Author: gregkroleski

Yearly Focus

Summit Mt. Whitney: Permit Acquired

The first hurdle I faced when planning for my 2015 challenge was getting access to attempt the hike of Mt. Whitney. Like many popular hikes, there is now a permit system in place to limit the daily travelers. This is done for the safety and enjoyment of those on the trail as well as to allow for the preservation of the location. My goal was to get a permit that let me camp overnight and hike the mountain over two days – rather than attempting it in a single long day. That allows for a more leisurely pace and more enjoyable trip. The trade off is you have to carry sleeping gear. I’ve had a good bit of experience getting permits from the U.S. Parks department and learned a few tricks. They key is to make sure you are flexible, and shoot for off-peak days when possible. Early or late

Yearly Focus

Read 26 Books: Update 1

Last year I attempted to read 24 books and finished 17. This year I decided to give it another try but upped the ante to 26. I also set the requirement that 50% had to be fiction and decided that audiobooks don’t count. One week into April and I should be done with 7 books. I’ve finished 3.5. So once again I am behind. To date this year I’ve read: The Omnivore’s Dilemma Death on the Nile No Country for Old Men I am also in the middle of reading: Fluke In the midst of failure I like to focus on the small victories. I am currently reading my third fiction book which is the total I read all last year. I’m doing much better at finding fiction I enjoy and have my next few lined up already. The most difficult part of this for me is that reading isn’t my

My Thinking On Various Topics

The Best Use of Money

The idea that spending money to buy experiences rather than ‘stuff’ has been gaining mainstream momentum in America. People are realizing that there is more marginal benefit to their happiness when they allocate their dollars towards experiences (travel, entertainment, classes, adventures, etc.) rather than material goods. This is of course because most of us (certainly those I see sharing the above opinions) have surpassed the basic material needs of food & shelter. The physical goods purchased after that point have diminishing returns – at a certain point the clutter may even cause new purchases to create negative returns. I’ve been thinking on the topic of allocating money towards happiness and wanted to share my thoughts. I agree fully that experiences are a better use of money than stuff – but I see these as the first two steps of a spectrum. A spectrum that I have been able to track a bit further, though I’m not certain

My Thinking On Various Topics

Vacations as a Forcing Function

One thing I continually try to do in my career is to work myself out of a job. My goal is to move things into a state where I could step away and all of my projects would keep running. That usually means that I am then free to take on other, more challenging tasks. That is how I grow. I do this by: automating the monotonous parts building tools so others can help themselves instead of needing me delegating items where eager owners arise putting lightweight process in place to keep me out of day to day dropping anything that isn’t adding value In reality, this isn’t always easy. There are challenges that don’t go down without a fight, processes that don’t get adopted, fires that pop up and my own ego that ties me to things that should have long ago been abandoned or delegated. Vacations are a forcing function. Especially truly

Yearly Focus

Living Slower: Increasing Variance

As I try to live slower this year I’m also faced with increasing pressure to get more done at work & at home. At first I thought these were opposing forces, but as I’ve been contemplating on it I no longer believe that has to be the case. When we talk about pace we often think about the mean (average). The thing that doesn’t take into account is variance – the spread between the data points that make up that average. Variance Here is a great illustration of variance that shows two cases – each with the same total & same mean. The one that is more spread out in its distribution has more variance. For me, life started to feel a bit like that dark green cluster – always moving at a similar pace. Low variance. At work I have a lot to get done, then I come home and

Yearly Focus

Living Slower: The First Hour of the Day

In 2015 I have committed myself to the theme of living slower. This involves me spending time thinking about what that means, putting it into practice and sharing my learnings. This is the first update in that theme. Good Morning The first hour of the day sets the tone for each that follows it. In seeking to live slowly, the way we approach the moments after we wake are among the most important. For many of us, our days start with a jarring introduction of the infinite. The moment after our eyes open, they turn to a glowing screen that waited patiently for us while we slept. We begin to catch up – reading emails, text messages and social updates, before we’ve gotten out of bed, and as such we dive into the day’s issues like a plunge into icy water. It is hard to find peace in the morning

Yearly Focus

2015: Goal, Theme & Challenge

For the last two years I’ve blogged about a efforts I’ve decided to take on during the new year. I’ve enjoyed this activity. It helps me strive to complete things that I think are important or interesting but more importantly it give me focus by allowing me to say ‘no’ to other things. After two years of this process I’ve learned a few things that I want to account for in my third year. This will dramatically impact how I spend my year. In 2014 I decided to train for an Ironman. That ended up being how I spent almost all of my free time. In some regards this is great because it allowed me to focus for a single year and achieve a solid result. I couldn’t have done that if I had split my time between multiple activities. But, now that I realize this, it is important for me to take

Yearly Focus

2014: Goal, Theme & Challenge – Review

At the beginning of 2014 I wrote about my goal, theme and challenge for the year. I’ve posted a few updates throughout the year but want to take some time now to do a final review. 2014 Goal: Read 24 Books Self Grade: 7/10 My goal was to read 24 books – I finished at 17. I had hoped to cover 12 fiction and 12 non-fiction. I actually read 3 fiction and 14 non-fiction. I also got 50 hours through the 60 hours of Les Miserables. I started the year off doing pretty well. I cruised through the first 8 books, thanks largely to utilizing audiobooks. I hit a rut in the summer when I stopped listening to audiobooks as I trained and got stalled in the paper books I was reading. That resulted in months of no progress. I eventually got back in the habit though & finished strong by

Yearly Focus

Read 24 Books: Update 4

We are now in December and I’ve only finished 13 books. I don’t think I’m going to be able to hit the goal 100%, but maybe if I push to the finish I can at least clear the 2/3 mark. I was falling behind in the Fall & hoped that after my Ironman in September I would be able to catch up. The Ironman got cancelled though and I registered for a new race in November. That meant a few more months of training and a shorter window of post race time in which to read more. Time to push to the finish line. To date this year I’ve read: The Millionaire Next Door* David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants* The Joy of Less The 4-Hour Workweek* The Art of War* Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring The 7 Habits of Highly Effective

Yearly Focus

Complete an Ironman: Finished – Race Report

This is one of 14 updates about my 2014 challenge to complete an Ironman – you can see a list of the others here. I did it. I can now call myself an Ironman. What did the right to that title cost me? $6,000, 4,000 miles over 450 hours of training, 25 lbs, one toenail & 100+ hours of research. All of that and a grueling day that tested every fiber of my body & mind. My finish time of 11:01:10 put me in 277th out of 2,390 total finishers (not counting 248 DNFs). I was also 15th out of 112 in my division (excluding 5 DNFs). All & all I was faster than about 90% of people out there on race day. My goal was to win my age group and I missed that by a significant margin. To be honest though, I set that as a goal knowing it