t go as far to say that I venerate it. This is ticking along nicely – I have this blog, and another Java / software blog I am trying to keep writing too. Finding this other blog is left as an exercise for the reader for now 🙂

Project #3: Code

Should be easy – it’s my job. But there is coding and then there is Coding. Depending on the role, some task only allow a limited use of coding skills – indeed banking is often a job where the bulk of the work is business analysis and the actual coding can take second place. So I continue to have my side-project of “virtual vampire”, and other opportunities are floating out there too. Haven’t done much coding on VV for a while though… bad Ben 😦

Project #4: Finances

An ongoing project now nearing some degree of completion. This was basically the thought that in general if I want more financial stability, I can either spend time working harder to earn more money, but equally I could spend time managing the money I do have better. The recommendation here has to be Money Saving Expert, a neutral website by Martin Lewis for managing your money better. So I have moved any spare coins into ISAs, better savings accounts and soon will move to a new current account paying twice as much interest as the old one. All these little things add up, and will help me build up a nice nest egg to throw at a mortgage when I am ready for such a thing. Also tracking my spending using some software is good for the guilt mirror effect (similar to Project #1 !).

Project #5: Learn

Did a training course recently at work on some basics of finance that had been long overdue in my career. With the test looming next week, I am discovering the joy of proper learning again. I equally enjoyed learning Spanish over a year ago, and want to keep that feeling going. Getting some basic Greek in my head could help for a trip to Greece this year. Professional certification courses also help with strengthening my CV and developer skills. Guess I need to think more about this one – first things first, I’ve got a finance test to revise for 🙂

So that’s my life, split in project form. Of course it’s not that clear cut in reality, but it’s the beginning of a set of goals. Reflection is good for nailing down the “why” behind a lot of what I am doing, and this “why” should help me hammer out some life goals. And these don’t have to be active goals as such, even passive goals can help with making decisions, which is basically where I see my weakness. In ways I’ve drifted a long time without firm goals, and that’s a shame, as I think everything is much brighter and more interesting when you’ve got something to work towards.

Did I mention facebook ? Join us 😉


A lot of large projects on the go

11 Jun

Having gotten home at 4:40pm after a financial derivatives training course, I really thought I was going to make good headway on virtual vampire. It’s now 10:15pm and I’ve just cleared my plate !

Eating up that time in fairness was cooking a nice dinner, doing the homework for the course and a big gym session. I am trying to get fit for a number of reasons – firstly there is a 5.8km run coming up in July (the chase challenge) and I would like to be able run it in around 35-40 minutes. Secondly was a warning for a friend of mine that 30-45 years old is “heart attack alley” so really not the time to be neglecting exercise, and finally a had a health test last year that reported all was fine except for two things; firstly my anerobic / lung capacity was a little sub-par and secondly I am medically obese.

A little shocked that I was in this category, I looked at the statistics, and anyone with a BMI (Body mass index) of over 30 is obese. His chart was nice enough to have an extra “obese II” category for BMI in excess of 35, which I am far from, but being in any of the bright red areas doesn’t strike me as a good thing long term. I am used to having a weight around 18 1/2 stone (118kg) for much of my adult life, but to drop to the (still orange coloured) overweight section I would need to drop to 17 1/2 stone (111kg). So I was a little shocked to find that using two different sets of scales, both confirmed my current weight to be 20 stone (127kg) putting me at BMI 34… nearly obese II.

Ok, so it’s early days with the gym – around 8-10 weeks so far I think – and coming into Summer there should hopefully be some seasonal weight drop to help me along. But I think I am going to need to look at the little things more harshly now, and look at other opportunities for exercise to supplement the gym sessions.

Right – might get 30 mins on virtual vampire now. As long as each day I work towards goals (gym, writing the blog, software projects) then it shouldn’t get me down, because I know what I’m working towards and I know it’s things I enjoy and want to improve. It’s a lot of investment of time, but cutting out the distractions of life (computer games, idle TV) and working more efficiently at work should all give me the time I need to fit it all in.