System Design

So, its Tuesday today. I am a day late with Monday posts but still in time for my “blog once a week” goal.

Firstly, let me say that I did join the beginners running program.  I am now a “Spartie in the making”. I am strangely liking running more than I expected to. But its early days I have had 3 training sessions thus far. I had to miss last night as I was travelling for work. I need to make it up somehow, but tomorrow is back to the scheduled training for me. I also have a knee that makes LOUD cracking noises!

Ground Zero continues to make progress – albeit very slowly. Curtain rail in main bedroom goes up tomorrow night. En-suite shower curtain needs to be put up as well. But any progress is better than none. I need a few more bits and bobs for storage and clever space saving ideas – but that will come.

I need to get more deliberate about some life systems designs. I joined the running program as it’s a system that’s going to take me from zero to 10k in 12 weeks with a graduation race on 1 June. May the weather gods see me through the cold and rainy nights of training ahead. My trusty Fitbit continues to remind me to feed it steps on an hourly basis.  And it is quite gratifying watching that little fireworks display go off when I hit a goal. So, I feel like some of the fitness goal/habit systems are on their way and implementation is happening without too much effort on my side.

Another major system/set of goals/habits I want to look at overhauling and getting some serious traction and system design in place is my financial ones. I say this just after making one of the biggest purchases one could make – buying a house. Of course, do not forget I am in a long-term relationship with the bank with regard to that purchase.  

I have long been a reader of various blogs on financial wellness. From ones that sell the latte factor as a means to accumulate wealth, to the ones that teach extreme frugality like dumpster diving (can’t do that here in SA). Majority have been focused around the American market though. So as much as a Roth IRA sounds fascinating or maximising my 401k sounds like it’s a wise thing to do – I can’t do any of those.  I have read Suze Orman, dabbled with listening to some of Dave Ramseys stuff and subscribe to Ramith Seti’s newsletter.  All great content and great advice. And some great sound universal truths and reality. But somehow, none of the content resonated with me. I still read a lot of their stuff for ideas and inspiration – but I needed to find something closer to home that resonated with me. Disclaimer – I have worked in some financial services related companies but during my time there – I was just working a job to get a salary. It’s really only at my last stint in fin services whereby I started thinking – why am I not learning from these great people I have access to. The really smart ones were quietly going under the radar – doing their best for clients but also quietly getting on with managing their own money. Believe me – I have had access to some seriously smart investment folk – but they were just colleagues and honestly – you didn’t really want to talk about your financial status (or lack thereof) with your colleagues. How stupid was that thinking. And I know the bulk of them would happily have taught me a lot more than what I have struggled to learnt on my own! But we live and learn.

So, back to my current system learning. I found my way to the book called, Become Your Own Financial Advisor by Warren Ingram. I honestly am not sure of the exact way I found this book. It may have actually come up as an ad on one of the online shopping sites I visit. Anyhow, I have just started reading it. from what I have skimmed read thus far – I think Mr Ingram suits my investment personality perfectly. But let’s see how we go.  I have not quite gotten into the meat of the book yet.  Oh and I did do some online due diligence on said Mr Ingram – happy to note that he’s a homegrown South African, right local credentials, FPI planner of the year and runs his own wealth management company and all his content speaks to locals!

Oh step goals for the past week have been great. The 3x week training sessions have helped. Step average for last week was 9318 – almost hitting 10 000! Consistency really is key!

Have an awesome week!

Breaking (bad) habits

So here it is Monday again.

Ground Zero has seen some improvement. There is a kitchen. Its tiled. It even has some cupboards. And by the time I get home – for real some actual working electric sockets and a workable stove. I got a quote to partially fix the stuffup over the weekend. I say partial as I knew that when digging deeper the true extent of the stuffup would only be understood. Which is as I suspected. So, I await a revised quote. But I am on focusing on onwards and forwards, so In some good news around the stuff up. There is a working toilet now and a sink. But the main thing – the shower – remains useless.

Onto other things. I finally bought globes for two floor lamps I had purchased a long time ago. And there was light! Its looks great. And when the electrician popped by this morning, I had done some enquiries about removing the hideous ceiling fan. He said. “when you’re ready, let me know”. Of course, I am ready right now! But I first have to pay to have a working shower!

So, last week’s 6000 steps per day goal was reached. Ok it netted out at around an average of 7900 steps, but it was only because the Fitbit made me do it 😊. I have not managed any gym sessions or anything else but at least the Fitbit keeps me going. Seriously. Gamifying things really does work. As soon as that little man asks me if I want to Stroll or I just need X number of steps to CRUSH IT I am up like a shot and off I go. Of course, my fellow office-space sharers probably think I have an over-active bladder or that I have restless leg syndrome but hey – you must be weird if you want different!

