Turning a corner on the second weekend – 30 days without alcohol

I am doing the calendar month of November so we started on a Wednesday. I now have Friday, Saturday & Sunday in the bag. The second weekend. And I can contrast this against the first weekend only a few days in. When I pretty much felt like an addict. Which is either scary or silly – I am not really sure.

The Second Weekend

Weekends are the hardest. Not at work. At home. More spare time. Habitually when I would drink a bit more. Yada yada yada. Last weekend was very tough. This one… not so much.

Now, this is not to say that I did not want or crave a drink. But those cravings were not so strong. Also, they went away after a short period of time and I just kept busy.

I got more done around the house. I spent better time with the kids. Got back into some old hobbies, mainly playing video games.

I also did not work over the weekend. I actually relaxed. No checking emails. Nothing. My stress levels were lower. Did some work on the house but that is quite satisfying after spending my weeks attached to a computer.

I have also found I can read again. Really love reading. But have been having trouble concentrating and getting into a book. But… it seems that as my brain is calming down again. I am enjoying reading again.

I also seem to have had a cold for ages and that seems to have cleared up as well. Whether I was just under the weather or it was just a reaction to the booze – hard to say but again I feel

So, not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not easy. There are times that I have a bit of a craving. But they are not so bad, they go quicker, and I am having more fun overall for not indulging them.

Weekend Review

I felt clearer headed and feel I had a better weekend without booze than I would have had with it. This is important. It’s all too easy to focus on what you are losing but really, the wins here are what I am gaining. And I enter this week a lot more positive about this change and with some big ideas for how I will be looking to change my drinking habits after this 30 days is done.


Day 10 – 30 Days without Alcohol

Okay. One-third of the way in. That’s progress. Granted, one slip up. But, back on the horse now. The weekend approaches, which of course is the real challenge but… determined to get to the end of the month and hoping it gets easier.

I would like to take this through December as well all the way to Christmas but to be honest, it’s pretty fucking tough at the moment. A couple of really tough weeks at work. I have not been sleeping great and that is one of the things that I usually notice when I stop drinking during the week.

But, I am not out the woods yet and everything I have read indicates the magic happens after about 90 days. Which seems like a long time to commit to at the moment. So, 30 days done a day at a time is the mantra at the moment. And then review at the end of November and see how I feel.

Habit Formation

There is this thinking that habits can be made or broken in three weeks. But from what I have read that only relates to enjoyable or easy things. So, in three weeks you can create a habit to go on Facebook first thing in the morning or have a few beers after work. But, when you have to break a habit that is a really well-worn groove over 20 years or so, three weeks will not cut it.

Hopefully, it gets easier after three weeks. And then hopefully, when I review at the end of November, I will be able to refer back to these posts, remember how I felt and think that I don’t want to go back there – I would rather move forward.

Responsibility debt

I read an interesting post by a health and fitness dude called Aadam on how it’s all too easy to make promises for our future self to live up to. You have to deal with things in the here and now and it’s best to not make huge promises you can’t live up to and then send yourself into a failure spiral.

You have no empathy for your future self, so it’s easy to heap things up without realising your future self is going to have all kinds of shit to deal with as well.

My wife put it well. She tends to do that. And I tend not to listen. But, a good way to look at this when making promises for your future self is “would I do that tonight? or tomorrow night?”. If the answer is no then you likely won’t want to do it then either.

Ultimately, you just have to deal with what you can in the moment. And that’s what I am going to do here. Get through this weekend and stop piling up this responsibility on my future self for now. Will review again on Monday hopefully after a 100% dry weekend!

Once more unto the breach!


Day 4 & 5 – the slip up – 30 days without alcohol

So. Day 4 we were having a little bonfire party. We had some friends over and they all came booze free which was really kind. Well, they had some booze in the car. So, I ended up having a few so they could have a few.

Not going to be too tough on myself here. Will just push on and add an extra week on and consider up to this point a bit of a warm-up.

I think the main takeaway here is… don’t just give up if you slip up. Just push on. Back on the horse and all that.


