One thing at a time


I’m a multitasking guru.

Well, guru is a bit strong. Experienced practioner is probably closer.

Actually, even that feels a bit too much. I definitely multitask, but I’m not sure I’m that good at it.

I don’t mean I can’t do it. I mean it makes me half do a lot of things.

I will be writing e mails, listening to music and eating.

Watching the news, half having a conversation and replying to messages.

I’m not completely given to any task.

There are times where this is needed (parents you get my unending respect for being able to feed a baby, cook and do everything else you need to), there are others where I should just be doing one thing.

I have often tried to read and listen to music with lyrics. On a purely practical level my memory then doesn’t store the lyrics or the book content in the way it usually would. I want to be more present, I want to make the most of each moment and not just half do lots of things in the name of getting things done.

I included the picture above because it took me most of the day to level my garden (moving the soil to the dump is the next task…). I had no headphones in, just did it. It was great and started me on the journey of why do I always try and do more than one thing at a time?

This is my long way round of saying, this week I shall be attempting to just focus on one thing at a time. Give my focus and attention and being present.

Happy Monday 💪🏻😎

Radio silence, mindfulness and a playlist


I’ve been on a social media blackout, no posts for sometime. It’s been lovely. It’s allowing me to work on some fun projects and give the real life human beings in my life my attention and time.
The projects aren’t ready to be talked about yet, as soon as they are I shall tell you.
I’ve also been reading lots about mindfulness, it has been wonderful.
Here’s the things you need to know in the world of me before I go quiet again:

Music
I thought I’d sum this one up in a playlist, check it out via this link. I can also sum it up by shouting the following;

NEW BON IVER, DE LA SOUL AND JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW!!!!!

Sorry.

Books I’m loving

Mindfulness and Christian Spirituality
Elon Musk – How the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our future (Listened on Audible)

Apps I’m loving
Headspace

Right, that’s it. See you 💪🏻😎

Hard work and good things


Pippa and I purchased a house in December last year. We are so pleased with it and are slowly working our way through all the decorating etc.

The garden is my next focus. When we bought the garden we liked that a third of it was decking, a big bit that was just soil and then a 10ft X 8ft shed with electricity (my instant thought was ‘man cave’).

Now comes sorting it.

The decking is easy, clean, stain and done. It is in roughly the same state it was in when we moved.

No problem.

The ‘soil’ was not just soil. Up until 4 weeks ago it was just soil. I was preparing to lay turf and move on.

But there was a secret under the surface. It was not just soil, it was killer weeds from Mars out to dominate my garden and slow me down.

On Monday night I came back from work and spent almost 3 hours digging it over, weeding and getting it ready.

Read for the transformation shot?


Boom.

I was talking to friends about this and there responses ranged from ‘I’d just get a guy in to do that’ to ‘it’s hard work having a garden isn’t it’.

I loved every minute.

This week I am focussing on the fun of working hard and toward something. I didn’t used to have a garden to look after. I’m grateful I do now.

This week your work may be hard, you may be thinking that you’d rather be doing something else. Sometimes hard work is its own reward.

Keep on keeping on.

I’m seeing more and more that good things follow those who work hard. Those who put lots (notice I didn’t say everything,save the best for those you love) into their work.

I’ll let you know once the garden is done. Not to spoil it but there may not be a man cave…

How I learnt to love books

Getting naked book cover

 

My Nan loved books. Her house was full of them. History, biography, novels, map books – a little bit of everything.

I took longer to love books, all I wanted to read when I was at school was the books they made me read (and really I only read them to try and get to a higher level of reading books than my friends. Competitive six year old Kristian was sweet…) and comics like the Beano and Dandy. My parents even went into my school to find out why I refused to read books at home, only comics. The teacher wasn’t worried, said my reading was of a good standard and it was good that I was reading anything.

I loved that teacher.

I stuck with the comics and enforced reading until school year 4 or 5 (age 8 – 9), then I discovered the Goosebumps books by RL Stine. I really don’t like horror movies – as in I will never watch them, who knows why I loved these books but I did. I read every single one of them.

When my Nan found out that I liked them I would get each new one as soon as it came out. She wanted me to read, but waited until she found what I liked (my nan was also a large part of my source of my Beano and Dandy collection).

My love of reading morphed into loving magazines and newspapers in my teens to age 22 when I bought my first ‘business’ book. I was catching a flight to Austria to do some football coaching and wanted people to think that I was a businessman (I was not) so I went into the airport book shop and bought a book about personality and ego. I don’t even remember the title because I didn’t read it. I just put it on my fold out tray on the plane so people would think I was a businessman.

I really, really wish I was kidding.

Shortly after that I pledged to only read books that interested me. Since then I have read hundreds of business, spirituality and biography books.

I read on average about 20 books a year. When I don’t feel like reading anything for a while, I don’t. 

I am just coming out of a month where I didn’t feel like reading anything. My friend said I should read some Patrick Lencioni. I had heard of him because lots of friends saw him speak at the HTB leadership conference a couple of years ago. I had the books my friend lent me for a couple of weeks and kept meaning to get started but other things came up. On Wednesday evening I read the first chapter.

I was hooked. I then proceeded to read half of the book in one sitting. It is Friday morning and I have just finished it.

It is now classed as one of my favourite books I have read in the last few years.

I may work on a fuller review of the book  later on. This post is just to say ‘Hooray for books’ and I hope you are reading something in your downtime that is inspiring you and you are enjoying. If you aren’t, put it down and start something that really catches your attention. Life is too short for boring books.

 

 

Sxsw, vinyl and what’s next

I said in an earlier post that I love music.

I really do.

The first song I remember loving was ‘Birdland’ by the Manhattan Transfer. I’m not sure why but I just loved it. Then many, many years later my Dad played me the Weather report version and my head exploded (not literally obviously) and Jaco Pastorius became my hero.

The power rangers theme tune made 6 year old me hyper, the Raggy dolls made me think deeply about how toys should all be loved and Coronation Street still makes me think it’s Sunday, my hair has been washed and I have to go to school the next day.

I was listening to a sxsw playlist earlier today and I didn’t like any of the first 20 songs I listened to.

My first thought was, its over. You’re going to be that guy saying ‘it was so much better when the Chili Peppers released By the Way. Those were harmonies’.

Then I thought. What if I haven’t given the songs enough of a chance? What if one listen isn’t enough. Lots of the songs I love grew on me.

I very quickly treat music like a service. Hear the new thing and move on.

I have begun collecting vinyl to stop myself just consuming music, to try to sit with a record and enjoy it.

Sometimes things need some time to settle, to develop. Maybe it could be said some of the best things require it.

My Dad took the his copy of Kind of Blue back to the shop after buying it on release day. He hated it that much (to confirm, he then went back to it a month later and between us we must have bought 20 copies of it). 

I didn’t think I would keep watching the West Wing after 1 episode.

My challenge to myself today is not to run off and try to hear all the music, but to just enjoy a couple. Really listen and try to understand what the person is saying.

It’s all very pretentious I know, but I really don’t mean it like that.

I shall let you know what album I settle on.