Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201702

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Personal Update 201702 | 11 February 2017 | Saturday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Work-Life: More Quality, Less Quantity

 

In my work-life over the past 30 years, what has always driven me is the desire to help as many people as possible. Not for the sake of greater earnings, but in seeking greater positive impact. In fact, when I get really busy, with so many support requests in a day, I often don’t have time to bill out all my time. There are just too many emails, text messages, phone calls, and other encounters to keep track of and not enough time in the day to generate invoices. So, typically only the more time consuming support calls are billed out.

I’ve rarely said ‘no’ to a support request. During times of peak demand, this means staying up late and cutting back on my personal life to keep up with the needs of others.

I’ve looked at time tracking apps that might help in this regard, and began using one of the best available. Yet, even the most efficient of these creates administrative overhead and a costly drain on time. I found that I’d rather just skip billing people, and move on to help the next person in need.

With this in mind, one of my goals this year is to help fewer people and spend more quality time with each one.

As a result, here’s what I hope to have time for in the year ahead:

  • More time for training courses that are free and open to the public on topics such as photography, web design, mobile device best practices, and how to purchase a computer.
  • More time for providing one-on-one proactive support, regular maintenance, and personalized training.
  • More time on each service call going beyond quick solutions to offer an expanded multi-point check-up.
  • More time to offer ‘courtesy’ services for customers such as picking up needed supplies rather than having them do it.
  • More time to provide reminders of upcoming meetings, follow-up after service calls, and periodically check-in with customers to see how they are getting along.
  • More time to write extensive tech support articles in responses to the questions I’m getting from people — especially when existing online resources are limited or unhelpful.
  • More time to write how-to guides such as, how to setup a new Windows 10 computer or Apple computer.
  • More time to research, resolve, and document problem solutions. In the past, such articles offer unique resolutions that aren’t found anywhere else, and as such, these articles end up having thousands of readers worldwide.
  • More time to do research on a variety of products and write articles that serve as consumer buying guides.

 

In addition to the tech support related items listed above, I’m also interested in expanding on my consumer advocacy work, photography, music composition, public speaking, and pursuing my wellness goals.

As you can see, there’s a lot I want to bring back into my regular monthly schedule.

Wellness Goals and Strategy

This month I’m expanding my wellness goals. I’ve been committing to a daily workout that includes 20 minutes of strength training, a 20 minute elliptical cardio workout, and about 20 minutes of bike riding. This month, I want to add back into my daily routine a 20 minute morning yoga and meditation practice along with a 20 minute walk-hike each morning. I’m hopeful this additional activity will help me reach my overall wellness goals faster.

For the past few years I’ve been using an Internet-connected scale that measures body weight and body fat. The scale can upload the data to an online service where it can be displayed in table or chart format. However, these systems are becoming less reliable due to massive global hacking of Internet connected devices. There are now delays, sometimes of several days, before data shows up online. This could be due to security countermeasures in place. Whatever the cause, these expensive devices become less useful if the data no longer shows up online in realtime.

This month I’m switching back to using a more sophisticated full-body composition analysis system that measures body weight, percent body fat, percent of body weight that is water, percent body weight that is muscle, BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), bone density (bone weight), and visceral fat rating. This data is used to calculate overall physical fitness (on a scale from 1-9) as well as Metabolic Age. By collecting this data daily, it’s possible to more precisely map and track progress.

Photography

Each week I post some of my favorite photos from the week in a series of weekly Featured Photos. In recent weeks, these photos have all been taken with my iPhone 7 Plus. In the future, I hope to get back to taking higher quality photos with some of my other cameras.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

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Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201701

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Personal Update 201701 | 17 January 2017 | Tuesday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Cold Weather Bicycling

For many years I was a year-round cyclist. Then after spending two years living and working downtown in Iowa City, I stopped riding as much. After that, since the summer of 2011, living on a bus route made it tempting to just let someone else do the driving on rainy days or during cold icy snowstorms. So, I transitioned to becoming a recreational fair-weather cyclist.

Heading into this winter, I decided to return to bicycling year-round. This required outfitting my bicycle with some special modifications. [Read More]

We Need Better Methods of Activism

As a teenager, I became aware of leaders and role models who were influencers for social good: Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Nader, and others before them like Gandhi.

It seems that the more successful activists chose peaceful and creative ways to get their message across and build public support for their message.

Today there’s a troubling rise of confrontational and violent activism among right wing and left wing activists. I’m concerned that civility and some important social values may get lost in the noise.