We then had a really nice family Sunday. I got up, took the kids swimming, we went to the cinema, popped and saw my family for a small fire and BBQ (and no beer for me) and then had a roast. I really did not miss the booze at all on Sunday. And we are just being more active for it.


I don’t want to avoid social activities entirely. But this was a bit early. And our historic bonfires have always been a bit of a big party. You just need to keep busy that first crucial weekend. So I will keep busy this weekend but hopefully, writing this on Tuesday (day 7), I am over the worst of it and can just keep busy and enjoy my green tea on the evenings!

Days 2 & 3 – 30 days without alcohol

Days 2 and 3 were tough. No doubt. This was a Thursday and Friday night. Prime drinking territory. Not going crazy. But I never do. But certainly, a few ciders or glasses of wine (or both) to unwind from the stresses of the week is usually in order.

And this was a really stressful week in the end. A client website got hacked. We don’t have anything to do with the website, hosting, maintenance or security. But it was our fault. It was something of an irrational witch hunt anyways but… So, I was kind of spun up on Friday night and really struggled without those few glasses of wine to win(e)d down.

I am guessing this is half psychological and half just some form of dependence. Mainly, in the way that I use alcohol to change gears from work mode to chill out at home mode. But, this strategy, whilst it works in the moment, often leaves me wide awake at 3am thinking about the issue, rather than processing it there and then.

So, I toughed it out. I felt a bit like an addict. Which is not cool. But it did make me think of a few interesting scenes from films which helped galvanise me to not give in. We just got busy, went to Ikea, ate out, got out of my normal Friday night environment. Not an ideal Friday, but a good way to help in this first weekend.

So, when you are struggling, just remember, you don’t want to be these guys. And it’s just booze. So get some perspective. So, tough it out and push on. 🙂

Renton from Trainspotting

Pookie from New Jack City


30 days without alcohol – day 1

I say day 1, but technically, this is the morning of day 2, where I can at least assess the impact of day 1.


I am a fairly average guy I would guess. 41 years old. Pushing 42. Not an alcoholic. At least I hope not. But I enjoy a drink on the evening to wind down. And running a small business, with the stresses of that I have likely come to rely on my post work drink a little too much to change gears from work to relaxation.

The problem is, whilst it helps in that moment, I am pretty sure it’s not helping overall. Disrupted sleep. Feeling tired all the time. Eating crappy food when drinking. Less likely to exercise the next day. Ultimately sleep, exercise and nutrition are the three pillars of health and drinking, even just a little bit has a negative impact on these.

The offshoot of this for me is being grumpy, anxious, and just not my usual happy, positive self. So, it’s time to make a change. I have threatened to do a month, three months or even a year of the drink before to reassess.

This time I am going for a month and will review my feelings then. I would like to take longer but I will review at the end of November and maybe push it through till Xmas.

Certainly, I would like to embed some change to my habits as holidays are when it is all too easy to drink every day, volume goes up a bit and these negative side effects accumulate. This has the knock-on effect that I can end up feeling worse at the end of a holiday than the beginning – and that’s not ideal.

So, here we go. One month for sure. Maybe the best part of two taking me to Xmas. And who knows what else beyond that. I am just going to record my naked thoughts here and see what happens.


My main goal is to stop drinking for a month and review how I feel about it at the end of the month. My general thinking is to push it too Xmas and then really moderate over the holiday. Potentially then do three months in the new year with a thought to potentially take that to 12 months.

Secondary goals are all over the place:

  • Clean up my diet
  • Lose some weight
  • Get in better shape (fitter, stronger, more endurance)
  • Write my marketing book
  • Write on this blog every day
  • Be a happier husband and parent

However, a friend clued me to some research that states that if you make 1 change you have an 85% chance of sticking to it. If you make 2 changes then your success rate drops to 35% and any further changes and you have pretty much no chance.

So… my goal is just to stop drinking. Then, if other positive things grow out of that then great. But I won’t give myself a hard time if they don’t.

Day 1 – thoughts

So, 1st November out the way. No booze. How do I feel?

