It really does. I got this message from my brother earlier in the day today.
I probably won’t learn to listen and be neutral about negative situations, if it wasn’t for you. And I wouldn’t even be bothered to think about why she thought of it this way. This experience has made me a better person.”
I’m so proud of this dude.
All I can say is, I’m glad he’s my brother. Almost thirty years, and we’re still tight. Advice doesn’t matter if there’s no receptive ear, and like I’ve said before – he listens, if nothing else. And that is the first step in growing and maturing as a person.
ESPN’s recent massive layoff wasn’t exactly a surprise, if you were observing the landscape closely. Big pro sports deal (high cost), declining subscriber base (less money), something had to give. It also gives aspiring sports journalists pause; where to, from here?
Sports journalism isn’t solely comprised of the exclusive brethren it was years ago; the internet blew everything apart. Suddenly, everyone with an opinion and a blog is a writer, or at least they think they are (depending on the quality of writing). Twitter unleashes voices. The gates to media credentials for pro sports have lowered, and the NBA has got to be among the best of them all, when it comes to treatment for media personnel.
It’s easy enough to start your own site and produce quality writing, but how long can you keep this up? Could you turn it into a full-time job? Does it pay the bills? How does one monetise a product like this? Patreon support? Subscription paywall for premium content? Donations? Advertisements? Merchandise?
Or, is it enough for you to land a job at a big brand media organisation elsewhere? There’s got to be light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s harder than ever for one to break through the ranks, and join up as a full-time journalist, simply because there are fewer jobs out there.
It all comes down to ROI. Investment into resources (infrastructure, staff) must result in corresponding content that captures audiences, and pageviews. Bad metrics means budget cuts, and layoffs. It also means surviving staff get stretched in multiple directions, or even different directions in a bid to right the ship.
All I can say is, I’m glad I’m not aspiring to be a sports journo. It’s a rewarding, but exhausting profession; kudos to the blokes who survive the grind, I’m not looking for something like this right now.
Bulking has been the main goal ever since I started gym, and I succeeded in gaining 12kg, from 63kg in Jan ’16, to 75kg in Feb ’16 (guesstimate).
Problem: it wasn’t 12kg of muscle, and I was gaining this noticeable band of fat. Skinny fat is real, unfortunately. I still had my abs, but this roll of lard was annoying as hell; it made me feel like I was doing something wrong on diet. You know it’s wrong when your daughter points at your belly and says Daddy, there’s a doughnut!
That was when I started looking at the idea of watching my macros. I created a simple spreadsheet, planned my meals, calculated the daily calories, and kept to it for two weeks. Sure enough, the fats disappeared, my belly flattened out, the daughter exclaimed my doughnut’s gone. It’s pretty magical, I have to say. OTOH, it was a lot of abstinence. I stuck to water, cleaned my diet pretty thoroughly and eliminated a whole bunch of sugar. The idea was to go onto a high fat, high protein, low carb routine.
It’s week five since I started planning my macros on 20 Mar. I’m thinking it might be time to put the pounds back on. This time though, I’m trying intermittent fasting (IF) out. The theory here, is that you consume the same amount of calories/macros in a day, but restrict it within the lunch-dinner window (12pm – 8pm). Yes, breakfast doesn’t exist. Yes, I do get hungry, and it’s a bitch.
I first got the idea about IF from a Terry Crews interview, and figured it’s worth trying out. Like what the hell, if it doesn’t work after three months I’ll just tweak my diet, no harm done. Worst case? I get skinny fat again; I’ve been there before, I can take it.
Self note: right now, I’m at 69/70kg. The aim is to get back to 73/74kg in three months, but not pack on the fats again. Slow gains, lean gains. I need to start packing the diet back on again, which means more peanut butter and protein shakes during the day. I’ll need to plan and not wing it though, need to make time out for it.
The next challenge (aside from lean gains) is to see how I cope with planning my own workout sessions. Having a trainer is great, but I’m coming to the end of my package and it’s time to figure out how I plan this. I’m thinking a paper notebook more than a spreadsheet, it might be easier to jot my routine/reps/fails at the gym that way. The good thing is, I’ve been diligently asking questions about the training I’ve been doing all these months. For example, why does exercise A go with B in a superset? Why am I doing barbell instead of dumbbell for this exercise? Which muscle groups is this exercise hitting? It’s been pretty fun learning about these, and I’ve written up some test workouts for NZ since a month or so ago, just for warmups.
