in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #222 — Workflow

Our beech tree has been shedding a tremendous amount of male catkins over the past two weeks which have blanketed the garden. This may happen every year, but I have never noticed it before.

Our beech tree has been shedding a tremendous amount of male catkins over the past two weeks which have blanketed the garden. This may happen every year, but I have never noticed it before.

My plans to go into the office this week were hampered when I caught a cold. I sounded worse than I felt — I was in full Barry White mode — but a quick straw poll of friends informed me that heading into work is a no-no in this post-pandemic world.

It’s taken me a while, but recently I’ve been enjoying a mix of working from the office and working from home. Two or three days seems to be the sweet spot for me.

This was a week in which I:

  • Finished the first version of a presentation on large language models and generative AI. By the end of the week my boss and I had delivered it three times to various groups of people, refining the message as we went. It seems to be landing well.
  • Continued work on getting more of our colleagues signed up to our password manager. Colleagues in the deskside support team covered the one-on-one sessions that I had scheduled for the week as I couldn’t be in the office. Getting people set up remotely is just too difficult, with the mixture of devices that they have to use.
  • Completed the setup of single sign-on for our digital signage platform.
  • Had a couple of conversations about the architecture of interfaces that we have built with upstream systems and what we need to do to improve them.
  • Represented our team at the steering committee for a Group-level cybersecurity programme as well as the lower-level working group later in the week.
  • Met with a consultancy that we work with to discuss how we can upskill our department in the art of storytelling.
  • Attended an online internal People and Culture-hosted summit.
  • Had a brief pre-meeting with colleagues that are running an organisational design workshop next week.
  • Met with a researcher who is organising a follow-up to the London CTOs chat on Leveraging GenerativeAI (including ChatGPT) in Business and Organisations.
  • Enjoyed a Random Coffee with a colleague I hadn’t spoken to in some time.
  • Joined an online Microsoft event entitled Optimising the Employee Experience in the Age of AI. The speakers, Bruce Daisley and Alexia Cambon, were both engaging and interesting. I keyed in a question about the role Microsoft should be playing with regard to the negative aspects of these new AI tools, but it didn’t get picked up.
  • Briefly joined a meetup for people who are taking the Center for Humane Technology’s course on the Foundations of Humane Technology. I signed up to this a few weeks ago but haven’t managed to start it yet. The meetup was very welcoming but not quite what I thought it would be; it felt a bit like a therapy group.
  • Spent some time thinking about my personal workflow and the apps I use. I started to draw it out and can already see why it feels like there is so much friction. I’m not quite done with the ‘as is’ diagram yet; once I have it down I’ll start to look at how I can simplify things.
An incomplete draft of my workflow.

An incomplete draft of my workflow.

  • Attended our school Full Governing Board meeting, the first with our new interim headteacher. We sadly said goodbye to another governor, a colleague from the local community that we recruited through a letter drop, who has been with us for many years.
  • Had a checkup at the dentist. No need to go back until early 2024!
  • Failed to finish my first difficult workout of the week. It’s such a strange thing when this happens; I’m determined not to give up, but then suddenly find that I’ve stopped. I used up the rest of the time with an easier workout.
What failure looks like.

What failure looks like.

  • Found myself with a broken spoke 10km into the Saturday cycling club ride. Nobody likes to be the guy that holds everyone else up and I figured the problem might be terminal, so I told the group to carry on without me. I managed to secure the spoke around a couple of the other ones so that it wasn’t rattling around and then figured that I’d carry on. It turned out that someone had another mechanical; I managed to catch up with the group at the top of Bison Hill. It is a beautiful time of year to be out cycling. I popped my bike into Lovelo in town who fixed the problem in no time.
  • Hoovered up all of the beech catkins and remaining piles of leaves in the garden. There’s still a bit to do to prep it so that we can enjoy sitting outside this summer.

Next week: Yet another four-day work week, and the start of another Album Club.

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