81.4

The weighing scale read 81.4 Kg on Saturday, 10 Aug. Last time I weighed this much was on 26th February, more than five months ago.

As recently as a month ago, on 5th July, I weighed just 78 Kg. I gained 3.4 kilos in a month!

That 81.4 isn’t a single spike. My average weight last week was 80.3 Kg. A month ago it was 78.3 Kg. Even the weekly average increased by 2 kilos​ :(

Based on BMI (25.4), that makes me officially overweight.

Continue reading 81.4

Me, here, now.

Gardening

After neglecting the garden for 5+ years, I finally started getting my hands dirty this year. It’s been a surprising delight. The flowers are blooming. No plants have died yet. And the weeds are more under control than any time last year. All this for a couple of weekends’ work, and 5-10 mins every morning or evening. My highlight achievement must be saving a few plants from near death—the purple petunias, the value pack bogonias and the medium-sized marigold—and seeing them flourish.

I am really enjoying the work in the garden—probably too much according to R. There must be some truth in what Cal Newport said—the joy of creating physical things with our own hands.

Running

I’ve been running well. I like my current running form, and the times have been reflecting the improvement. I ran my Park Run PB earlier at Woking—22:42. I ran the London marathon earlier in just under 4 hours—3:58:44. This is the first year where I have run at least 100 km every month. It’s also the first year when I’ve run at least once every week. I plan to keep the momentum going through rest of the year.

Reading

Reading has been a continuing theme from last few years. I haven’t read as many fiction books this year as non-fiction. Just haven’t found too many of ones I really want to read. Amitava Ghosh released his new book, Gun Island, so I polished that off in less than a day. But nothing much else.

I’ve read a lot of non-fiction though. Quite a few are based around self-improvement and productivity— Make time, GTD for teens, Digital minimalism, Messy, Range, Sprint, Turn the ship around

I’ve read some books from the running, swimming, cycling, hiking world, but again not as many as I would’ve liked. Goater’s Art of running faster gave some good tips, and Scott Jurek’s North was full of inspiration.

I’ve started listing the books, and notes from some of them on this site.

Head & heart

Parents were planning to visit UK this year. They’ve cancelled. I’m sad.

I stopped meditating regularly months ago. I still meditate occasionally, but without the app there isn’t much to guide me through session after session. Most of the time it is just noticing a breath (tip from Make Time).

The year, mentally, has been a roller coaster. I haven’t really touched the depths of depression like I did around October last year, but I haven’t had many periods of consistent happiness either. I have a feeling it’s all very fragile. Or is it brittle?

Finished Todo.txt for Android

I’m ending the second phase of active development for Todo.txt for Android. All core functionality works sufficiently well for my own use. Dark mode is half baked, so have moved it to the backlog for the next phase, whenever that happens.

Not doing much active development on extensions at the moment.

Next up

Next up is starting a new project, or finding a new role. Either way, it’ll be a time of flux and vulnerability. Tread kindly, por favor!

Continue reading Me, here, now.

Listening to the body

Despite the worries (which all turned out real), I ended up having a decent day yesterday. I wrote to Axc, but never heard back from them. I’m trying to make myself accept their decision. I also failed the blood test—joint lowest ever score of 131 g/l. On the other hand, I did end up getting a fair amount of work done. I also enjoyed the run in the evening—35 mins of easy run finished with 20 mins of fartlek. I ended the day very tired, slightly disheartened (I’d expected the reply from Axc at end of day), but fairly satisfied. I even finished reading a book in the bed before sleeping.

Today began well—woke to Chewie snuggled up between my legs. Worked for a couple of hours, then went downstairs for a bit of stretching, refreshing, and to pick up Dudley—today is Dudley Wednesday :)

By the time I returned back upstairs, it was already over 3 hours since I’d woken up. The morning coffee had worn off, and I was feeling surprisingly drowsy. These are usually my freshest, most productive hours. This could be due to the hay fever tab, or an effect of the run and foam rolling last evening.

I could have made another coffee, and warded the drowsiness off. But, for once, I decided to listen to the body and give it a break. I had no immediate deadlines, and I had already done over 2 hours of productive work. So, I went downstairs, drank a lot of water, got under the covers, called the boys onto the bed, set an alarm for 90 mins, and we all went to sleep1 :)

It was a beautiful, warm sleep with both boys snuggled on either side. I woke up refreshed. Not just the mind, even the legs and body felt a lot recovered. We drank more water, and went for a walk. Followed it up with lunch, another short rest, and then back to work2. It’s been another super productive 3 hours now, and I am back to being satisfied. And happy. Mostly.

Continue reading Listening to the body

Restless+anxious (work, blood and running edition)

Un. Haven’t heard from Axc in over a week. Last chat was 11 days ago. It’s too long a wait. Do I ping them? Do I wait for them? A long wait usually implies regret, but I’ve been told things move slowly in this team, so it could be either. Either way, it’s not helping my anxiety. I need a new project, sure. But I really want is this one.

Dos. I have a blood donation appointment today. I failed1 the last one. I’m likely to fail today’s as well. My success at blood donation has been inversely correlated with my running/swimming/cycling activity. If I’m working out regularly, the haemoglobin level is likely to be below the threshold. Last year I was out of action for 7 months due to ankle injury, so had two successful donations in that period. This year I’ve been running at least 100K a month, so have already failed one donation. Today will be second (I think).

