100 Days of Cloud – Day 83: The Hill

Its Day 83 of my 100 Days of Cloud journey, and todays post is a hill….

The slight rise you see in the picture above leads off the old Dublin to Galway road and onto a back road where my house is.

You wouldn’t call it a hill – it doesn’t look very challenging to walk or run up it. But this “hill” comes at the end of a variety of 5km, 8km or 10km running routes (or a combination of any of these) that are located around my house. And depending on how you feel or how the run went, this “hill” at the end of the run could be a step too far. It has defeated me too many times to mention – you drag your legs over the last km and as it rears into view, the lactic acid in my legs screams NOOOOO!!!!!

There are a variety of reasons why it defeats me, but in general:

  • I set off too fast early in the run and have no energy left
  • Dehydration or hot days leads to fatigue
  • I don’t have the motivation to get up the hill

Everyone has their own version of the hill, and this is also relevant to the juggling we have to do in balancing our work lives, family lives and other interests or commitments.

Like a lot of people, I’m an “all-in, 100%” type of person when it comes to the different aspects of my life. I don’t want to look back with any regrets that I didn’t do something fully in work, wasn’t there for a family dinner, wasn’t available to bring my kids to their activities. I want to learn every day, attend every User Group or Meetup, and blog and give back to the community as much as I can. I also want to be able to run or exercise, put my kids to bed and read them a story, and spend time with my wife in the evenings.

But there are some days when not all of the above is possible. There are some days when we have long or bad days in work, and then you get home late to find there is no time for that family dinner as its straight out to priotitise whatever activities te kids have on that day. And by the time you finally get home that night, you are exhausted to the point where the motivation for learning and blogging just isn’t there.

Image Credit: SAP

And thats brings me back to the “hill”. We all have our own “hill”, some hills are higher than others and we embrace and scale them with gusto and energy. But sometimes its the small ones that defeat you.

Its not a failure. It called life. Sometimes we need to step back and accept that the next “hill” we encounter isn’t going to happen today. Take the time to step back, reset yourself, and get back to it the next day or when you feel ready.

On the days it happens, its useful to reflect and work out why. Write down the timeline of your day. What went wrong? Did it cause a ripple effect that put the entire day out of sync? Was it avoidable, and if so how can you make sure it won’t happen again? If needed, look back to the day before. Did you get enough sleep? Did you go to bed later than usual? If so, why? Did you really need to watch 3 episodes of Better Call Saul?

You’re now getting into Habit Hacking, where you can look at your habits and see whats going wrong. My favourite one is our obsession with SmartPhones and the concept of “Social Media doom-scrolling” either before you sleep at night or first thing in the morning. Do you need your phone beside the bed? If its just as an alarm, go buy an alarm clock or a watch with an alarm and then commit to putting your phone away at 9pm every night (effectively a Digital Sunset). Go to bed and read (I mean an actual book, not a Kindle or App) or meditate to relax yourself. Next morning, try to give yourself an hour before reaching for the phone (so this is a Digital Sunrise!). Try to not pick up your phone for 10 hours.

Habit Hacking works the same way for running or any other sport – most people have a protocol before and after their exercise routine, and this affects the performance during the exercise.

Finally, for those of you who are interested – on the day I took the photo, the hill had defeated me. I hadn’t properly hydrated prior to the run. That was a week ago. I’ve gone back to habit hacking and my own protocol, returned and conquered the hill twice since. I have no doubt it will defeat me again some day, but thats the circle of life.

Hope you enjoyed this post, until next time (when we get back into Tech)!

100 Days of Cloud – Day 22: Looking after Number One

It’s Day 22, and today’s post is about something we are talking more and more about, but still don’t talk enough about.

It’s time to talk about Mental Health, relaxation and recharging the batteries.

As I type this, I’m sitting on the balcony of a holiday apartment looking out over the rooftops of Albufeira, Portugal to a sunset over the Mediterranean Ocean. My children are lying on the couches in our apartment, exhausted from a day in the pool, while my wife and I enjoy a glass of red wine to round off the day.

This is Heaven.

I haven’t thought about work or technology in 5 days.

I don’t do this enough.

Not the holidays to Portugal, but the disconnect. As a society, we live a life of being constantly turned on, connected into either work or social media, constantly on call and with out minds buzzing.

Think about the times you’ve missed that walk, run, cycle, gym session. Think about the family meals or gatherings you’ve missed. A great quote I saw recently: Work won’t remember you were there, but your family will remember you weren’t there.

For me, this week has been about all of those things. My phone is back at home in my desk drawer (sorry Work if you’re trying to contact me…), this is being typed on my daughter’s iPad.

This week will relax and rest my mind, make me come stronger as a person, a more relaxed and chilled out husband and father, a better employee with a fresh perspective and ideas (so watch out Work!).

And it’s not just about this week. This week is the start of the “factory reset” as I like to call it. Back to walks, runs, family meals. Back to putting devices and screens away and picking up a good book. Back to being “there”, and I mean the right “there”.

I’ve started a good book this week, I’ll have to finish it now. And that will lead me to the next book, when I’ll be reading it to the backdrop of a cold Irish winter as opposed to a Mediterranean sunset!

Stay safe, and look after yourself. It’s OK not to be OK. It’s OK to take a step back. And it’s good to talk about it.

Hope you enjoyed this post, until next time!!