With that in mind, I wrote Counterproductive Activism: How Direct Action Protests Could Harm the Progressive Movement in America. It’s an essay about how peaceful and respectful freedom of expression is more effective for anyone trying to get a message across. [Read More]

The Year Ahead

We we’re moving into a new year, I’m reflecting on last year and planning ahead for how I can be more effective at everything I’m doing. My main focus this coming year will be to continue to refine and improve my technology consulting business, as well as staying focused on health and wellness.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201612

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Personal Update 201612 | 03 December 2016 | Saturday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Wellness

Over the past month I’ve been settling into a good workout program of walking, biking, strength training, and elliptical workouts. I’m using an Apple Watch now to track my workouts which is a great tool since it has GPS mapping for tracking routes, and monitors heart rate to determine the intensity of workouts. Each morning, I lift 7,700 pounds (calculated by totaling reps and sets).

Thanksgiving

Although Thanksgiving was a few days ago, I wanted to share this message I posted to Facebook about gratitude, along with the photo I posted with it.

Thanksgiving is a National Day of Gratitude, yet comes at a time when the skies are gray, the days are short, the weather is cold, the flowers are gone, the fields are dry, and the warmth and light of the sun are hidden. Most of us don’t have a big year-end harvest to appreciate. It’s easy to give thanks on a bright sunny warm summer day, but what about now? Perhaps it’s a good thing that Thanksgiving comes at this time of year. We need to grow our gratitude and give thanks even when the things we’re thankful for aren’t easy to see ‘low hanging fruit’ but the fruit of much labor and those things that are hidden from our sight. Most of the ‘things’ we’re thankful for aren’t things at all: family, friends, health, education, career, love, forgiveness, a positive outlook on life. I’m grateful to have a day set aside to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

20161124th-thankgiving-message-photo

Photography Secret

If you’ve been following my posts on Facebook, then you’ve seen some of my recent photography. Here’s a post I shared a few days ago about my nature photography.

People ask me about my photography – What’s my secret… what special camera do I use, what lenses, filters, software, tripods, etc. You might be surprised to learn that the quality and beauty of my nature photography has nothing to do with me or the equipment I use. Most of my photos are taken using a smartphone in auto mode. Sometimes I’ll add a lux effect. However, what really makes these photos possible is the following… In Iowa City and the surrounding area communities, there’s a commitment to preserving natural habitats, neighborhood parks, green spaces, trails, wetlands, prairies, parks, lakes, reservoirs, streams, rivers and many other spaces for wildlife and people to enjoy. Without a commitment to natural preservation, there’s no camera or photographer in the world who could capture these images because they wouldn’t exist. Think about that for a moment. Want to contribute to my photography? Donate to an organization that preserves natural habitats.

Writing

This month I shared a little bit about how having a personal blog has influenced my writing style. You might find that article interesting.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201611

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Personal Update 201611 | 6 November 2016 | Sunday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update. As you’ll notice, this month’s newsletter is going out at the beginning of the month rather than the end of the month.

Website Redesign

I recently changed the theme of my website from Twenty Fourteen to Karuna which is a more modern yet simplistic theme.

On the home page, I now have three big buttons for the primary reasons people are contacting me: tech support, website design, and tiny houses. That way, when people land on my site they can quickly get to what they are wanting.

I really like the Karuna theme because it allows for full-width pages without a right column or left column with widgets. The entire page can be filled with the content of an article, photos, or embedded videos. With the Twenty Fourteen theme, and others, the content of a page is typically limited to a relatively narrow column of text, even when the right and left columns are removed. I like the clean presentation that allows a reader to focus on the writing without distractions.

No More Weekends, Just ‘Weekly Beginnings’

The idea of the weekend is embedded in our culture and is particularly significant for those working a normal Monday through Friday work week. The rationale is that we put in our work efforts during the week, and get a brief respite on Saturday and Sunday to unwind. Although for many people, the weekends are a time to catch up on everything at home you didn’t get done during the week.

Years ago, I embraced the idea of Saturday being the first day of the week rather than the last. That may seem like an inconsequential shift, but given the day’s significance in many religions and cultures, it can actually be a big change. According to some traditions, Saturday is a very significant day of rest. The world is said to have been created in 6 days, “and on the seventh day G-d rested.” There’s a lesson in that. Get your work done, and then rest.

So, in contrast to what popular culture would tell us, I began to think of the weekend as a day of restful preparation for the week ahead. Instead of collapsing on the weekend, and trying to decompress from a busy week, I began to think of Saturday morning as a brand new beginning of a new week.

The calendar on my computer shows the week beginning with Saturday and Sunday. My iPhone, iPad, and other devices also have the week beginning with Saturday as the first day.

This change in thinking is important to me because I like the idea of being forward thinking and beginning from a place of peace and rest before working. This isn’t a matter of putting rest before work, but of putting thought and reflection before work — creating a time of renewal and planning. It’s like starting the day with meditation and exercise, before trying to take on any big projects.