As much as I’m anxious about failing the blood donation today, I’m a bit conflicted about being successful as well. Three failures in a row and I’m out—struck off as a donor. Every time NHS Blood calls me for a donation appointment, I get conflicted. I can do the right thing—choose to donate and slow down my workouts to get the haemoglobin level up. Or I can do the selfish thing—refuse the appointment and keep up with my workouts. For a while now, I’ve been taking the wrong, easy path—agreeing to donate but continuing the workouts. This means I waste their appointment slot (by failing the test), and cause myself anxiety and resentment. If I get struck off, at least it takes one bit out of my hands, and I can return to exercising (mostly) without guilt.

Tres. I’ve been stretching better than usual lately. The wobble board has been working the core. And I am in good shape mentally (run-wise). If the weather stays cool, and I get all the scheduled training done this week, I feel like I can post a good time at the parkrun this weekend. I am really looking forward to it. But I have a run scheduled for today, and I can’t run today unless I fail the donation. There’s that conflict, again.


  1. Failure = not allowed to donate because haemoglobin level was below 135g/l. 

Light, weather, and productivity—thoughts from a summer rain shower

My (home) office is in a small attic conversion. I have a large window right in front of me, and a smaller one behind. Light from the small window creates a reflection on the monitor, so its shade stays down. I like a lot of light in the room, so I prefer keeping the shade on the large window open.

The large window faces south, and overlooks my backyard. The trees on the mount provide the backdrop. When the sun is up, the south-face means it shines straight through the window, and into my eyes. There’s a cluster of trees to the east end of the backyard that stops the sun coming in early in the morning. Later in the evening, the sun dips sufficiently to the West for the light to not fall straight on me. However, if the sun is out, for most of the day it shines straight into my eyes, forcing me to close the shade—darkening the room.

…if the sun is out.

That phrase is at the centre of my paradox.

I am happier when it is sunny. I am also a lot more productive when there’s a lot of light in my room. Sadly, the position of the window means that I can’t be both.
If the sun is out, I can’t keep the window open so am neither uber-productive nor very happy.
If the sun is not out, I can keep the window open, so am quite productive, if not as happy.

This is where the seasons also make a play. In winter, the days are short, and the sun rarely makes an appearance even in those short days. This makes most people sad, including me. But this also means that I can keep the window shade open all day. This gives a tremendous boost to my productivity (and relative mood).1

In summer, the days are long, and the sun makes an appearance more often. So I need to keep the window shade closed most days—a dampener to both productivity and the mood. The mood recovers a bit from walking/running in the sun during the midday break, but productivity does suffer.

Why am I writing this now? Because I just recorded this observation.

I had quite a productive autumn-winter-spring this year. However, I have been struggling a bit to keep the work going at the same pace since the sun started showing up. However, for the last 10 days or so, we have had a fair amount of rain and rain-like weather. This has meant very little strong sun, and I have been able to keep the window shades open. Productivity has been through the roof!

Continue reading Light, weather, and productivity—thoughts from a summer rain shower

Procrastinating through work

I need to do two big, hairy, scary work tasks. One is important and scary (unknown outcome), the other is hard (unknown input quantity, unknown outcome).

Instead I have been working all morning finishing off the less important, less scary tasks from the todo list.

I am procrastinating—escaping work by working on other stuff.

Continue reading Procrastinating through work

Me, here, now.

Finished Todo.txt for Android

I’m at the end of second phase of active development for Todo.txt for Android. All core functionality works sufficiently well for my own use. Dark mode is half baked, so will now be moved to the backlog for the next phase, whenever that happens.

Next few weeks may see small updates to the Chrome extensions—bug fixes and minor tweaks based on user feedback over the last month and a half.

Next up

Next up is starting a new project, or finding a new role. Either way, it’ll be a time of flux and vulnerability. Tread kindly, por favor!

Gardening

After neglecting the garden for 5+ years, I finally started getting my hands dirty this year. It’s been a surprising delight. The flowers are blooming. No plants have died yet. And the weeds are more under control than any time last year. All this for a couple of weekends’ work, and 5-10 mins every morning or evening.

I am really enjoying the work in the garden—probably too much according to R. There must be some truth in what Cal Newport said—creating physical things with our own hands.

Running

I’ve been running well. I really like my current running form, and the times have been reflecting the improvement. I ran my Park Run PB a couple of weeks ago at Woking—22:42. I have been off running so far this week due to an ankle injury picked up on Saturday (thankfully, after I’d completed my 14 mile run). Looking forward to testing the ankle again with a short run later today.

Reading

I’m loving reading ‘Turn the ship around’ by David Marquet. It’s one of those books that is best read in small bits, munched over for a while, then continued. The last book in this category was Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking fast and slow’. They’ll both stay in my forever library, with frequent references to notes and books.

I’m also reading Messy by Tim Harford. This is my active reading book, and will probably be finished tomorrow. It’s an interesting journey of rediscovery. I used to be atypical messy—thriving only in mess and chaos. Working independently forced me to learn discipline and to streamline my life processes. Now I am rediscovering the value of messiness. It’s a brilliant brain tickler for me—harmonising my tidy, streamlined life with a bit of messiness to add some anti-fragility.

The third book I’m currently reading is Sanjaya Baru’s ‘The accidental prime minister’. It’s hard reading, specially because I like the subject. The author covers too much of himself relative to the subject (the prime minister). It also, like bits of ‘Up in the air’, way too frequently delves into explanations and bureaucratic minutae. R tells me it gets better later, so I’m ploughing on.

Continue reading Me, here, now.

It’s just noon

It’s noon.
I have done 2.5 hours of deep, productive work.
I have run 5 miles.
I have showered, and had lunch.
I have spent half an hour hugging the boy on the sofa.

I am back at the work table for the second session.
It’s just noon.

This is turning out to be a good day. Yesterday was a good day too. Perhaps the March sadness really is behind me :)

Continue reading It’s just noon