  • Certainly feel sharper and more alert this morning
  • Definitely slept better
  • Got up early and exercised this morning
  • Felt more positive
  • Less anxiety regarding the day ahead

Early days, but I feel good this morning. Not tired. Not cranky. Not anxious. I won’t reach for the champagne just yet but… oh yeah, I won’t reach for the champagne at all, but it’s a positive start.

Let’s see how day 2 plays out.

Simple 3 Step Fat Loss Strategy for the 40 plus

In a months time I am going on holiday. There is a pool. I will spend a lot of time in my shorts as the kids love to swim. A month or so after the xmas festivities I am not exactly shredded!

I have about 30 days to combat this and get a little more pool ready so have put together a simple strategy to shed some of that unwanted timber. I am a big fan of simple so complex strategies will not work for me. I can’t weigh and measure etc (nor would I want to).

This strategy builds on my Paleo inspired diet that cuts out processed carbs and sugars whilst being highly nutrient dense so I have a good base. However this should work for anyone but diet will undermine

I am also being sensible with booze. I know from historical efforts that no matter what I do that drinking will undermine it. So, drinking is kept to weekends and only zero sugar, super low calorie drinks – basically vodka, lime juice and soda. Refreshing and does not have that sugar hit that pushes up calories but also has you reaching for another (and another (and another)).

Three Steps to Easy Fat Loss

I don’t want to over-complicate this so the basics are as follows

  1. 300 Kettlebell swings per day
  2. Cold Shower in the morning
  3. Reduce my eating window to 8 hours

Okay, that’s the basics for you TL/DR folks but those of you that want more information dive in below.

300 Kettlebell Swings Per day

The idea here is that this burns about 1000 calories per day but also builds strength, endurance and muscle – all good things for someone trying to look good with their top off.

There is a program out there that focuses on just this one change and folks get great results. Improves strength, lose weight, improve cardio – it’s a big win and very doable. I tend to think to get the best from any exercise or weight loss regime you have to further stack the deck in your favour thought with diet leading that charge.

It took me a while to get up to 300 but I know just tackle this in 10 sets of 30 swings. When I am tired I will start with a 10, then a 20 and then a 30 to get me going.

I usually aim to get around 90 to 120 done before I leave the house in the morning. The rest are just spread throughout the day. I am lucky here that I have a kettlebell at work that I can swing but you can aim to do five sets in the morning and five in the evening. It’s doable. It will take a bit of time and mental toughness but hey, that’s all good stuff.

I like to get a bunch done in the morning and then spread them out through the day. I have a sedentary job so I look at this as reestablishing a baseline level of activity throughout the day and not as my exercise regime. I also like to keep them going in sets spread over the day to keep my metabolism ticking over – rather than just letting my body adapt to sitting.

Men tend to use a 16kg bell for starters and the ladies can start at 12kg. I am a week or so in and looking at moving to my 24kg bell by the end of this week so results come pretty quick.

A tip is to keep your kettlebell in the most high traffic area of your house – typically the kitchen. For me where I cook, have coffee and just hang the kitchen is perfect.

Best advice I can give here is get your technique down (it’s a hinge and not a squat). Pavel is the KB master but there are loads of good videos out there so get a watching.

Cold shower in the morning

After I have had my coffee and done 90-120 swings I have a shower before I set off for work. I tend to have a standard warm shower and then go cold for two minutes.

There are many benefits to cold showers but the one we care about here is for fat loss. So, getting your metabolic engine running with some swings and then jumping in the shower and going cold for two mins all helps to get things going in the right direction.

Reduced Eating Window (Intermittent Fasting)

The 8/16 split is a common intermittent fasting technique made popular by Martin Berkhan at Leangains.com. The general idea is you reduce your eating window to eight hours so you are fasted for 18 hours rather than the typical 10 hours or so between your evening meal and breakfast.

You can split this however works best but most folks find skipping breakfast is easiest. Certainly, in the context of stoking the metabolic furnace with swings and a cold shower in the morning you then have a good fat loss window till your first meal at 1 pm.

I am swinging at about 6 am whilst hanging out and drinking coffee at home and tend to have my cold shower at about 6:30 am and then jump in the car to head to work about 6:45 am. I am then fasted till 1 pm so my body has plenty of time to tap into those fleshy energy reserves.


