I love working in my home office. It’s such a productive space for me. My furry friend from down the road came to visit. Foxes are back as well; I could hear them scratching and digging under my feet as I sat at my desk. I assume that within a few months we’ll start seeing a cub or two popping into our garden at night.
Our love of the Darts World Championship continued through to the final on Wednesday night. Before this year I don’t think I’d really appreciated how much of a mental game it is, with momentum and form swings potentially happening a number of times during a match. It feels like it shares a similarity with a great tennis match, where a particular game could mean that players draw level or are suddenly two sets apart.
Having a week at home meant that I’ve managed to get on a bike every day so far this year. Cardio exercise will come to a juddering halt with my return to the office on Monday but it was good to start things off the right way.
This was a week in which I:
- Got through my entire personal email inbox. I haven’t got this close to ‘inbox zero’ for years, mainly as my personal mails sat right next to my school governor ones. It feels good to know that I’ve flushed out any demons that were lurking there.
- Sent an email to our Group CEO to let him know much I have enjoyed his monthly video updates. This time last year we heard from him on ‘being fully present’; I suggested that a company culture of putting cameras on in meetings could go a long way in this regard. I think it says a lot about our company that I felt comfortable doing this and even more that I received a response.
- Continued work on the ‘kickoff’ deck that I plan to use with the whole team to get us off on the right foot for the year.
- Met with contacts in a sister company to discuss our office refurbishment and the approach to technology shared spaces.
- Reviewed the latest architectural drawings for a new office that we hope to move into this year and agreed the tweaks that we want to make to the design.
- Completed a long-overdue handover of our digital signage platform to our Infrastructure and Operations team. We have a handover checklist, the master template of which I revised as I spotted gaps and changes that we should make. Going through the process was useful and it’s good to have a completed task on the board this early in 2024.
- Made some prioritisation decisions about things I (and we) are not going to do in the first part of the year, clearing the decks to focus on the must-do projects.
- Looked into the possibility of my youngest son coming to my office for his work experience later in the year. We’ve had lots of children spending time with us over the past year and everyone has been very willing to give their time to our young guests.
- Went all in on my Obsidian sync subscription, opting for an annual rather than monthly payment in order to make a small saving. It took me a little while to get my head around it but I’m glad I switched; linked text files are very aligned to how I like to work.
- Booked a ticket to the Interesting conference in London on 15 May. I really enjoyed it last year — an eclectic mix of topics in a lovely setting.
- Booked in a plumber to look at our external drain which seems to be blocked. Normally I have to clear it out a few times a year, but this time I don’t seem to be able to get at whatever’s stopping the flow.
- Went to pick up the match day delegate bib at my eldest son’s football match but then found myself with the assistant referee flag instead. It was probably my busiest game ever as a linesman, with the opposing team getting frustrated with multiple offsides. It was great to feel confident in what I’d seen and what I’d called, despite the abuse that came my way.
Starting this week, I’m going to try an experiment with my weeknotes, logging media items that have struck me as particularly interesting or useful. I got through over 1,700 podcast episodes last year; perhaps logging the highlights here will help me to remember what I read or heard.
- Strong Songs: ‘Think’ by Aretha Franklin — Breaking down a song I know well is what this podcast does best. Kirk Hamilton gets into both the original 1968 version as well as the one recorded for the Blues Brothers soundtrack in 1980.
- Music is My Life: Cindy Wilson of the B-52’s — So, we will never know the true meaning of the lyrics to Give Me Back My Man.
- How I Built This: WordPress & Automattic: Matt Mullenweg — I’ve heard a few interviews with Mullenweg over the years. I use loads of his products — WordPress, Jetpack, Pocket Casts — and I’m so pleased that he’s successful. He seems like one of the good guys with a good philosophy. (Also, happy birthday Matt!)
- Sausage On A Fork: A Tribute to Gwyneth Powell — Powell played headteacher Bridget McCluskey during the golden years of Grange Hill. She passed away in 2022. This is a moving tribute to her from others that worked on the show.
- QueenPod: Jazz Side A and Side B — The hosts make their way through Queen’s 1978 album track-by-track.
- How Do You Cope? Brian May: ‘My name’s Brian and I’m a depressive’ — Excellent interview with the Queen guitarist about significant challenging periods in his life and how he copes now. It was interesting to hear that he’s a fellow morning cyclist.
- AvTalk: Japan Airlines flight 516 — A deep dive into what happened with the recent runway crash in Tokyo.
- Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin: Chris Columbus — Baldwin seems to get a lot out of his guests, probably because he’s known to them. The episode is a decade old, so it was weird to hear Robin Williams being spoken about in the present tense.
- The Idealcast with Gene Kim: (Dispatch from the Scenius) Elisabeth Hendrickson’s DevOps Enterprise Summit Presentations — Fascinating to hear how Hendrickson came to the realisation that the existence of her QA team was detrimental to the goals of her organisation.
- Full Disclosure with James O’Brien: Tom Walker aka Jonathan Pie — I’d not heard Tom Walker outside of his Jonathan Pie character. Interesting to hear his backstory.
- Things that have been added to the public domain from 1 January 2024.
- Using Copilot for Word with large reference documents isn’t always successful. (I remain largely underwhelmed by my experiences with the Microsoft Copilot ‘AI’ tools.)
- ‘Clicks’ iPhone physical keyboard. I’d love to try one of these. I was a mean typist on a BlackBerry back in the day and have never got to the same words per minute on a virtual keyboard.
- Microsoft Outlook (the ‘new’ and mobile versions) now lets you preserve declined meetings on your calendar.
- John Lennon’s Mind Games is getting the super deluxe reissue treatment this year. An accompanying book is available for pre-order, but at £45 I will wait until it comes down in price.
- Life lessons from a 44 year-old.
- My WB-40 podcast friends Sharon and Mark have started weeknoting this year. Sharon leads an interesting life full of freelance work and travel, and Mark is my ’Internet twin’. Both blogs are well worth subscribing to.
- Elliot Robert has made me go from ‘meh’ to ‘add to wishlist’ with his review of The Beatles’ reissued Red and Blue compilation albums.
- So Free So Lonely by Georgia Gets By is a beautiful song.
- Started watching For All Mankind on Apple+ after Heather Burns’ recommendation. It’s very good.
- Made good headway into series 14 of Grange Hill, the last one that I plan to watch. I’m determined to finished it soon.
- Stumbled across the fact that Queen’s Montreal concert has been remastered for IMAX and is showing in cinemas in a couple of weekends’ time. I have to go.
Next week: Back to the office.