The year’s been a rather vanilla but fulfilling one, if I might say so.
I stuck to my goal of maintaining a consistent workout routine. We’re really close to the one-year milestone now! Pretty pleased at the commitment I’ve made, and I feel good. Obviously, seeing the results help. Have to admit, it’s been a little shitty at times, knowing I have to say no to lunch dates on workout days, and just play the part of an anti-social c*nt, but that’s what discipline boils down to. You don’t give yourself excuses, period.
Committing to gym, also meant I had to commit to nutrition. That in turn, meant a better focus on nutrition, meal prep and understanding the results eating different foods did to my body. Can’t say I’m a veteran at this, but definitely a big step forward.
2017 objective: keep this shit up.
Related: earlier gym post.
Really glad to have reconnected with old friends, especially my RCY mate SP. Have to admit, he made an extra effort to catch up when he was down here in Melbourne, and we’ve met up a couple more times since, a rather difficult feat considering we’re a few time zones apart. Looking forward to keeping this up!
Other great moments include:
Also appreciated all the extra time all my friends have made to keep in touch, especially the ones in Singapore (Swim Team folks, my 1-Net people). Long may this tradition continue!
2017 objective: keep in touch with as many people as I can. This is going to be hard, harder than 2016 when it comes to Singapore.
This year’s routine has actually been a bit of a shitfest, to be honest. We had to manage on our own without help, and having two kids at daycare full-time was a suicidal notion, financially speaking. We ended up working something else out, but it meant a nonstop rush every single day. It’s taken the two of us to cope; I’m glad it’s all over. Next year’ll be pretty similar, but the financial burden should be tremendously reduced at minimum, and itinerary easier.
Elly’s grown a lot this year, in confidence and articulating herself. Lenny’s development has definitely been slower, especially on the speaking front but we’ll get there. All it takes is patience and consistency. He’s not an idiot, just lazy to talk when it comes to getting what he wants. Laziness is unfortunately, a trait that seems to be passed down. I wonder who he got it from, hmm. /s
2017 objective: help Elly transition to her new school and routine, get Lenny talking like a madass mofo.
*I also had this idea of getting two paper notebooks, and filling them up with handwritten positive moments for the kiddos. BUT, I can see myself fucking it up very quickly so we’ll see.
Yes, this has been rather poor overall. I’ve barely touched my PS3/PS4 (played PS4 for the first time in July!), or played basketball much. It’s been TV series for the most part. Daredevil, The Flash, The Walking Dead, and holy crap, Breaking Bad at long last. So impressed with it, I’m a convert through and through. Bitch.
And anime too: Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans, Dragonball Super, and rewatches of Gundam SEED, Gundam SEED Destiny.
Also kept my reading up, thanks to the new Kindle Paperwhite (old Kindle destroyed thanks to Lenny). It has been sidetracked somewhat, thanks to anime binging.
2017 objective: actually play the PS3/PS4 without objection from the wife on pixelated violence being bad for the kids. Like, really. I grew up on this kind of stuff, it didn’t turn me into a homicidal maniac. And again, TRY TO PLAY MORE BASKETBALL DAMMIT.
Popped over to Singapore twice, sneaked in a side trip to Thailand, a day trip to Sydney, and that’s basically it. Next year should be looking better: a trip to the States (or two even!), another possible to China, and mayyyyyybe something local/interstate. NBA playoffs, here we come.
It’s been an educational year, thanks to Jared’s constant stream of suggestions and answers, with half of them being self-discovery. Again, thanks to Jared for leaving me room to find answers out myself, rather than spoonfeed. The deluge of projects that got dumped on us this year was a little draining, to say the least. I’m just glad we’re done with it all, project management is most definitely not our forte, especially when our priority is to help the user out.