30 days & 9000 swings

So, I head off on this short holiday on the 17th Feb. I am a week or so in. I will report back on how this hack has helped and whether I managed to stay sensible enough with my diet (read as drinking) to get the results I am hoping for.

Hit me up in the comments if you are willing to give this a go. 🙂

Cold Showers for the 40 plus

Cold showers. Brrrrr… cold. Seems like something that can’t be good for us right? But, if recent studies can be …

Granted the science is all pretty new but there are seemingly many benefits from punctuated exposure to cold water – the shower being the easiest way for most of us to do this.

It’s important to realise that these improvements are always incremental – they won’t fix a bad diet and lifestyle but if the science and chatter is to be believed cold showers can help with:

  • Fat loss
  • strengthening of the immune system
  • improvements in cardiovascular health
  • improved sleep quality
  • improved mood and alertness
  • depression (possibly better than any of the drugs!)
  • improves emotional resilience
  • Improved exercise recovery *
  • improved insulin sensitivity
  • raises testosterone levels
  • improvements in blood sugar
  • decrease inflammation in the body
  • increased pain tolerance
  • great for your skin and hair

That’s quite the list there. Just fat loss and an improved mood should be good enough for most folks. If this whole laundry list of benefits can be gleaned by this one simple life hack then is that not worth a shot?

* note – it may be worth waiting a few hours if you are looking to build muscle 

Stress – good and bad

To get your head around this we have to understand stress. Good and bad. Stress is generally only thought of as a negative thing. However, short, punctuated stress like we see after lifting weights, going for a jog or better still, sprint or HIIT training can be positive.

Our body adapts to this stress and improves. We get stronger, fitter, faster, leaner, can run further and can get more air into our blood more quickly. Positive adaptions to short bursts of physical stress.

Punctuated exposure to cold water is likely much the same – it’s brief and our body adapts. We have a hormonal response that benefits our health and mood in many ways.


I have been taking cold showers now for around six months. Daily. Pretty much. Few blips over holidays or Christmas etc but generally if I shower I do the necessary and then turn the tap to cold for the last few minutes.

During this time period, I have been under immense stress at work and with a house renovation so it is hard to say if I have seen all of these benefits. Certainly, I still have weight to lose but any diet hack is only a hack and booze + food will undo the benefits there (guilty).

I have not had any colds during this time, though. We have lived with relatives for a month who were just hacking and spewing out cold and flu germs. I have three kids who all bring home and kindly share germs they are exposed to at school. Usually, in the good old UK we can expect a couple of colds, possibly a flu and sickness bug if you have kids who kindly share their ills.

With all the general stress (business + house renovation) I would have been a candidate for one of these colds or flu bugs but… I have been rock solid. Few times I have felt a tickle in the back of my throat, others around me (wife, kids, family, staff) have got ill but I have always shook it off.

From what I understand the science seems to indicate that daily cold showers do indeed improve your immunity to viruses. The cold water shocks the body into warming itself up and raising the core temperature – this then destroys cold and flu viruses before they take hold. Given that most cold and flu’s take three days to incubate it seems to make sense (but what do I know other than I have had no colds). The same study also indicated that cold showers can shorten the effects of a cold if you do get stung so… I will keep turning the tap to cold.

Hardly science or a huge study but my experience over the last six months or so has been a positive one.

The real reason I take cold showers

I take cold showers to boost my productivity and to improve my mental toughness. We are all just so damn comfortable.

It is hard to turn the shower to cold. It is harder still to get into the cold water. It is tough to stay under that freezing water. To do this you have to be tough. You have to be prepared to be uncomfortable. You have to maintain the willpower to do this daily and quiten the voices that suggest otherwise.

A successful life needs a degree of discomfort. You have to do the things that are outside your comfort zone. Cold water is outside of most people’s comfort zone. So I take a cold shower every day knowing I come out of stronger and more prepared on the other side. Ready to face the day ahead and the myriad things I need to do to succeed (but probably would rather not if I took the easy route).