What happens when you make this mind shift is that you plan your weekend as a time of preparation for the week to come, rather than cleanup from the week that just was. You begin to think of things you can do, preventative and proactive things, for the week ahead. This is part of the reason for me wanting to send my newsletter out at the beginning of the month rather than the end of the month.

This mindset is part of a broader philosophy of living for one’s ‘future self.’

Don’t Live in the Past, Don’t Live in the Present, Live in the Future

A popular theme in self realization books is to emphasize the importance of living in the present. People regret the past, yet there’s nothing they can do to change it. They fear for the future, yet it’s a fear of things that haven’t happened. So, if we live in the present moment, which is all we really have, then, presumably we can be at peace and not miss the good things in our life.

Here’s the problem with that kind of thinking. Taken too far, it causes people not to give sufficient planning to the future. It causes people not to reflect on the past, and think about what they could do differently to improve the future.

In reality, we really should live simultaneously in the past, present, and future. Yet, the most important of these is the future.

Think about it. If you focus most of your thoughts and actions around what you can do right now, to make your life better in the future, then you will perpetually be walking into a tomorrow that is better than it might otherwise have been because you prepared for it today.

Here are some examples:

  • Exercise. Some exercise is enjoyable in the moment, but sometimes we’re just doing it because we know we should. During those times when it’s uninteresting, it’s an example of choosing to sacrifice in the moment so your future self can be more healthy.
  • Food. Have you even denied yourself some culinary treat because of the calories? That’s a decision to forgo some delicious experience in the moment, so your future self isn’t growing in size at an alarming rate.
  • Savings. Have you ever decided not to buy something you wanted, so you could save up for a rainy day? That’s telling your present self to give up something for your future self.
  • Time. There are a lot of ways we can spend time that serves no purpose in the present, but serves a future need. Setting out clothes at night for the next day is an example. If you take vitamins, consider having those ready to go the night before.

Imagine going through a day with a full-time assistant helping you out. Someone who would have everything prepared for you ahead of time before you need it. You can be your own assistant by doing things ahead of time that are helpful when you need them. That’s the principle behind living in the future.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201610

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Personal Update 201610 | 31 October 2016 | Monday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Wellness

I’m getting closer to reaching my various wellness goals. This month I lifted over 93,000 pounds cumulatively and walked over 228,000 steps climbing 451 floors. Today my blood sugar was at 100, and my blood pressure remains at about 120/80 while resting. I’ve been spending more time on my bike and enjoying nature hikes with Makur. So, the benefits are showing.

Photography

We recently upgraded our phones from the 2-year-old iPhone 6 Plus to the iPhone 7 Plus. With the new camera features in the iPhone 7 Plus, I’m getting a renewed interest in taking photos and sharing them. Mostly I share them through Instagram and Facebook, but I hope to return to sharing my ‘photos of the week’ as I did in the past.

I wrote an article about buying the right camera where you can see some of my recent photos with explanations about which camera was used to take the picture and why. Be sure to check that out.

Activism

I’m continuing with my pursuit of public interest work and service projects. One area of interest is architecture and urban planning. In that regard, I’ve been producing regular podcast audio conversations with City Councilman Rockne Cole of Iowa City through my IowaCityArchitecture.com organization. You can find the podcasts at SoundCloud.com/IowaCityArchitecture.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201609

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Personal Update 201609 | 29 September 2016 | Thursday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Career

My consulting business continues to expand. I’m gaining new clients and still working with some who I’ve served for decades. These days I’m mostly providing tech support and also offering website development consulting and services. Over the past two weeks I’ve been working on two fairly large website redesign projects that I’m excited about. I continue to enjoy working as an authorized Apple repair technician part time.

Wellness

As we head into fall, the weather is more conducive to enjoyable bike riding and walking so I’m enjoying getting out more as well as continuing with my strength training program at the gym. For years I’ve been using a spreadsheet in my iPhone to track my weight lifting. It helps me keep track of my progress. I use the Apple Numbers program, along with the integrated form feature for data entry and drop-down options. This makes it easy to quickly enter strength exercises.

This past month, I’ve lifted over 94,000 pounds, and since I started going back to the gym regularly in April, I’ve lifted over 1 million pounds. This total is calculated by adding up each weight lifted by the number of times it was lifted. I’m looking forward to increasing how much I lift each month.

Here’s an example of what the entry system looks like.

