Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

2018: What’s on my agenda?

Monday, February 19th, 2018 | Life

The so-called new year is a pretty arbitrary deadline that evolved from a series of long-dead popes. Still, as arbitrary deadlines go, it is a great chance to regroup and take stock of what’s been going on and what we want to achieve in the next solar rotation.

Of course, it’s now the middle of February. So, I’m going to stop thinking and finally publish this.

Be better at business

I declared that 2017 was my year of marketing and I have learnt a lot about building sales funnels, capturing leads and building an audience. But none of it has been hugely successful and certainly not good enough to provide a real income.

Part of the problem is that I’m struggling to engage with step one: build what people want, not what you want them to want. So, I’m going to double down on this.

Finish my master’s degree

By the middle of last month, I felt like giving up. My grades have not met my own personal standard, and while there is a queue of people telling me that a merit (the equivalent of a 2:1) is a great grade to have, it doesn’t feel like it. Especially now Venla is here. There are standards to be set: there is no award for coming second in the Nobel Prize voting. Or, worst still, settling for winning a non-natural science-based prize.

But I don’t like giving up and that certainly wouldn’t set a good example, even if we would be a lot richer. And I’m excited about my dissertation, or, at least, motivated to get on with it.

Triathlon & fitness

Last year felt like a pretty slow year for fitness. Sure, I smashed my 5km, 10km and half marathon times, but it all felt a bit like business as usual. This year, I’m taking things up a gear. A bit of business as usual two: aiming for a sub-2 hour half marathon, but also looking at longer distances and continuing my move over to triathlon.

Never trust Google Maps

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 | Life

On a previous ride to Eccup Resoviour, Google Maps took me on a “public footpath” that was more bog than path and involved me having to shoulder my bike over several fences.

Yet, even this experience, did not prepare me for that happened when I asked Google Maps to route me from Guiseley to Apperley Bridge. The road seemed to be a farm lane. Then a dirt track. Then this:

But it gets worse. After I had traversed this valley of rubble, I then had to ford a river.

I checked to see if I could tell Google Maps to avoid routing me on public footpaths and keep to actual, real roads. But there isn’t.

It’s really a poor experience on their part. On my Garmin sat nav, I can view the map without inputting a destination, and it will automatically move the vehicle and re-centre the map as I drive. Google Maps won’t let me do that, either.

Darwin Day 2018

Monday, February 12th, 2018 | Life

Happy Darwin Day!

Exams

Sunday, January 28th, 2018 | Life

It feels like not a lot has happened in January. But it has been a busy month. Primarily because most of my Christmas and early January was taken up with revision for exams.

It’s not like undergraduate where we had them stacked on top of each other: we only had four to do. But you can’t get away with undergraduate level answers, either.

We also had an essay deadline. This fell on the first day of teaching for semester two. However, I submitted it at noon the day before, giving me a good 17 hours of relaxation between the two semesters.

It also feels like an anachronism that I’ve done all of this work: include deadlines in November and December, and we’re still waiting for results from the lot of them. I understand why marking takes a long time, but I’m part of the social media-obsessed instant generation. Basically, I don’t want to put in any work for semester two if I have already failed.

2017 in review

Saturday, January 6th, 2018 | Life

In, January I set out to make 2017 my year of marketing. Have I learnt it? Well, I’ve definitely learnt a lot. But there is always more to know. January was also “book launch” month. I released Why Restaurants Fail and How to Exit VIM, which, despite both being short books, would turn out to be my most popular. Our friends Craig & Zoe welcomed Holly into the world.

Valentine’s Day is tricky when you have a baby, so February was not all it could have been. As if it wasn’t already bad enough that I had had to trade down my guitar amp. The Patriots won the Super Bowl and I launched a new version of my website.

The excitement of our domestic lives increased significantly in March when we bought a stick blender. It proved very useful for Malaysian month. In business, I launched the IT Career Acceleration course and launched the WAM online store, built with Stripe and React. Venla had her naming ceremony.

I published yet another book in April. This time it was the Human Baby Cookbook. I also discovered that costermonger is a real thing and made it to the Division E final in the public speaking world championships. In business, I launched one of my courses on Udemy. Most of my time, though, was taken up running my 30-Day Anxiety Challenge for WAM subscribers.

Everyone knows that May is all about Eurovision. Portugal won for the first time. We discovered chanterelles in Pateley Bridge and said goodbye to Ho’s Chinese. On the back of my 30-Day Challenge, I launched my 4th book of 2017, Do More, Worry Less. And knocked a respectable 24 minutes off my half marathon time. Anxiety Leeds pitched at Leeds SOUP.

In June, Venla had her first trip to the beach and started learning the xylophone. We celebated Kerny’s first birthday and had a changing of the guard at West Yorkshire Humanists as Moz stepped down as chair and we celebrated 50 years of the group’s existence. Food was tasty but small due to canape month. I wrote half a million words in one week (according to Grammarly).

It was a good foodie month in July with hand-rolled truffles and MasterChef-inspired dishes. We attended the annual Finnish picnic and celebated Higgs Day. I ran an okay-ish time in the Leeds 10k and launched my Mindfulness for Anxiety course.

