Quick trip to the Costa del Sol

Halfway through the year and time to catch a breath! A trip to Spain was the perfect opportunity to get some sunshine and relaxation time. We'd both been to the Costa del Sol before, Victoria many times more than I and can't fault it, beautiful weather, delicious Spanish food and great places to visit. We couldn't wait to get on that plane!

Estepona costline, Malaga, Spain

Estepona costline, Malaga, Spain

Turia Tostada Beer

Turia Tostada Beer

We were staying with family just outside of Estepona right on the coast in a beautiful private villa complex. It was a very peaceful area and the surrounding gardens were immaculately kept. On the first day we followed tradition and visited the local Carrefour for supplies, I absolutely love this shop, it is stacked full of amazing food and drink. We walked out with more beer than it is possible to drink in a week, all of which I had never had before. The beer was mostly macro-brewery specials but I managed to find some locally brewed craft beer from La Catarina which was the star of the show.

On the second day, I had arranged to go diving with Gibraltar Dive Charters. After having visited Gibraltar before I was desperate to get out in the bay and see some of the wrecks. Lugging all of my dive equipment from home to here was a bit of a pain, especially carrying it on the DLR(!) but I was confident it would be worth it. After turning up I discovered that my 3mm wetsuit wasn't going to cut the mustard and my lovely warm dry suit was, unfortunately, sitting in its bag at home. Luckily the dive shop offered up a thicker wetsuit and all was fine, lesson learnt! With a group of about 14 divers, we visited the SS Rosslyn and the Seven Sisters dives sites, both were interesting and worth checking out.

Northern end of the Gibraltar Rock, Gibraltar

Northern end of the Gibraltar Rock, Gibraltar

Another highlight of the trip was watching England's world cup battle against Columbia in the quarterfinals. We timed dinner perfectly to be able to watch in front of a huge screen in Jack's along the Peurto Banus marina. The game went to extra time and then penalties which thankfully we won! Peurto Banus is a place that shoudn't be missed on a trip to Marbella, it is a smaller but has a Monaco-esque vibe and plenty of super yachts and cars to match.

Puerto Banús Marina, Málaga, Spain

Puerto Banús Marina, Málaga, Spain

The Year of Smart

By this time in the year I have usually defined my list of annual goals, the things that I want to achieve over the next 12 months. Last year was reasonably successful for goals, I achieved over half and they were all good and helpful, you can read about them here 2017 & The Missing Blogs, but I felt like I was constantly looking over my left shoulder (they’re written on the whiteboard behind my desk) in shame because I knew some were unachievable. This year needed to be different, something less regimented, something that is achievable and that can encourage me to push forward in a positive way.

@geekyjames suggested that I take a listen to a podcast called Cortex, specifically this episode: Cortex #62: 2018 Yearly Themes as the hosts, CGP Grey and Make Hurley talk about productivity and annual objectives. If you haven’t listened to this before I certainly recommend it, don’t let the 97 minute run time put you off, every minute is gold. During the episode the hosts discuss Annual Themes, the concept is that instead of setting a list of specific goals (i.e. a regimented list) a theme is used as a framework to encourage direction and positive productivity. Certainly, a todo list or goal list can still exist but the theme is used to make sure that everything aligns to the ultimate objective. The yearly theme concept also allows for flexibility, I knew in August of last year that some of my goals were realistically unachievable ,and I wrote them off instead of continuing to push forward. There’s an interesting Forbes article here about themes being used in a similar way.

With some thought and reflection, I decided that 2018 would be The Year of Smart. There are a number of reasons why but the most significant are listed below:

  1. Working in the wrong way. Towards the end of 2017, I was burning myself out with work, doing too many hours, working hard but not working smart. This was a really big problem that caused a great deal of stress and affected more than just my professional life, it was (and is) at the front of my mind to resolve in 2018.
  2. Doing things that don’t need to be done. This one is difficult to quantify, but I felt that I spent a lot of time completing tasks that had little benefit, both professionally and privately. This could be as simple as going to the office when I don’t need to go to the office or going diving just to increase my dive count.
  3. Goals with no direction. Another thing I want to fix is moving in too many directions at the same time. I’m very guilty of swapping from one trend to another often without reason, for example, some months I will write lots of posts on the blog, other months I have no interest in the blog at all. Trying to funnel focus into specific areas will hopefully help with that.

It’ll be interesting to see how this makes for a different year, I’m confident and hopeful for change and am looking forward to welcoming 2018. There are some fantastic occasions that lye within, as @tigziefc and I plan our wedding, as the dog grows up and as our careers move forward - I can’t wait.

@tigziefc and Dexter at Heligan

@tigziefc and Dexter at Heligan