A ‘flying by the seat of my pants’ kind of week. There’s so much going on. Work needed to be regularly prioritised so that we didn’t miss the next deadline or scheduled event. At points it felt almost overwhelming. But I’ve been loving it. It’s been a very long time since we’ve had such important hard external deadlines to meet. They act as a forcing function, making it easier to separate the most important or urgent things from everything else. Out of necessity, my delegation instinct has also come to the fore. It feels very good to decisively hand things over to colleagues who probably should have had the work on their plate long ago; hopefully it feels the same for them.
Next week we have the three Johannesburg-based colleagues from our management team joining us for an offsite. We’ve been preparing for weeks, so I have my fingers crossed that Storm Isha doesn’t disrupt our plans.
I had to spend some time at the weekend catching up with work in order to release some of the pressure next week.
Hitting weeknote #2^8 feels like a beautifully geeky milestone. Sometimes it has felt like work, but overall it’s been fun.
This was a week in which I:
- Put together a proposed programme structure for the real estate/facilities work that we are doing over the next couple of years. Submitted the proposal as well as a high-level project plan to two of our senior governance committees for approval. Once this is in place, I can start to convene a steering committee and get into the critical decisions that we need to make.
- Created a slide showing all of the organisations that are involved with the programme. It’s incredibly complex.
- Put together an initial draft list of all of the income and expenditure for our office refurbishment project.
- Met with our vendor who specialise in meeting room technology design and agreed to schedule a workshop for next week.
- Updated and issued an RFP for real estate/facilities project management capability.
- Reviewed the high-level plan for moving office in one of our cities, along with the remaining outstanding points that need to be resolved before we can sign the new lease.
- Finalised details for our offsite meeting with the venue, including putting time aside for two sets of guest speakers.
- Took a look at some spare office space that we might utilise while we carry out some invasive works in our regular office later in the year. Met with our Marketing and Communications team along with our Company Secretary to discuss what this process might look like.
- Started to discuss an alternative approach to one of our office upgrades, future-proofing ourselves so that we are able to take advantage of any core building changes as and when they happen.
- Was presented with the idea of taking ownership of the technical aspects of our shared meeting room spaces.
- Met with our Legal team to discuss how we manage requests for Teams meeting recordings from external participants.
- Spent time with my product management and development team, agreeing both our immediate focus and the approach we will take to any major initiatives.
- Reviewed the team’s progress with a new tool that we hope will help to surface issues (and impending issues) across our end-user endpoints. Agreed to roll it out to a pilot group of users.
- Enjoyed our weekly Learning Hour on the topic of an internal women’s accelerator and networking programme.
- Had an excellent Random Coffee with a colleague based in our Global Markets team in Johannesburg. He’s an expert in foreign exchange, and was able to give me an education in what it means for there to be ‘a shortage of dollars’ in a particular country. We agreed that he’d come and talk to our team at a future Learning Hour.
- Found a way to tweak my Obsidian query to surface any open tasks from my meeting notes, grouping them by note but sorting the notes in descending ‘last modified’ order, so my most recently captured tasks appear at the top. Some would argue that this is back to front, but that’s not really how I work. If something is really important and I haven’t done it yet, I’m likely to capture it more than once; doing so will mean it is near the top.
- Discussed that when a conversation gets tricky, it is always best to jump to the highest-fidelity medium to resolve things. Speaking in person beats a video call, which beats an audio call, which beats text messages.
- Had a lovely call with my parents after work one evening. Despite them having a lot going on, it was so lovely to feel how much they are there for me and my family.
- Renewed my Learned League membership for another year. I’m rubbish at it, but it doesn’t stop it being a lot of fun. I’m so grateful that Matt Haughey and Jessamyn West introduced me to it.
- Got by without buying lunch for a whole week. I’m trying to pull the reins in on spending after having been out a few times in December. I’m not sure how long it will last, as man cannot live on protein and cereal bars alone.
- Was blown away by watching Queen Rock Montreal in IMAX. Of course the images were amazing, but the sound — THE SOUND. It was so loud. I loved it.
- Had the insides of our two roof lanterns professionally cleaned. It was long overdue. They look lovely and sparkly now.
- Designed and ordered a custom stamp for labelling the cross-section end of books that I want to give away via Bookcrossing. I’m a lapsed Bookcrosser, having started in 2006, but for some reason I’ve now got the itch again.
- Went out for a Saturday night curry in Chertsey with my lovely old friends.
- Had a satisfying week on the bike trainer, completing some rides that made me feel like I had stretched myself.
- Excellent episode of the Aboard podcast which talks about Substack, their ‘decision to continue publishing Nazis’, free speech and the free market.
- I loved the metaphor used by Gina Neff where she suggests thinking of AI companies as asphalt companies. They’ll tell you that they can put asphalt everywhere, but is that really what you want?
- Enjoyed Lisa Riemers talking about accessibility on the WB-40 podcast. Her website has an excellent collection of accessibility-related resources.
- Microsoft Teams Insider had another excellent episode. Greg Jeffreys discusses the need to take a holistic approach to the design of “technology-enabled spaces”.
- I feel a lot better about having blocked my washing machine from communicating with the Internet. (Given that there doesn’t seem to be a way of disabling it or shifting it to a different network without changing my network password. Grrr.)
- Camembert cheese is endangered.
- The worry that Apple’s extraction of 27% of each sale made on an application’s website from a user who followed a link from the application in the past 7 days is just the start.
- Managed to stop Office Timeline from constantly reverting to the free edition.
- Caught the Algeria vs Angola match in the Africa Cup of Nations.
- Continued watching Grange Hill series 14. Just a few episodes to go.
- Was brought to tears by The Orville S3E5. I think it’s my favourite show. Absolutely beautiful storytelling with such incredible characters. I didn’t expect this when I first started watching it.
- I’d never realised that the lyrics to Shake, Rattle and Roll are so obscene.
- Enjoyed a wonderful online Album Club listening to Bass Culture by Linton Kwesi Johnson. I’ve struggled to get into reggae as I couldn’t find my way in, but this album is super accessible. Loved it.
- Learned that Seal’s Kiss From A Rose is ‘33% sharp’. Amazing.
Next week: Keeping my fingers crossed that the trains are running despite the storms, so that I can make it into London five days in a row.