in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #177 — Teenagers

A regular week with plenty to do. I managed to steer clear of the gory details of the Conservative Party leadership contest, avoiding the live TV debates and catching up with the news and hot-takes “in a specific and limited way”. Given that the myriad of candidates to be our next Prime Minister will be whittled down to two by their fellow Tory MPs and then voted on by the 200,000 party members, I don’t understand why we are having TV debates at all. It’s incredibly depressing that one of these will be our next leader; it’s like the country is waiting for sentencing after being found guilty of committing a crime.

A lot of thought and discussion focused on Monday and Tuesday next week, where we are expecting to see the highest ever recorded temperatures in the UK. Dark, foreboding emails from the train companies about reduced services, bent rails and trackside fires have torpedoed any ideas I had of going into the office to enjoy the air conditioning. So far I haven’t seen any reports of wildfires here in the UK but it wouldn’t be a shock if they occurred; the countryside looks properly parched at the moment.

I’m enjoying work, but seem to have a chronic feeling of every day being too short for what I wanted to get done. I’m sure it’s always been like this, but for some reason the feeling has become more acute over the past couple of years.

At the weekend, our eldest boy was away doing his expedition for his silver Duke of Edinburgh award and his younger brother turned 13. It was strange celebrating without both of them being there. This now means that we have two teenagers in the house, which feels like another life milestone that we’ve reached.

A week in which I:

  • Was so sad to hear that we will be closing one of our offices. Although I never made it there for a visit, I’ve made many friends there through working with the team as we rolled out our new IT infrastructure. It’s going to be a shame to say goodbye.
  • Spent time playing with ideas for a digital literacy programme that I am planning to get off the ground in the second half of this year. I’m very much at the ‘discover’ phase of the Double Diamond, gathering and ordering ideas that I hope to shape into something structured. The work has spurred some great discussions already, some of which I need to turn into blog posts in order to clarify my thinking.
  • Showed someone how to post an announcement on Teams.It has made me realise how much additional benefit we can still get from the tools we have already deployed.
  • Installed the digital signage player to drive the looooong monitor in our office. It took some fiddling to get the Raspberry Pi to drive the screen at an appropriate resolution but it’s now looking great. I have it running live Bloomberg TV from YouTube, a fancy world clock that I forked and tweaked on codepen.io and a beautiful weather display from Meteoblue. We’re due to get all of the others installed in the next week or two.
  • Wrote up instructions for on-boarding new digital signage players so that colleagues in other offices can get started when their devices arrive.
  • Reviewed the latest iteration of our audio/visual vision document with our AV service provider and agreed next steps.
  • Met with our landlord and our Head of Legal to discuss next steps for an additional Internet Service Provider connection to our office. Of all the countries we operate in, London is by far the most difficult for getting this kind of work done due to the need to get a wayleave in place.
  • Enjoyed an internal Learning Hour session hosted by three members of the team who took us through the work they have been doing on a new internal product.
  • Took part in our monthly risk review meeting.
  • Joined our bi-monthly information risk meeting.
  • Prepped for, and then ran, a school Pay Committee meeting. We have them at least once a year and then on an as-needed basis which meant I was a little out of practice. I’ve now got to find some time to write up the minutes.
  • Assisted with updating a school policy. PDF Expert on the iPad is a great tool for concatenating two PDFs.
  • Had fun taking my son and a few of his friends to TeamSport Karting in Dunstable for his 13th birthday. It wasn’t cheap, but after two years of no parties at all it felt as though we were making up for lost time. They all seemed to love it. The venue wasn’t brilliant — all of the track marshals seemed to be on a go slow, meaning that every little crash took an age to resolve — but we had fun all the same.
  • Popped down to my aunt and uncle’s house near Romsey for lunch with my mum’s side of our family, including my lovely nan that I haven’t seen in a very long time. Another aunt and uncle are visiting from Australia and it was great to see them too.
  • Had the news that my bike is no longer viable for riding on the road. It needs almost everything replacing on it at a cost that would be greater than what I bought it for eight years ago. After some good long chats with the brilliant guys at my local bike shop, I found something I like and put a deposit down directly with the manufacturer. Their website says that orders placed now aren’t likely to be completed until November, so I’m resigned to riding indoors for the next few months.
  • Joined a Tortoise ThinkIn for the first time in months, this time with the wonderful PP Arnold. She’s still fantastic.

  • Found a piece of metal in my mouth as I munched my way through a bag of salad. I’ve let the manufacturer know but they are yet to get back to me.

Next week: Working from home a little more than usual, trying to keep cool, while the rest of the family enjoy their last week of the academic year at school.

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  1. @maique Thanks Maique. Most of the time I wish they felt as ‘productive’ as they are ‘busy’. I wonder how much busier I am than anyone else, or whether writing it down just makes it seem that way?

  2. @adoran2 I can’t, obviously, speak for anyone else, but I tried the weekly posts for a while. And I can tell you that my weeks feel very full, and almost no time left for anything, and still made me feel very lazy and inadequate when compared to your load.