TV after 6

If I watch TV, streaming or terrestrial or whatever, too early in my day I am mentally and physically sluggish. I don’t know if it applies to all videos. I don’t know if a neat emacs video or something security related or the news would trigger it, for example. Entertainment videos definitely do trigger a sloth like lethargy I sometimes cannot shake.

It seems the exercise variable doesn’t help. If I fire up a review of the US late night talk shows’ takes on a political event after time in the gym I am as useless as if I had stayed in bed.

Liberating an idea from Mark Bittman, I will try to keep my entertainment viewing to the evening.

I’d love to ditch it completely. I know that’s unlikely for me. I’ve a weird addictive thing with some TV. I hate The Sopranos. I love The Good Wife. I can’t stand reality TV but give me a home repair & improvement show and I will binge it. I’ll take The Prisoner over Lost any day of the week.

I will queue shows for an extended illness or flights to & from the US viewing. Living in Japan now can make that difficult.

The bigger difficulty is on my time, attention, and energy on the everyday.

It seems silly to track, but I will start another calendar for daily X-ing when I avoid an early morning video hit.

Anyone else challenged thusly?

Little things

My Saturday started shaky after a nice wake up. The service based apps TextExpander and 1Password set me off with their poor Windows support and nagging to move to their subscription services. This was made worse by my actual subscription to TextExpander not working. While I was struggling with these highly important issues my coffee shop was loudly playing American pop and pop country music. I am often caught by surprise about how much I hate pop music. Capping it off there was a photo shoot right out front for what I think is a J-pop girl band. My stoicism was truly put to the test this morning. Let’s see how I bounce back.

Energy Trifecta

I learned something I already knew: exercise, diet, and sleep work together on energy.

I exercised twice on Monday. I ate well rounded balanced meals. I stayed off of alcohol.

I slept poorly. I tossed and turned. I didn’t fall asleep until well after 22:00 but still woke by 04:30. I was a good boy and still exercised and ate a good breakfast, but Tuesday I was exhausted. Tired equals low focus, so my nascent org config is under something of a test.

Ideally my org setup will help keep me productive when my energy and focus is low. It’s kind of working but my data is all over the place, digitally speaking.

What do you do to stay productive when your energy is low or focus is scattered?


Edgar Rojas and I discussed excercise on an episode of the PVC Security podcast. He was coaching soccer (football) and being mobile while counting his steps. He was getting healthy and losing weight and feeling good.

I talked about my challenges with exercise. To sum up: I do not like exercise. Even when I was at my peak active in high school and college, playing sports and such, I did not like exercise. I loved competition, but not exercise. I never got the “runners high”, even when I ran cross country as part of baseball preseason training.

Over the years I tried other plans for health, the 7 minute workout and yoga and a walking desk. Only the last one stuck, but as much as I walked I laid plywood down and set up my tall chair.

Health wise, the event that caused the greatest benefit was when I was laid off in 2013. I was over 260 pounds, 118 kilograms, from stress and travel (2 out of every 3 weeks on the road) and a crazy sleep schedule to support my global operations team. I got down to my current 96 kg, 211 lbs, pretty quickly but since platoed at that weight.

A recent health scare got me re-evaluating my general health. I cut back drastically on my alcohol intake. I moved to a largely pescitarian diet (though cheese remains a delicious challenge). I go vegetarian or vegan as much as possible, a challenge in Japan. The theoretical needle on my digital smart scale barely registered the changes.

I hit the gym.

Living in Japan means, among other things, that daylight savings time is not a thing. Around the Summer Solstice the sun is up before 04:30. I long ago preferred an early start to my day. 04:30 is a bit extreme, yet that is when I wake up without an alarm. I might “sleep in” to an incredible 05:15, but it is a rare day I sleep past that.

What to do?

I hit the gym.

My building has a gym in the 2nd sub basement past the bicycle parking garage. In the gym there are three treadmills, two cycling devices, and four weight-type machines. There is another space for yoga and 7 minute workouts and such.

I hit the gym after waking up. I press start on the coffee maker and head out the door. Being Japan, I wear outdoor shoes to transit from my apartment to the gym, then change into my workout shoes (and yes, I did originally type tennis shoes because I am of a certain age).

