It’s now confirmed – i’ll be skydiving on Sunday (2 days away) if all goes according to plan. It’s been over a year since i first mentioned the idea but this will FINALLY be one thing i can stroke off my long term – ‘to do’ list.
I had always planned on skydiving this summer, but things ran slightly over schedule so it was a case of now or never as i didn’t want to leave it any longer.
I’m looking forward to it. Not nervous yet and i probably won’t be until i actually get up there… maybe i won’t be nervous at all… it’s hard to visualize the situation, but being that high up i honestly don’t think i’ll ‘fear’ jumping…
Were it from a skyscraper or something it’d be different. A bungee jump with cement below you would be very different… but at 10k+ feet up i’ll be lucky if i can even see the ground with our overcast weather
It’s a tandem jump, which means i’ll be attached to a pro. I could have done a regular jump, but i wouldn’t get to freefall which apparently is the best part… Anyway, expect a big detailed post here on Sunday evening after i get back (if i get back!).
This is a once in a lifetime type thing and i’ll probably enjoy it, say i’ll do it again but never actually will… so i’ll be doing my best to describe it in detail and take everything in. I’ll have pictures and possibly video too.
I used to post some desktop spot check snaps a while back every month. Not sure why i stopped – i suppose i just sort of ‘forgot’ about them. Here’s a snapshot i’ve taken a few minutes ago…
Anyway, my desktop is much more cluttered and messy these days than it normally is. That’s largely down to college work. I also have a lot of email / phone conversations these days relating to projects and web stuff so i’m constantly jotting down notes and ‘to do’ lists.
As much as i love working without pen and paper, other people aren’t as digitized as myself so if i were to record everything online or in a text file, i’d have to type it up as i talk on the phone or else summarize an email etc… that’s too much work so i cave in and use pen and paper
I keep a big stack of A4 paper in my printer at all times and about 1000 small ‘post it’ notes. I also have about 10+ pens on hand too. As you can tell i like to ‘overkill’ things and make sure that if i need to write something down there’s ALWAYS a pen and paper at hand.
I don’t know why it is, but i always seem to get more done when i’m under pressure. Right now i have some college work to do and print off, this blog post, another blog post on theleavingcert.com, small jobs on 2 different client sites and then i have to catch up on some emails.
I have less than an hour to do it all, but i’m not sweating… i know i’ll get it all done because i’m under pressure to get it all done. If i don’t get my college work done and printed, i’ll take it to bed with me and do a bit on my netbook, or i’ll spend a bit of time in the morning working on it…
When i enter that class tomorrow though it’ll be done to a reasonable standard and i can trust myself like that. I think one of the reasons why i work best when i’m busy is because i have so much to do my mind wanders, but it wanders back and forth between other work – i don’t get distracted easily.
So it’s pretty rare i’ll complete one job in one go if i have many on. I’ll do bits and pieces on all of them until eventually i’m left with nothing. If i just have one project to focus on, theoretically it sounds good, but i find in reality i get much less done as instead of my mind wandering to other work, it wanders to non-work stuff like getting sucked in to twitter of facebook etc…
One of the reasons why i blog so late at night is because it means i’m thinking about what i’ll blog about all day. So if i get bored working on something during the day, i’ll start thinking about what i want to blog about. So rather than waste that ‘bored’ time, i’m actually using it productively.
The main problem with that however is that i constantly need work and different projects to feed my mind. It’s a constant battle to try and balance work and play and to know when i’m doing too much of either. But it’s a battle i enjoy and i’m happy so long as i’m productive.
Windows 7 launches 1 month from today. A new operating system for most of us means getting that new, lean, mean feeling back.
The switch to windows 7 will be a big one for me. I’ll not only be switching to 7, but i’ll be switching from 32 bit to 64 bit – opening the door for more RAM. As i write this post, i’m using 1.9 of my 3 GB’s and that’s with my ‘regular’ apps open.
As soon as i install Windows 7, i’ll have 25% more RAM available to me (as i have 4 gigs currently installed, but 32bit Vista can only read 3 gigs). However, i also plan to completely re-organise EVERYTHING whilst i’m at it.
Music, videos, documents, design work… i have plenty of it and although i like to keep things relatively clean and tidy on my PC, things could be much more organised. So i intend to buy another internal hard drive to double or triple the 500GB’s of space i already have.
In total, i have about 500gigs of stuff scattered across my netbook, external hard drive and desktop, but ideally i’d like to keep everything in the one spot (and have it well organized). I really can’t afford to have my desktop PC out of action for more than a day or two, so in order to make the move to 7, i’ll have to start planning NOW and moving things around NOW.
I can then just wipe my hard-drive, install another and install a fresh version of 7 when it arrives. Loading everything back on and installing applications is the hard / time consuming part, but it will be worth it!
It will give me a new injection of life as everything will feel faster and easier to use
I learned a long time ago that stats don’t mean a whole lot and for every minute you spend analyzing them, it’s a minute you could be spending trying to improve them. So i deliberately try to avoid studying them in too much detail, even though it’s great to look back and see where you’ve gone right or wrong.
In 2006, i started theleavingcert.com – my first website. That was quickly followed by this blog and many more. Last year, i decided to sell theleavingcert.com – i’d had enough of it… i didn’t really have the interest or knowledge to maintain it.
It didn’t sell, despite getting a bit of interest and a few low offers (much lower than what i thought it was worth at the time). Potential is an overused word but a year ago, i felt theleavingcert.com had great potential.When i first started it, i wanted it to become the no.1 leaving cert site in the country. It quickly rose through the ranks in google and i made several sweeping changes to do what i thought was the right thing in order to take it on further.
Just last month, i added a new theme, designed a new logo and generally gave the site a bit of a facelift. It’s no coincidence that since then, traffic has gone up and i’ve got several inquiries from various different types of people wanting to write for us.
Right now, we’re no.2 in google.com for ‘leaving cert’ – behind only the mighty wikipedia. In google.ie, we’re no.1. So we’ve over-taken government websites, national newspapers & various businesses in this market who were probably around before i was born.
“So what?” you’ll say. Well, i’ve completed a personal mission to outrank every single leaving cert site in the country. That was goal no.1 when i created the site back in 2006. It’s taken a long time but these things do.
Here are some interesting stats from Jan 2008 – September 21st 2008 and then from January this year up until today (same time frame, different years).
In 2008, my analytics code went missing for about 2 months, so that’s why the graphs are flat in parts on the top screenshot. Still, it gives you an idea of just how much theleavingcert.com has grown. Traffic has basically tripled.
And it’s not just any old traffic – look at the average time on site or bounce rate – both extremely low for a blog (which is good). The reason for that is because almost 90% of theleavingcert.com’s traffic comes from search engines – so it’s highly targeted. People who come to our site, want to be on it – they know what it’s about and looking at the stats, they’re reasonably happy / interested in it – they don’t just click through and close it straight away.
Anyway, that’s just one example of where my time goes and why i keep saying i’m busy, i’m working, i’m trying to save time, trying to increase work rate etc… these sites don’t magically run themselves or take a notion to start competing with other related sites in search engines. I get the impression a lot of people just think stuff ‘happens’ when you click a few buttons or add a bit of code to your site…
Bottom line – if you want traffic, you have to work for it. If you want to sustain or improve traffic you have to work twice as hard. Same goes for SEO and just about everything else. It’s not a short term thing, but keep plugging away and the rewards will come. If they don’t, just keep trying and waiting The secret to success is work rate.