You come out of that shower and you are breathing hard, awake, alert and ready for the day. You are certainly no longer tired! You are ready to face the challenges and myriad other discomforts of a productive day.

And, hopefully, I benefit from all the other health and fitness benefits. But, if not, I would still take cold showers as they kick start my day and keep my willpower strong.

Cold showers – how to get started

There are a couple of approaches here:

  • 8 x 20 seconds cold & 10 seconds warm (4 mins total)
  • 2 minutes cold after a warm shower
  • 5 minute cold shower

The general thinking is the punctuated 20 cold / 10 warm is best for fat burning. Also, that 5 minutes is the max you should do. Personally, I sit in the middle and just do a two-minute blast of cold at the end of my normal shower.

When not to take cold showers

There is a study that shows cold water exposure after weight lifting can impact hypertrophy. So, if you are looking to put on size in your weight lifting routine then… don’t jump directly in the cold shower. I am no expert here but do your showers in the mornings before you train or leave it a few hours so you don’t blunt the effects of your workout. I would not throw the baby out with the (cold) bath water here though as cold water exposure improves testosterone so there are positives to be had if gaining muscle mass is your goal.

We cool?

Hopefully, I have got you interested here. Ultimately with anything health and fitness related I always suggest you give it a shot. Try it for a month. Keep notes. See how you feel. You can spend months going down the internet research rabbit hole so just give it a shot and see if it works for you.

Don’t expect miracles after a few cold showers. Determine some sensible measurements (cold, weight, body fat, sleep quality, skin and hair – whatever matters most to you) and review at the begining and end of the process. Take photos if needs be.

Drop a comment with any questions or to let me know how you get on.

Designing an Exercise Plan

I have two very specific goals for this coming year with regards to my exercise:

  1. Lose weight (and maintain it)
  2. Improve overall fitness (strength & endurance)

There is a third element here that is really a subset of #2 in that I want to improve on my mountain bike. This is the benchmark by which all of this will be measured.

To do this I want to really prioritise my exercise and design a plan that covers all of these bases. This, of course, has to build upon my ideas around creating a regular schedule and routine and ultimately cutting out all the sugar, alcohol and processed crap that has crept in to my diet.

Lose Weight

Assuming everything else is dialled in this one should be easy enough.

  • Drop all alcohol, sugar and processed carbs
  • Stick to my exercise schedule
  • Utilise a reduced eating window (8 hour on, 16 hours off IF style)
  • Eat a high nutrient density diet
  • Keep all carbs in the post workout window (evening)


I need to do a couple of things here:

  1. Lose weight – so burn some calories
  2. Get stronger – so lift some weights
  3. Improve my endurance – do some cardio
  4. Improve my anaerobic (high intensity) fitness – do some high intensity interval training

With the weights I want to improve raw strength and strength endurance so I need two different workouts in there. My high end cardio (anaerobic) is merged with my strength workouts + one short but high intensity dedicated session. My endurance is tackled by a ride to work and back on Tuesday + my Saturday bike ride.

As I am 41 I also need to allow for some recovery in there somewhere so there are two days when I only walk the dog!

Weekly Plan

My goal here is to improve on the mountain biking I do on a Saturday morning so I top load the week and reduce volume and training frequency to recover for the ride.

Version 1.0 of my plan looks like this:

  • Monday – high volume strength & HITT training at the gym (90 mins)
  • Tuesday – bike to work (1 hour each way)
  • Wednesday – pure strength workout (5 x 5 style) + bike tabata
  • Thursday – 12 minute metcon + stretches and recovery work
  • Friday – rest: 60 minute dog walk
  • Saturday – big bike ride at trail centre (measure results)
  • Sunday – rest: 60 minute dog walk

Getting started

I am starting this program on the 9th January 2017 so will keep you posted on my progress and tweak the program as needed.

Designing my daily schedule for 2017

2016 has been quite the challenge.

We achieved a personal goal to buy (what will hopefully become) our dream house but we have spent six months renovating it (and are nowhere near done yet).