Things got technical in August, with a focus on accessibility and mobile-first navigation. We celebrated Leeds Pride and Anxiety Leeds published its first impact report. It was also a month crammed with sport: inspired by the Tour de France we got on bikes for the first time in decades. We went swimming. And I traded in my Air Retaliation 2s for new trainers and brought my Parkrun PB down to 25:06. We celebated Gran’s 90th birthday and Finland turning 100. Riitta came to visit and Hugh and Anna got married.

In September I helped the NHS launch their new homepage before heading back to university. We bought bikes and went to City Ride and ran the Kirkstall Abbey 7. I made a very early exit in the Toastmasters speech contest.

Richard Thaler collected a long-overdue Nobel prize in October. We celebated our second wedding anniversary and Venla’s first birthday. I also celebrated my birthday, just after squeezing in last year’s birthday present. I ran the Yorkshire 10 Mile in under 90 minutes and moved my Parkrun PB down to 24:37.

I declared that November would be a month of action for my business and it was. I published two books: a book version of the IT Contracting Master Class course and Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy. I published my course Mindfulness for Social Anxiety and made Running For Anxiety available to the public. I went to my first business networking event, WapenTalkie. Outside of work, I went sub-50 in the Abbey Dash, completed my first duathlon (and my second and continued training on the bike.

Finally, in December we celebrated the festive season. It wasn’t quite a white Christmas, but it did snow. Venla mastered the art of standing up and climbing and we celebrated Finland’s independence day. Elina became an auntie for the second time. We held the 8th annual Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters. I placed 9th in the Braham pie-athalon: a dualthon where you had to scoff a mince pie at each transition, and completed my first sportive.

Defrosted freezer

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 | Life

I, Chris Worfolk, hereby certify that on the 21 December 2017 I defrosted the freezer. In accordance with the presence established in case law by Pics vs I Didn’t Happen, I submit this photo, including the EXIF data, as proof. Thus, should any other party to this marriage again attempt to claim that they might have done it last time so it wasn’t their turn, even though they have never done it in the entire time we have lived at this properly, this post will serve as evidence to the falsity of their claim.

Finnish Christmas Carols 2017

Thursday, December 21st, 2017 | Life

The Finnish Christmas Carols event is betting busier. It was standing room only this year. And the number of children seem to have multiplied, too. Venla still isn’t really old enough to know what is going on, but I took her to the front to dance in the children’s bit anyway.

Breathe stoke swimming

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 | Life

Apparently, most of the internet believes that breaststroke is called “breathe stoke”.

30 Days of Action: Day 30

Thursday, November 30th, 2017 | Life

How fast time flies. We’re at the end of the 30 days. Although, of course, many people have banged out a novel in this time.

First, things I’ve done today: I finished closing down the Mountain Wallet website. I’ve upgraded all of my WordPress installs to the latest version. Hopefully, this will fix the image upload bug.

For my own sake, I’m also going to review what I have achieved in the past 30 days.

What I’ve done this month

I finished writing, editing and producing my new book, Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy. It’s now available in paperback, Kindle and iBooks edition.

In fact, this is only one of two books I published in November, as I also released the book edition of the IT Contracting Master Class. Unlike the Skeptic’s Guide, nobody has bought a copy yet. But, at £75 a copy, who can blame them.

I’ve released a new course, Mindfulness for Social Anxiety. I’ve also given my existing courses some love by fixing the audio on Get More Restaurant Customers and adding captions to all of the lectures. I’ve also taken Running For Anxiety out of private beta and launched it to the public.

I’ve got a lot of content writing done for WAM. At least six new blog posts. I’ve also released five new videos and reached out to a number of guest posting opportunities, of which one was accepted. There has also been some behind-the-scenes work too, fixing Search Console errors and adding the new image search to the CMS.

I launched the personalised reports on WAM, too. These have already shown themselves to be a good potential avenue for bringing in new leads.

I’ve attended my first business networking event in the form of WapenTalkie.

I’ve also taken some of the hard decisions such as cancelling my 5000bc and Audioblocks memberships. I’m normally pretty bad at taking action here, but it had to be done.

What are the outcomes?

Much of what I have done will have benefits further down the line than can be seen immediately after. However, there are some promising indicators already:

I’ve had my best ever month selling courses. In fact, a few more sales today and I will have generated more revenue this month than the last six months combined.

Book sales are looking up a little, too. People are already buying Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy and a lot of people have bought How to Exit VIM, too.

Traffic on WAM is up approximately 20% between October and November and I’ve generated around a dozen potential new leads in the first week or so of the personalised reports going live.

Review of outcomes

There has definitely been some success this month, and avenues to explore further.

But, overall, it’s nowhere near good enough.

Productivity this month has been good. But it hasn’t felt that way: it feels like I’ve spent far too much time being ill, or looking after Venla. Fatherhood is rubbish because none of this is quality time, it is dealing with problems.

Secondly, the outcomes have, so far, been pretty poor, too. Sure, it’s better than I was doing. But it’s not paying the bills. Unless I can 100x the effectiveness of what is happening, it’s not going to be funding my Lamborghini anytime soon.

30 Days of Action: Day 29

Thursday, November 30th, 2017 | Life

Still ill yesterday, so I struggled through my full day of uni and then went home. Still a bit of process, though.

I finished writing a blog post on mindathlons, and I started drafting a new blog post on the physiological affects of anxiety.

I have also submitted an updated description to iBooks for Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy.