Time to Change – Day Eighty-Four

I’m back again!  Another long gap between posts full of long days at work and trying to squeeze sleep in between.  How’s everyone going?

The last time I posted was the day prior to my new store opening.  Wow, that feels like months ago.  Hard to believe it was less than two weeks.  I’m really settling in and starting to feel like one of the team, and getting used to how everything runs there.  There are still teething problems and small issues here and there, but for the most part I’d say it’s going really well.

Launch day wasn’t as big as I (and probably the company) thought it would be.  I mean, it was busy, but not chaotic like I thought it would be.  It was actually kind of good that it wasn’t, as it gave us time to properly adjust to the new store and take our time with each customer like we’d been trained to.  If it had of been busy, it probably would have been a lot more stressful.

In general, the job is great and I’m really liking it.  One of the phone reps who I knew from my previous job even told me that I look a lot happier here than I did previously, and although it caught me off guard for a bit, I realized she’s right.  I love the store, I love the team, I love how there’s no pressure to get customers out the door.  I mean, they don’t want you wasting time but there’s so many staff on that it’s okay to take an extra five or ten minutes if you need to.  Plus, like I may have mentioned in previous posts, the atmosphere is just more professional.  The management team actually feel like managers.  The store manager actually feels like the leader that everyone looks up to and can trust.  Don’t get me wrong, at my previous job, we tried to emulate that, but really, we were just kids faking it til we made it…and we just didn’t quite get there.  I also find it more professional in the sense that they’re very clear about what their expectations of you are – what your monthly targets are for everything, what else they expect from each sale (eg, leaving notes on the customers account).  They follow up on things if you do something wrong and explain clearly how to do it properly.  It’s worlds apart from what I was used to, and it wasn’t for our lack of trying as managers.  The company itself just didn’t explain itself clearly, didn’t have procedures in place to allow managers to check things, didn’t put enough emphasis on things they should have.  It’s where a lot of my frustration stemmed from, so it’s wonderful to be in a job where all this is not only in place, but seen as completely normal.

I think I’m also doing well in sales.  We have a tracker we get sent each morning and I’ve been up and down a bit, but overall, for my main targets, I think I’m doing better than expected.  I was nervous about this as although I know I can sell, I’m competing with dozens of others who have similar targets to me.  I just wasn’t sure how I’d go up against so many people.  It turns out, it’s not really as big of an issue as I thought it might be, mostly because the store is busy enough for it not to matter.

Aside from work, there isn’t much else new.  I feel like all I do is go to work then come home and sleep, sometimes fitting in a little catch up TV, sometimes not.  It’s exhausting, not just work itself, but the travelling to and from.  I’ve been catching public transport most days, with the occasional exception where I’ll drive.  Either option usually takes around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how long I have to wait for the bus and/or train.  Driving is sometimes faster if it isn’t peak hour, but then I pay more in parking (and petrol), which is why I’ve been avoiding it.

One of the most painful things about working so far away, I worked out, is that my train doesn’t run after 8.20pm weeknights.  I mean, I know I’ve said previously I don’t want to be on a train at night – and I don’t – but when I have a 2-9 shift, I don’t have anywhere to park that won’t cost an arm and a leg (if I get into the city before 10am, I get ‘Earlybird Parking’ rates, which is basically a flat fee of $17 provided I leave after 3pm).  I looked into Uber, but even that would cost me $40+ each way.  From January, I’ve had to put in that I can’t work after 7.30pm for this reason.  In the meantime, I’ve got two choices – I either go in early and get Earlybird rates and kill time until my shift starts, or I park somewhere close to the city, then train it the rest of the way.  I took the first option last week, and killed time by seeing Mockingjay for the second time.  This week, I’ll probably do the latter option.

Last night, I went and saw Taylor Swift as part of her 1989 World Tour.  I’ve reviewed the whole event here.

Aside from that, I don’t think there’s anything else worth writing about.  I’ve spent a majority of today sleeping (as I do most Saturdays).  Tomorrow I’ll go grocery shopping and wash my hair.  Nothing really interesting, but it has to be done.  I wish I had more to write on, but with all the travelling, it doesn’t leave room for much else.  If I didn’t love my workplace like I do, I’d probably be asking for a transfer to somewhere closer.  Instead, I’m gritting my teeth and dealing with it.  At least I’ve started reading on the train on my tablet, which is making the trips go quicker.  I’m still rereading the Hunger Games, but I’ve almost finished it.  I’ll have to find something else after that!

As for Christmas shopping, I have no ideas and no money.  Standard for me really.  I know I’m gonna have to start making some decisions soon, but right now I’m trying not to think about it.

My diet still hasn’t really gotten back on track.  That’s another issue with working weird hours and all the travelling – it makes having regular meals difficult, and makes having Lite n Easy even harder.  I’ve had maybe two LnE meals in the past two weeks because for the most part, I’m not home for dinner (at least 3 shifts a week I finish around 7), and even if I finish early, by the time I get home I don’t feel like eating.  It’s tough.  I know I’m going to have to find a way around it, but I just don’t see how.  I can’t really take the meals to work because the trip in will cause them to melt.  I’m just going to have to try to pack a healthy lunch (which I have been doing) and actually eating it (which I haven’t been).  At least I haven’t put any weight on, and am sitting right on 90kgs, which is still the lowest I’ve been in a long time.  I just can’t seem to get under it.

Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, working in the city and catching public transport is at least giving me more exercise.  I’m averaging anywhere from 6-9000 steps a day, up from an average of 4-5000.  I also run up and down a huge flight of stairs many times a day, and each time I can feel that I’m getting slightly less breathless.  Maybe sometime soon I won’t even get winded at all.

Last night after Taylor Swift, I checked my step count and I’d done almost 15000 steps for the day.  That’s blown my previous record of 9000 out of the water.  I guess that’s what happens when you go to work then walk to and from the concert.  I was really happy that I wasn’t even winded after the walk back.  I mean, I know it was cold and we weren’t walking particularly fast, but it would have been a good couple of kilometres (maybe more).  I really do feel like I’m getting fitter, slowly but surely.  Yay!

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Screenshot of my fitness tracker prior to my walk back

Anyway, I think that about wraps up everything worth talking about.  How’s everything going with you?  Hope y’all had a good week too!

– JD

“What is Your Favourite Accessory Right Now?”

My favourite accessory at the moment is my Apple Watch.  I ordered it when it was first released and, although it isn’t perfect, I really like it.  I’ve used other smart watches and compared to them, this works a lot smoother and has a lot more features.

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There are a few reasons why I really like it (especially compared to the other ones I’ve used).

  • The Size.  The Apple Watch comes in two sizes (basically, his and hers).  I got the smaller one, so it doesn’t look giant and oversized on my wrist.  While the extra screen space would have been nice, I still find the screen usable and, for the most part, accurate.  It is still slightly bigger than your normal wristwatch (though I think that’s probably moreso because of the square shape instead of round) but it’s not anything that would give you strange looks on the street.  The same can’t be said for the previous watches I’ve used.
  • The Fitness Trackers.  This is the main reason why I wear my watch each day without fail.  The watch tracks heart rate, step count, distance walked, how many hours you’ve been standing and calories burnt.  For the most part I’ve found it accurate, aside from a bug I’ve got right now where it isn’t reflecting how long I’ve exercised for properly (though it’s tracking it properly as third-party apps that use the watch reflect it correctly.  Very weird).  I’ve always found the step count accurate, and I think the heart rate is too, although I have no way of knowing for sure.  The thing I really like about the heart rate monitor especially is that it automatically checks every ten minutes or so, and saves it into the “Heath” app, which is great if you have medical conditions (or find out about one later on).  While not 100% accurate, I’m sure it would help doctors to see that kind of stuff.
  • The Alerts.  The main reason anyone considers a smart watch over something like a Fitbit is the alerts that you can get through your phone to the watch.  This was always the downfall of other smartwatches.  It would alert you to basics and that’s it.  The Apple Watch can alert you of anything you want basically (provided the app itself supports WatchOS, and most do these days).  You can turn off what you don’t want, so you don’t get bombarded with stupid notifications you don’t need.  You can read and reply to text messages with either auto replies (that you can change via your phone) or through siri.  You can answer calls.  Yes, you speak into the watch (though I’ve found the speaker isn’t very powerful and can sometimes make hearing the other person difficult).  You can get email notifications.  You can turn off your alarm – no more racing halfway across the house because you woke up before your alarm and left your phone in your room!  I’ve never had any issues with notifications.  To use Apple’s favourite catchline – “it just works”.
  • Bluetooth Connectivity.  I’ve found this especially useful of late after starting a new job and not wanting to have my phone with me.  It has quite a good range, which means I can be several metres away from my phone without it disconnecting, even if the phone is in a different room.  I’m not sure of the exact distance, but I think it might stretch as far as 10 metres, which is pretty good!  It’s also great if your phone is going flat and you need to charge it in a different room but don’t want to miss anything or constantly have to get up and check.

