January

The backstory

In 2017 I wrote weeknotes on and off for a period, reflecting on my week. I found it a too much to keep up regularly and stopped after five months. I did a much shorter version on twitter for a while, but whilst they were much quicker to write, they didn’t hold the same value for me .

1. What did you learn?

January was a good month for me in terms of learning things, which is perhaps what you’d expect when you start a new role.

2. What did you experiment with?

This year I’m experimenting with the #100people challenge, which involves putting together a list of 100 people you want to meet during the year— not just friends or colleagues who you see naturally as part of your regular life but “people I have to do a little bit extra to see”, as Mary Mckenna describes it in her blogpost explaining the concept. (Obviously at the moment a ‘meeting’ can be virtual and doesn’t need to be in person.)

3. Who did you work with/talk to/visit outside your organisation/sector?

Partly as a result of thinking about #100people, and also thinking about missing some of the random serendipitous conversations you have when you work in an office, I joined a random coffee group through the ‘agile in the ether’ community. Emily Webber, who organises agile in the ether meet ups wrote last year about ‘assisted serendipity, random coffee and the power of the unstructured meeting’ (I normally catch on to things way after Emily has). Every two weeks you get paired up with someone new for a casual chat. I had two chats in January — interesting to make random connections with people you know you’ll have something in common with.

4. Who did you work with in a different profession/team within your organisation?

I enjoyed working with colleagues in our HR function on a training plan and on an engagement plan.

4. What made you stop and think?

A friend said to me a few weeks ago:

“What if 2021 is as hard as 2020?”

It was an arresting thought, and we went on to discuss how at least this time if things did go that way, we’ve got a chance to plan, to prepare, and we’ve some experience from 2020, we know a bit about what worked/didn’t work for us last time.

5. What would you have liked to do more of?

Another thing a friend said to me that made me stop and think was:

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

I was talking about my return to work after 3–4 months off and working reduced hours (I started January doing 15 hours per week over 3 days, I ended the month doing 20 hours over 4 days). I’ve found it hard to achieve much in that limited amount of time. And there’s so much more I’d like to be doing, so it’s tempting to do more. But he helped me to stop and get a better sense of perspective.

6. When did you make a personal impact that improved something?

Our department’s engagement action plan for the year.

7. What was fun?

Sea shanty tiktok, at least at first.

8. Who or what inspired you?

Giles Brandreth (I never thought I’d say that) and Iain McGilchrist (not a surprise to me, his book The Master and His Emissary is one of the best books I’ve ever read).

9. What did you enjoy?

  • Walking meetings
  • Walking through fields of snow
  • Taking the time to stop and find some stillness whilst having coffee
  • Giggling uncontrollably

10. What went well?

I’ve been in a nice rhythm of daily exercise/meditation/going outside.

11. What are you looking forward to in February?

Here comes the sun…

Senior Director @ElsevierConnect doing product strategy implementation & performance. Mainly writing about getting from A to B, & digital stuff. Personal acc’t.