Have to admit, I was a little sad at losing Crystal on the team, she’s been a solid dependable rock. And also, not forgetting my mate Ravi for all the chats, support all the time, and to the boss Andy for always being the perfect manager. Lastly, for a great bunch of guys at the Melbourne office. Couldn’t ask for more, really.
I knew this year was going to be me stepping away and doing less, because I would’ve burnt out if I kept at the punishing pace I’d been working at the past couple of years. So far, it’s worked out decently. The bulk of my contribution have been either on quickie pieces, or video highlights. I still think we could’ve done a lot better, but it’s still been a decent body of work overall.
Something that finally happened this year, was the motion to incorporate and turn PnR into a company. We’re still working our way through some of the agreements, but it’s a big, big step. Somehow, it made me feel like this just transitioned from a hobby into something more serious, like how dating became marriage. I hate the extra pile of paperwork (hello ASIC, ATO, shareholder/director meeting notes, etc) that’s going to surface by the way. Hate, hate paperwork. It just feels like some unnecessary shit that’s taking me away from what I can be doing on the site itself, and I need to make sure the burden is shared equally, not me just being Atlas.
2017 objectives: Too many. Let’s just leave it at continued growth.
Less than an hour to 2017. Full steam ahead, y’all. The best is yet to be.
All too often, the world is a disappointing place.
Too many times, people cannot be counted on to put their best foot forward. It stems from a lack of ownership, an excess of DGAF (don’t give a f***), a lack of professionalism and ethics, among many other things (incompetence being one of them). It feels like my definition on a job well done, differs greatly from the rest of the world.
All of us are imperfect beings, so I guess that is to be expected. What else can we do, but use these imperfections the best we can, and move forward?
We all know procrastination is a bad thing. Why then, do we do it?
More often than not, it stems from a lack of structure, and not realising that our own habits are the problem.
Picture this: your team had a brainstorming session for a new product line. Brilliant ideas were whizzing around, and it all came together into an absolute firecracker of a concept, something everyone thought would be a winner. Everyone left the room buzzing with energy, exhilarated and looking forward to the future.
Only, no one knew what the next course of action was. Market evaluation? A round of internal evaluation, to confirm feasibility? Management approval?
The idea sits on its imaginary bum, while another meeting is held to figure this out. And so on. You get the drift.
What if everyone had agreed on the next step to take, following that meeting? Perhaps the guys in product management figured it’d be better to check the market for potential competitors first, before anything else got done. Easy.
Let’s talk about something simpler. You get home after a long day, and find something in the mail: an Aldi brochure listing the week’s offers. Surely it can wait, you think. It’s late, you’re too tired to bother. It gets left on the desk, and joins a growing heap of junk mail.
What if you’d simply taken two minutes to browse, circle the items that needed to be looked at, and placed it into the shopping bag, ready for the weekend?
That wasn’t so hard, was it? Multiply the same action by twenty, and that pile of junk might not even exist.
A new message just appeared in my inbox.
Scenario A: It’s a newsletter I used to read years ago, but ignore out of habit these days. My inbox is a cesspool of unwanted messages, I find it hard to get to the really important ones.
What if I’d simply taken ten seconds to click the unsubscribe link? Or created a filter that sent it right into Trash, without ever hitting my inbox? Replicate the same thought process to all those other unwanted emails, and we might be well on our way to Inbox Zero.
Scenario B: It’s work. Someone needs a report. It’s going to take a lot of work, but it’s not urgent. Hell, it can wait. The email sits in my inbox every day, staring me in the face until the deadline’s a week away, and then I start scrambling hard.
What if I’d taken five minutes to put a plan together after reading the email? Was the scope clear, did I need to clear it up with someone? Did I already have the tools I needed to generate the report? Who should I be talking to? I send an email to a coworker, and mark the email conversation as done. One less email to care about.
I’ll be the first to admit that this principle isn’t applied to everything in my life. I do however, practise it consistently enough that Inbox Zero is a real thing, both at work and in my personal life. Avoiding procrastination improves my mental state of mind, and allows me to focus better on the things I need to do.
Cultivate positive habits, especially ones that save time and make your life easier. What do you think the next step should be?
I suggest checking out How Habits Work, and the book that’s changed my life to getting things done: David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.
Get started today.