How to kill a software developer: 2000 miles of cycling

Ever see one of those charity events and think “Hey, I could do that. No problem.” Then you think about it a bit harder and realise that it’s probably not a very good idea at all?

Well, I saw a charity ride raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society and thought “Hey, I cycle 4 miles to work, I could cycle 230 miles from London to Brussels. No problem.” Then something very odd happened: My wife (destroyer of fads and disapprover of good ideas) said “Yes, you probably could.” to the surprise and shock of all involved.

230 miles? That’s not too bad?

Charlton Abbot

It works out at 75 miles each day, split over 3 days. But average folk like myself haven’t a chance in hell of getting up even the first big hill without training. 2000 miles of training, to be exact.

My nice 4 mile commute into work is now a grinding 10 mile loop of hills and back roads, which will get longer and longer until the challenge itself in September, by which point I’ll be regularly doing a commute of 25 miles and a weekend ride of 70 miles!So every weekend I’ve been panting, sweating, and wheezing dozens of miles across the Gloucestershire countryside, in the hope that at some point I’ll miraculously turn into Bradley Wiggins.

But… Why?

I’ve asked myself that more than once, believe me. To be honest there are two main reasons: A selfless one and a selfish one.

1. With one in three people over 65 developing dementia, it’s likely we’ll all know someone effected by this awful condition. The Alzheimer’s Society help people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, while also funding research to prevent it in future.

2. It’s been one of my life’s aspirations to do such an event, so I thought I’d get off my bottom and do it.

Where do I donate?

The challenge’s minimum fundraising target is £1250, half of which is due in June. So any help towards that would be greatly appreciated by both me and the charity! Here is my page on Just Giving:Me

If you live in the UK you can also donate by texting “STUU60 £2” to 70070

You can watch and/or laugh at my training progress on RunKeeper:

Thanks for reading!

How to waste time on productivity


Want to be really productive, but you’re not really keen on doing any actual work? Here are some tips on how to waste your time on productivity, rather than actually getting anything done.


Research productivity

Spend a while researching different productivity methods. Like the look of one? Do a little research into its origins.

Wikipedia is a great resource for this kind of unwork: A few minutes in and you’re already reading an article about the most notable features of an amusingly named town your new method’s inventor grew up in.

Once you’re satisfied with the inventor’s environment during his or her upbringing, you should do some research into the method itself. Does it have many rave reviews from productivity blogs? Has it been mentioned by any successful startup founders?


Try a new productivity method

Get good and hyped up about your new productivity method: Once this system is implemented it’ll be well worth the investment of time.

Methods that include some form of physical prop are by far the best kind at this stage. I mean, how can you be expected to get anything done before your method-tailored timer/notebook/guide has been delivered? Don’t worry about the price; the results will be life-changing, after all… Once you get round to ordering it.

Methods that are centred around a software package are OK, as long as they include a contrived set-up (such as retyping your entire to-do list). Applications with built-in reminder and/or deadline functions are acceptable as long as the targets you set yourself are optimistic to the point of being unachievable; allowing them to be safely ignored.


Subscribe to a productivity blog

If your new productivity method isn’t working out (or you haven’t got round to trying one), try subscribing to a productivity blog. The endless torrent of advice and reviews will keep you productively idle for many hours every week.

These blogs provide great material for filling your bookmark folders with articles for later review. You can even swamp your to-do list with droves of “must try out this new prod app…” and similar unwork tasks to provide decoys in case you later find yourself accidentally attempting to actually do any work from your to-do list.


Still looking for unwork?

Leave me a comment telling me about your best unwork tasks.