The thing I learnt these past few weeks is that you don’t break bad habits. You have to replace them with new and different ones. Habits are the rituals you perform on a daily basis and they can have either a positive or negative outcome. You also need to set up different systems to support your new rituals. So I have initially started off with the steps thing. With the help of my trusted little helper. I feel like he should have a name. He plays such an important role in my daily life. Let be ponder that. But anyhow so there’s my little helper and then of course, I am joining a system tonight. No. Not some ponzy MLM system. But I am hoping it will still have some sort of cult-like affect on me.

Tonight, sees the start of the Beginners 12 Week Running Program which I signed up for last week. I have had all kinds of sniffles wanting to start and sudden onset headache and a myriad of “ailments” wanting to derail my headspace from going. It was pouring with rain and so were my reasons not to do it. But I have done that in the past. Not do it! So today, I am going to Nike the crap out of this thing. Wish me luck!


In building terms, slippage means the gradual sliding of a building over time – it’s in one of the things mentioned on one of the numerous pieces of paper I had to sign my life away when I decided to enter into my recently announced long-term relationship.  It’s also an investment term but I’m not going to go into that.  But it also has other meanings.  Slippage also means the failure to meet a standard or deadline.

Posting to this blog has slowly been going into slippage. A post a week.  I am barely making it. I can make a thousand (legit) excuses but they are just that – excuses. So here I am trying to prevent further slippage. So here’s my (late) post but still within my weekly goal.

So, Ground Zero aka The Investment (the evidence of my long-term relationship) has not sparked joy in the Marie Kondo sense of the word. Not that I would want to purge it – already buy I am not quite calling it home yet – it’s The Investment (or Ground Zero).  But I digress. The reason for the frustration is because dealing with contractors is a nightmare. I mean seriously. If you offer a service, then a) deliver on what you say when you say and b) provide a detailed quote. Simple!

Another thing, it doesn’t matter if your client doesn’t know what quarter rounds are or when you want to sound knowledgeable and throw jargon around like “Upats”.  Break it down as it gives the client a sense that you know what you are doing and are not giving “rough guesstimates” on what you think might be needed. That does not instil confidence.  Or if you don’t provide some detail – it just doesn’t bode well for what you want to charge. People need as much comfort as possible at this point – especially when they are living on said Ground Zero aka The Investment. 

Also, I am that person. Don’t talk twak to me thinking I will just take your word for it. Believe me. I will learn and read and become a “google” expert on you!  And then we have a problem. Then I will start asking technical questions – because I can – and then I won’t be as easy-going or forgiving as I might have been in the beginning.

OK. Now that The Investment update is done. Moving along swiftly. So, another goal I have always wanted to attempt is running. And I finally got myself to sign up for a beginner running program. Let’s see how it unfolds. It’s a 12-week program and there is a “graduation” run on 1 June. Its nice and structured and with a group. Its starts on Monday, 11 March. Go Runner-Me!

Wishing you all a happy rest-of-week and especially my friend and personal illustrator(😉) Samajoy73 – a very Happy Birthday to you!

Habit creep…

To state the obvious its Wednesday! This blog post is a few days late.  Its been busy at work and I am ready with a slew of excuses about how life happens and so forth. But actually, what’s happening is that negative habit creep is happening. So in order to stop the rot before it has time to take root, I have to hit that publish button and not get sucked into a path that will lead to negative thinking. And then suddenly writing is no longer on the agenda anymore. And before I know it – months have passed and I have not written a single word – let alone met my weekly writing habit/goal.

Last week’s step goal was OK. I mean I hit my average of over 6000 steps but on one day I missed the daily goal – my average was over 7 000 per day – but its been a struggle to push that amount up. But we move forward one step at a time 😉. The refurb work at home continues to be a disruption but I am pushing forward. Do I dare hope that it will be finished by the end of this week? I am not so sure but hey – we just keep forward momentum going. As Tony says (YES, I listen to Tony Robbins sometimes) – we have to take massive amounts of action. ACTION. So at least there’s tiny progress. It’s tiny but it is progress none the less.

I am doing some stuff in the background while the bathroom is patiently waiting to be done. Getting more quotes on a couple of other projects that will need doing. But of course, the budget dictates which ones will be prioritised. I have also bought some curtain drops – so its beginning to look a lot more like a place where people live. I can’t quite call it home. I am guessing time and living in it will make it that. Also, given my nomadic existence this past while – I am not quite settled. Also that saying that home is not 4 walls is so true – I need to make it lived in and “peopled”.  But at least I have a space to go to which is the evidence of my new long-term relationship.  I am now in a seriously committed long-term relationship. Me and my bank 😉.

Happy rest of week everyone. Onwards and forwards! ff

Houston, we have a problem!

Another week of too much of life happening! Seriously! Moving to a new house and doing renovations is not for the feint-hearted. Add flagging energy levels and an iron infusion. And managing aging parent health issues almost all converging at the same time. And all our lofty goals and micro-habits and best intentions go out the door! Acknowledging that I am only(?) human – things were bound to go a bit awry.

On the step goals. Well, if it wasn’t for my trusty Fitbit – I don’t think I would have remotely even been aware of stepping or even stepping out. I would choose to remain on my couch eating a copious amount of chocolate. Yes! Dopamine needed in large quantities and my carrier of choice is chocolate!