I also run a digital marketing agency in the UK called Bowler Hat. The business is evolving from offering just search engine optimisation to offering a range of services: Strategy, SEO, PPC, Content, Social and Web. Gobbledygook to most I guess but a necessary and difficult change for the business and industry as a whole. Managing this change is fun and rewarding but a challenge at the same time.

Then I have three children of 12, 11 and 5 and a wife – all of whom I want to see more of. Twelve hour work days leaves little time for family in the week. Factor in popping to the shops, walking the dog, exercise, cooking dinner and trying to wind down… there just is not enough hours in the day when you work 12 of them.

Time flys by so fast

This previous year (2016) I became more aware of how this stage of life parenting young children will soon be over. That makes me sad. But I can use that energy to focus my time better so I can enjoy all the time we have left with the children. In a blink of an eye, I will be 50 and I don’t want to look back and think “well Marcus, would have been good to get home a bit earlier and do a bit more with the kids”. Prioritise and change now. Don’t have regrets.

The overarching purpose of this blog is how to be happy, healthy, productive and successful for those of us 40 and above. How to navigate the modern world where we are all just so damn busy.

Clerly a big change I need to make here is to work fewer hours and spend more time with the family. This will require two major factors:

  1. Routine – less chaos to enable planning
  2. Productivity – removing all wasted time at work and home

My day

During the week most days I will be up at 6 am and in the office from 7 am. Often I will not be back home till 7 pm. Factor in some running around and various after school activities for the kids and it is pretty much a routine of wake, work, cook, eat, sleep & repeat.

This needs to change.

My priorities

This year my priorities are:


I want to spend more time with my family. More time helping my eldest kids with their homework. More time being around to spend quality time with my youngest and playing with him after school. More time to spend with my wife. Just more time at home and less time wrapped up in the stresses of work.


Health is a difficult one to pin down and is primarily about doing more of the good (food, exercise) and reducing the bad (inactivity, stress, alcohol, bad foods). My main focus here will be to improve our diet even further (which is already pretty damn solid) which really just comes down to cutting out alcohol & sugar and then having more time to shop, cook and prepare food for in the week.


I want to be as fit and strong as possible for as long as possible. This is primarily so I can continue to enjoy my life into my fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties even. I would also like to be lean and strong and look good (just being honest here). I have a desk job where I sit down most the day so it’s super important for me to exercise for my physical (and mental) health.

I also want to get better at mountain biking and a large component of this comes down to fitness. So, I want to exercise but tailor it towards my general goals and towards my chosen sport (which requires cardio and strength).


I want to have a less stressful year. I am developing a business and still renovating a house. This is alongside a fast-paced life at home with two near teen children, my youngest (5) and my wife (who has MS that we manage through diet). My life is a little stressful. So, this will be more about stress management than the removal of the things that apply stress.


I can tend to use alcohol to wind down after a fast paced day. It allows me to switch gears from work mode to chilled mode. Usually whilst cooking on the evening. Due to the hours, I work this tends to be unhelpful and just feeds into bad sleep, more stress and negatively impacts my fitness and health goals. I am going to revisit my thoughts about alcohol in a future post but for now, I will cut out all alcohol in January whilst I revisit that.

Time for myself

Whilst most of this involves improving the time I spend with my wife and children I also want to have some more time for myself. Maybe regular exercise and meditation go most the way for this but I may also want to spend an hour on the games console a couple of nights a week. Not too much to ask I hope.


Sleep. Often overlooked but so, so important. I want to allow for 8 hours sleep each night. I tend to need somewhere in the region of 7 to 8 hours. Closer to eight when I am exercising. So any schedule has to allow for a full eight hours with some time to wind down before that. Ideally three hours of time to just chill out and 15 mins to

My schedule

The below looks at my daily schedule – I will detail my work schedule in another post covering all the time management and productivity hacks I am working into my daily routine in 2017. The goal is work less hours but eliminate wasted efforts (80/20 rule) and push productivity up.