These are my ultimate favourite things, but there are smaller things I love too.  It took me awhile to adjust to the interface, but once you get it down pat it’s fairly straightforward.  I have the Sport model, and the band is comfortable, although a little fiddly to get on in the morning through bleary eyes.  Once it’s on though, it stays in place and I’ve never had it undo.  I originally wanted the green band but wound up getting the white one to match more outfits.  It’s got a few little marks on it, but overall has stayed fairly clean given I’ve worn it every day.  There are about 8 different watch face layout options, which are then customisable.  Since the reason of version 2 of the software, you can chose your own background picture if you want, or you can use one of the preset ones.  There are both analogue and digital faces, and you can also add things like current temperature, moon cycle, sunrise and sunset, different timezones and how you’re tracking with your fitness goals for the day on the watchface if you don’t mind the clutter.  Overall, I’d recommend it if you’re thinking of spending some cash on a new watch or on something like a Fitbit.  It does set you back a little more, but it also gives you a lot more features.  I don’t know that I’d recommend spending big bucks on a more expensive model…I know they look a bit nicer but it is technology and technology isn’t timeless.  This is why I wound up getting the cheaper one.  It does the same job but means I won’t feel obliged to keep using it after it’s well and truly outdated.

And no, I’m not sponsored by Apple.  I wish I was.  I’d have a more blingy watch than a Sports edition!

This prompt, and may more, can be found here.

Time to Change – Day Seven

Well, it’s officially been a whole week.  I’ve surprised myself with how disciplined I’ve been.  That’s always been an issue of mine – I have no self control.  That’s not just with food either, I also burn through money given half the chance.  The amount of stuff (aka crap) I’ve bought off CatchOfTheDay over the past three years is unbelievable.  I’ve also never been very self-motivated away from work.  At work I could motivate myself to do almost anything (even waking up at 5.30am to go in and do stocktake once a month), but the second I got home, all that went out the window.  I had no motivation to cook a proper meal (hence the take away I’d get on a very regular basis) and no motivation (or energy) to exercise.  I will admit, when I eventually land another job, I’m worried I’ll fall into the same trap, but I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.  For right now, I’m sticking with this lifestyle change.

I guess the best moment I’ve had this week is checking how I tracked overall in MyFitnessPal and seeing this.


Look at that! Almost bang on target!  My calorie intake never strayed more than a couple of hundred over either, and for the most part also stayed right on the app’s recommendation.  I’m so proud of this in particular because previously when I’ve counted calories, it was always next to no protein and hugely over in carbs.  I’ve really made an effort to plan my meals and make sure I’m eating the right kinds of food and the right portions.  Like a lot of people, I really struggle with potion control, and even now I’m still adjusting to it but I think it’s getting better.

I’ve also made it a goal to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in a day.  For the most part I’ve been hitting 40 minutes, with the exception of two days where I only managed 20, but they were harder workouts.  I’ve found my Apple watch incredibly helpful with all this, as the fitness tracker in it works beautifully.  It monitors step count, calories burnt, time exercised, heart rate and distance.  I’m averaging over 3kms each day in exercise, which I know isn’t record breaking, but considering just a week ago I was lucky to make 1000 steps each day, it’s definitely an improvement.

Unfortunately the scales still aren’t being too friendly, and I’ve only lost about half a kilo, which is still better than nothing but given my weight has always fluctuated by 2 or 3kgs isn’t great.  I’m not going to let that bring me down though.  Even if the weigh only comes off slowly, it’s better than not coming off at all, and I know I’m going to feel better for the diet change and exercise anyway.

Bring on week two!

-JD