Moving along. I manged to average over 6000 per day but alas – not an improvement on the week before but at least I managed that goal. Water intake has been zero really. But OK. We are not staying stuck in #sabotagemode!

This week I continue living on a building site. But at least I am no longer squatting in the lounge. Shower still not done #sadness. I will write another blog on renovations at a later stage. Right now. I’m still living it. It’s raw. So, it sucks! I hate it! Friends encourage and say – it will be lovely. Right now. I don’t care. #nonewhomeownerglow here!

But out of that springs some inspiration. That creativity is alive. That the human spirit can triumph no matter what. And that #hopespringseternally if we tap into the right sources and appreciate the small wonders that’s all around us.

Ms Samajoy is secretly sketching again. And I have to say is this little hidden gem creeping out between a lifeless calendar (marking times passing) and a keyboard (the tool which most of us labour at every day) just makes me happy!

Image by @Samajoy73

On that note I wish you a happy week ahead. Yes, my post is somewhat late. But its happening right NOW!

Resistance to change…

I had always thought I was a person who was quite open and adept to change. And yes in certain things its been quite easy. Changing jobs being the thing I was best at changing. But coming down to daily habits. WOW! This has been an interesting journey so far.

I have had a lot happen in the past couple of days.  Still living on a construction site of sorts. Squatting in the lounge. Managing multiple service providers. And then also some health related issues. But as they say. Life happens!

So what has suffered.  Well I struggled to muster the energy to write this post. I am this close to saying maybe tomorrow. But Monday is the day I publish. And publish I will. We do not only practice our disciplines when we feel like or when everything in life is perfect. Else we will never really achieve anything of value or that we would personally feel proud of.  So I write this blog entry, with a sense of pride, that I am doing the thing I said I would do. Publish a blog post once a week.  Again. If want to be a writer/blogger – whats the key thing I need to do. WRITE! REGULARLY!

Monday publishing did not happen. Life and things just happened but I will push publish for this week’s goal.

Short and sweet but published. Step goals were met by the way but that’s just because my Fitbit kept reminding me. 

Happy Tuesday!

When the system fails… also known as Moving Meltdown!

So, there was a lot happening this past week.  Week 5 truly sucked the lifeforce out of me. I packed up a flat. Moved to a new house. Immediately started with some home reno/refurb.  And I am currently living on a construction site.  I don’t want to complain though. Yay! I just bought a house.  There are people with worse problems.  And, this too shall pass!

What I learnt from this past week’s happenings:

  • Moving to a new house is traumatic no matter how many times you have done it (believe me I have done it quite a few times). Don’t underestimate its impact.
  • You can’t plan for every single detail.  So, let go of some things and delegate where you can. And then just decide you are not She-Man, Master of the Universe.
  • Hire a reputable moving company with a good project manager on the ground on the day.
  • No amount of preparation will prepare you for living through a refurb. Its unsettling. Its traumatic. And it’s up there with moving. If you can, live somewhere else. If you can’t – brace yourself and just focus on a happy place in the future when its all done!
  • And therein lies the new home-owners dilemma. Are you ever done?
  • While the joy of shopping for new fixtures and things like tiles, taps and sanitary ware can be exciting… it sucks when you’re not quite sure what to do. You can research to the hilt and know that you need theoretically. Grout and adhesive, spacers, dirt traps and flushing mechanisms and all that ish. But when it comes down to the wire. You’re trusting your gut and the very kindly elderly tile salesman who could probably see the fear and trepidation on your face. Or alternatively, the owners are very clever to let the older “Uncle” help out those tentative looking customers.  Either way, I really wanted my Dad! He’d have project manager this entire thing. Worked out the measurements. Bought the ish and probably even done the job himself or micro project managed it!  But I had to be happy to have either a crafty salesman or some faux-Dad/Uncle type person who worked it all out for me and gave me the confidence to go off with my piece of paper and drop a F-ton of cash 😊
  • I really wanted to be able to be THAT Chick that’s all DIY-ish and stuff. You know. The ones with their own Youtube channels telling you how easy it is to refurb your kitchen cupboards and not break a nail or have a hair out of place! I even did a basic woodwork course. Yes, I did. Except, I honestly don’t like that hard work. I want to go and pick out the pretty things and then let someone else make it happen. Of course, that does put the price tag up significantly. But really. Sometimes I do wish I was born in another era.  Just so that stereotypical jobs can be done by some big burly man! 
  • OK. Shut up feminists. I am in no mood for any rants you might want to have.  I am PMS’íng! And I am not referred to as Bruce Banner for nothing when that happens!

So back to the system failing.  Well surprise, surprise.  In all that mayhem and chaos. I managed to have a step average for last week of over 9000 steps per day. Moving was hard work. I did lots of carrying and trips from the 4th floor to my car! But alas, the system worked despite what was happening around me. So yay me and my Tinyhabits self!

Roll on Week 6! May the Home Reno gods be with me!