To summarise I am looking for:

  • More time with the family
  • Regular exercise
  • Less stress
  • More relaxation time
  • Improved health, fitness and lose a bit of weight

Monday to Friday

  • 5:30 am – get up: cold shower, coffee, some chess tactics for fun
  • 6:40 am – leave for work
  • 7:00 am – work: 8 hours 30 mins at work
  • 7:10 am – meditate for 10 mins
  • 3:30 pm – finish: drive home
  • 4:00 pm – home: see the kids
  • 4:15 pm – exercise, shower and get everything ready for tomorrow
  • 5:15 pm – cook
  • 6:00 pm – eat as a family
  • 6:30 pm – walk the dog (as a family)
  • 7:00 pm – two hours to relax or even catch up on work if needed 🙁
  • 9:00 pm – go to bed to read for 30 mins
  • 9:30 pm – sleep for eight hours

This allows me to get three hours of time each night to just chill out and get an eight hours sleep each night if I need it due to increased exercise. If not I can read more.


Saturday I tend to do my big bike ride for the week. This is the main goal of my exercise here and my benchmark. I don’t want this to eat into family time so up at 6.30am and meet my riding buddies at 7 am. I also need to sort out the meal plan and food shopping for the week.

  • 6:00 am – get up with my youngest (coffee etc)
  • 6:45 am – bike ride
  • 12:00 pm – home
  • 12:45 pm – meal plan for week
  • 1:00 pm – shopping
  • 3:00 pm – chill out


Sunday is just to chill out with the family so no schedule there. That said I do want to take the kids swimming every Sunday morning so I can teach the youngest to swim before our summer holiday.

  • 10 am – take kids swimming
  • 12 pm – sort out clothes and schedule for week
  • enjoy the rest of the day

Spend the rest of the day just hanging as a family. Walk the dog. Play some chess with my kids. Watch a movie together. Eat a nice dinner. Just fun.


To make this happen I also have to remove all the wasted time and inefficiencies in my day to day life. Time spent looking for my keys, time spent sat in traffic, time lost in my email inbox, doing our shopping day-to-day and any other wasted time but that’s a story for another day and a future post.

There you go

So there you go folks. I will be putting this into practice from the 3rd of January when I am back at work and will report back on the progress as I go. I will also follow this post up with a look at how I am going to strive to reduce time in my work and home life to give myself more time to relax.


Week 1 – went okay. Have made a few small revisions but in practice I am sticking to the schedule. Did not exercise as much as I intended but was tired post xmas and the shift from getting up at 8 am to 5.30am was not an easy one. First day of week 2 I am up and feeling good so exercise is starting in earnest today.

Parenting, change and appreciating what you have

It’s boxing day 2016. My children are 12 (nearly 13), 11 and 5. This is the first year that any of them did not believe in Santa. It’s a huge reminder that time just passes so, so fast and you have to work hard to appreciate every moment.


Christmas really is all about family. Even more so it is all about the children in your family. Particularly your own. And, I suspect, as time passes your grandchildren although I am not their yet.

The idea behind this blog was really just to document my own crusade to stay happy, healthy and productive as I tipped over the big 40 last year. A large part of that happiness is of course my own direct family.

Last year I was aware of two things that were having a negative impact on my life and happiness – work and alcohol. I am still somewhat conflicted regarding alcohol and I have ended up working harder than ever this year. Clearly, I did not learn my own lessons and as such I need to refocus.

This year and the unspoken but clearly apparent change in my eldest two children’s attitude to Christmas is yet another stark reminder that time is passing by and I really, really need to apply more focus on the positive areas of my life and less time stressing about work.

My relationship with my children will change. It is still highly positive. I have just finished a game of Super Mario Chess with my 11 year old. However I must embrace the further change that will come. I must make efforts to enjoy every single moment with my youngest who still believes in the magic of Christmas (well, Father Christmas at least).

Balance & Appreciation

There is no huge takeaway here folks – only that time moves fast, things change fast – appreciate what you have whilst you have it.

In 2017 my focus is going to be on balance. I want to achieve more at work yet I also want to allow more breathing room for my exercise and family. In my next post I will outline my plan for achieving a balance between work and play in 2017.

Happy Christmas to one and all. Here is to a happy, healthy and productive 2017 for all.