I like the machines. I like the weight machine were I can work out my upper body three different ways that all hurt different. I like the machine where I can do something like row a boat or pull down a … I do not know … a dead body? I like the machine where I can work out my legs while on my back and then while on my front. Even the treadmill, the foundation of my walking desk, gets new found respect in light of the other gizmos and gadgets.

These are early days, but I hit the gym 5 of 7 of these early days.

The weirdness is that there is no direct competition. If I had a brother or sister or friend to compete against, I can see it. But I do not. I wanted to work out today, but I know there needs to be a rest and recovery day. Even cross country running for baseball in high school, I did it more to beat my friends and teammates than to be healthy or anything.

Will I sustain this?

I do not know.

What I do know is that I am feeling the cognitive benefits. Combining it with the concept of Deep Work means I get serious work done before I get mired in meetings to a certain extent. A lot of my meetings involve the US and Europe, so a 06:00 or 23:00 conference call happen.

When my calendar is clear, using the time for deep work after a workout seems, based off of a short term anecdotal bullshit, to do me good.

Will I sustain this?

I do not know.

I know that I want to sustain this. I also know that no one sabotages me like I do. I am my own worst enemy, as we all are to ourselves.

I like that I seem to like those damn machines. Maybe that is enough.

What about you? Does any of this ring true to you? Share your thoughts and comments.

The Big Rethink

I am recovering from a bout of illness. I will save you, Dear Reader, the gory details.

The event is causing me to re-evaluate my habits, workflows, automation, and outsourcing. My reluctance to call on my friends and co-workers or my building concierges for help caused me more suffering than I should have endured, would have triggered my recovery sooner, and lessened the impact on others – especially at work.

Part of my rethink is my recovery-mandated sobriety. Focus is always a challenge for me after a few beers. Gaining the increased focus, the additional time, and needing the distraction provided time for reflection.

I made notes, rambling fever dreams and otherwise. I also cranked through a bunch of Mac Power Users and similar podcasts. My plans percolate and bounces around my brain.

Look forward to possible new posts about what I am doing and why.

This is some unicode: & ’ “ ” 👺

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(setq this-is-some-setting t)

(Away from) Home for the Holidays

2016 will be the first time I’m away from the U.S. for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

Many years ago I spent both Canadian Thanksgiving and U.S. Thanksgiving around Toronto. Another year I think I was in Austria and Germany at the end of November.

Regular readers and PVC Security podcast listeners know I moved to Tokyo this month.

I don’t particularly care I’ll miss Christmas and New Year’s. I could do without both. Christmas to me means traffic jams and hypo-consumerism. New Year’s is mostly an opportunity to screw up one’s sleep schedule. Unless the calendar is forgiving, all too soon one returns to work.

I used to volunteer to work those holidays, I liked them so little. I won’t miss them here.

Thanksgiving? Well, that’s another thing entirely.

I love the weather in New England and Michigan this time of year. I love well cooked turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, rolls, green beans, etc. I love pumpkin beer (though it’s creep earlier and earlier reduces the draw for me). I love watching football.

Most of all, I love spending it with my family. It can be just me and the kids. It can be the whole clan or something inbetween.

I wonder how I’ll do that day here. Some of my colleagues and friends here have already volunteered to take my mind off of it.

Stay tuned!

And so it begins … in Tokyo

How to follow me on my adventures in Tokyo.

I’m finally here.

The partner leading my consulting practice asked me about moving to Tokyo in December of ’15. I remember I was in my Brussels hotel room just before Christmas when he floated the notion. By February it was more than a mere notion. By April I would be starting “Any Day Now”.

It’s November, week 45 of 2016, and I’m at long last on the ground with all (most all) of my things.

I’m documenting my Tokyo experience, at least the personal side of things, in a few new places.

On Instagram I’m TokyoGringo.

On Twitter, I’m also @TokyoGringo.

On YouTube, I’m not TokyoGringo. I’m just plain old me: pjorgensen.

Follow and comment if you’re so inclined.