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Here’s a quick review of how it works:

  • Entry. Touch Entry to see the above screen that lets you enter information using a form-like presentation.
  • Sheet. Touch Sheet to view a spreadsheet presentation of the data.
  • Total Entries. The number above ‘815 of 815’ is a count of the total entries in the database.
  • Date / Time. The full date and time are shown above. To enter this information each time, you simply touch the time and press the ‘Now’ button to enter the current date and time, or enter any other date and time you wish.
  • Activity. This is a drop-down menu of the type of exercise you’re doing. You can easily add items to this list in the Sheet view, by selecting the column, choosing format, and selecting the Drop-Down option. This saves a lot of time because you don’t need to type each activity repeatedly.
  • Weight. This is the amount of weight lifted.
  • Reps. This is how many times you’ve lifted the weight.
  • Sets. This number represents how many times, if any, that  you repeat this activity in a given workout session.
  • Total. This number is the total amount lifted which is equal to (weight) x (reps) x (sets).
  • Location. This is the gym or location where you did the exercise. This can be relevant if one gym has a different weight machine that requires a slightly different adjustment for the weight. For example, a chest press machine at one gym may be set at 200 pounds but to get the same resistance at another gym you might set it to 180. It depends on how the belts and pulleys are configured. Knowing the location and weight from last time can help determine what weight you should lift the next time.
  • Notes. This is a field for entering additional notes.

I’m using similar spreadsheets for tracking my weight, car mileage, and other data. What I like about the system is that it’s easy to setup and customize depending on the need, and it’s built on Apple’s own Numbers spreadsheet software that works on all iPhone, iPad, iPod, and desktop computers, as well as on the web at iCloud.com using their cloud apps. The form entry feature only works in the iOS version.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201608

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Personal Update 201608 | 31 August 2016 | Wednesday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Career

This summer I studied to become certified with Apple as a qualified repair technician. So, I’m now officially certified by Apple — which is an exciting accomplishment. I’m  one of two authorized repair technicians at the University of Iowa supporting thousands of Apple users. Since Apple computers are so reliable, the job is only part time, so the rest of the time, I continue staying quite busy with my consulting business. One of the highlights of the University work is having an opportunity to work in one of the best repair centers in our region under one of the best operations managers and business leaders I know.

Wellness

As mentioned previously, my primary focus these days is losing weight and maintaining optimal health. Over the past month I’ve been eating a high protein and low carb diet, and combine bicycle riding with weight lifting for a good overall workout. This month, I added elliptical and more walking in addition to bicycling and strength training.

Small Houses

This month I gave another talk on tiny house living, this time at the Marion Public Library. There was a good turnout. This is the fourth talk I’ve given in our area recently about small houses.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201607

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Personal Update 201607 | 31 July 2016 | Sunday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Technology Consulting

My consulting business continues to keep me  busy. This past week I had an interview with our local Fox News affiliate regarding email security. In the past my media interviews have been mostly related to the small house movement, so it’s nice to get more requests for technical commentary.

Wellness Focus

My primary focus these days is on losing weight and maintaining optimal health. Over the past month I’ve been eating a high protein and low carb diet, and combine bicycle riding with weight lifting for a good overall workout. I created a YouTube video that explains my strength training workout.

Small Houses

This month I gave a talk about tiny houses at the Cedar Rapids Public Library. We had a lot of people come out for the event. It was my first visit to the new library, which is an absolutely beautiful building with wonderful resources and a coffee shop inside. When leaving, I was able to take a photo at sunset of the building. Because of the lighting, the photo ended up looking sort of fake (in a nice way) – like one of those artists architectural renderings. Here’s the photo (click for a larger view).

20160719-cedar-rapids-public-library

 

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201606

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Personal Update 201606 | 30 June 2016 | Thursday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Bicycle Riding

At the start of June, we had a trailer hitch put on our car to accommodate a bicycle rack. So, now I’ve been driving around with my bicycle on the back of the car. With so many trails around the Iowa City area, I’m able to get in a short bike ride between appointments or after my workout at the gym. Having the bicycle rack on the car allows me to visit trails in the Iowa City area that I might not otherwise get to. I’m able to enjoy more riding.  I created a YouTube video about the Küat bicycle rack.

Wellness Focus

I’m continuing my focus on exercise, fitness, and wellness. Over the past month I’ve been eating a high protein and low carb diet, and combined bicycle riding and weight lifting for a good overall workout. I created a YouTube video that explains my strength training workout.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 15 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201605

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Personal Update 201605 | 31 May 2016 | Tuesday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Wellness Focus

About a month ago, I started going to the gym daily. I returned to the weight lifting and strength training program that I had been following about 12 years ago. I’m really feeling the benefits of that. I’ve also continued with walking and hiking.

Digital Sandcastles

An article I wrote recently addresses the topic of how to have ongoing access to older achieved data files. There’s a problem when the software or online services we rely on are no longer supported. If you’re interested in the topic, you can read the article, “Sandcastles: Online Digital and Social Media Equity Continuously Eroded.”

Small House Workshop

I’ll be giving a presentation about the small house movement on June 14 at Prairiewoods. Attend if you’re interested and please share. [Read More]

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 15 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.