I’ve been busier over the last two years than I’ve ever been. That’s mostly due to a project I’ve been focused on that often takes me well beyond the normal 8 hour work day. Thankfully, it is nearing its end, but I’m still quite busy and often get home from work late. And once I get home, I usually eat dinner and write something for this site. It’s been a vicious cycle that hasn’t been kind to me physically. Add in a fair amount of time on the road and there’s been enough of a toll taken that it’s time for some real changes.
So something has to change, but the question has been what. I’m not leaving my job. This was never on the table. I feel confident that my workload will decrease to a more reasonable level in the coming months. Also, I actually like the work and I’m good at it. And I knew what I was signing up for with this project, so I can’t say I didn’t have a role in how the last two years have played out, either. I knew it would be tough going in.
There are other strengths to my job, as well. I work in a very stable industry and the company I work for is owned by a couple of family members, so with that and the combination of my strong performance, I have enviable job security. I’m paid well enough that my family of five isn’t struggling and I have good benefits considering this is a small to medium-sized business. This isn’t a job to walk away from.
Leaving this writing gig behind was a consideration for a while, as well. I get paid a small, but reasonable amount for writing here, but it isn’t money that I couldn’t afford to leave behind. However, that pay is usually put right back into purchasing the devices and accessories that I review. Most of the things I cover here aren’t provided. I purchase the majority of them myself. That means I definitely wouldn’t be able to keep up with the latest in Apple gear and mobile technology if I walked away.
Paid writing jobs covering tech don’t grow on trees, especially ones with site owners who are a pleasure to work with and who trust me to write what I prefer with very little intervention. Like my day job, this isn’t something that would be easily replaced if I left. That’s a big reason why I decided to stick with it, even when my time to do the wok has been more limited over the last two years.
So there just aren’t that many hours left in most days between work, family, writing, eating and sleeping. Between the lack of time and mental drain, this has resulted in too little physical activity this year. My day job actually kept me on my feet a lot last year, so my health was pretty stable. This year has been different, as my role on this project has transitioned more to management tasks and programming. This more sedentary work day has definitely taken a toll.
If I wasn’t willing to leave writing behind, I knew I needed to combine that time with a way to be more consistently active. The first thing I decided to try was purchasing a nice recumbent exercise bike with a substantial desk attachment. This will allow me to spend my time writing for this site somewhere besides a desk or on my bed.
The bike desk comes from Sunny Health and Fitness and I was able to purchase it from Amazon last week. It arrived a few days ago and I was finally able to assemble it yesterday afternoon. I have to say that I’m thrilled with the purchase so far.
I researched bike desks for a while, and this is the heaviest and most stable one that I’ve found. It will hold up to 350 pounds (thankfully I’m nowhere near that weight) and all of the components seem solid and like they will last. Most of the competing products were much lighter and smaller and many had poor reviews talking about failures after a few months of use.
Another major selling point was the desk attachment. It’s adjustable, it can hold 20 pounds, and it is over 17” wide, giving me enough room for any device.Most of the competing products I looked into had much smaller desk attachments. It is also removable if it isn’t needed.
If I want to work off of the desk, I can easily use my 15” Lenovo laptop and mouse. I wrote most of this article with my iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard while cycling yesterday and it was effortless. There is plenty of room on the desk. I was able to set it at the right height for comfort. The pedaling is quiet and the bike doesn’t wobble at all, making typing very easy. These were all issues raised with other cheaper and flimsier bikes that I researched.
I was also able to watch some streaming video from HBO Max as I rode and wrote. That’s a great time killer right there. I like having something on in the background while I write. It may be a movie that I know and don’t have to pay full attention to, or it may be music that I like. I just like there to be something happening to fill the silence. Also, having the desk so I can watch something I’m into is perfect for when I ride when not writing. I definitely want a distraction then to make the time pass a little faster.
I made it for 75 minutes and registered 18 miles on the bike’s computer yesterday. It’s a start. I used to bike all the time when I was younger and would often knock out 20 to 30 miles in an evening, so I do think I can keep this up and more. I used my Apple Watch’s Workouts app on Indoor Cycling mode and will be tracking my progress with it as I go. I plan to use my Watch and this new bike to start losing weight and getting into a little better physical condition. After that, it will time to start hitting the weights, as well.
This is just a first step, but I made a substantial commitment in purchasing this bike. It was by far the most expensive of the ones I researched, but it was also the most substantial and the only one that didn’t have a significant number of negative reviews. Hopefully it will hold up for the long haul and using it will allow me to shed some excess weight.
So I will keep you all posted on my progress. It’s about time that I started putting my Apple Watch to better use than just telling time and checking notifications.