Week Eleven: Context Switching

If Week Ten was hard for non-work reasons this one has been pretty tiring due to the day job(s). It hasn’t been bad but there was a step up in intensity and context switching as I got involved in a number of additional bits of work and had to get up to speed pretty quickly and identify areas where I could add value pretty sharpish as I am only helping out for a couple of weeks to take a bit of end of year pressure off some people.

It actually started Sunday as I found myself spending six hours working on something day job adjacent that I thought might take an hour when I began. It was an interesting exercise and was as good a way as any to spend a bleak November Sunday I guess but I needed to indulge in an early Christmas movie viewing to recover.

This weekend work did manage to shake me out of my writers block and so I managed to contribute fully to the draft of the ORUK report we are working on (and previewing to a few people at the moment). I’ve enjoyed working on the project and will be sad when it finishes in a couple of weeks – though I suspect the work will continue in some form as I think we have some sensible and compelling recommendations.

Alongside the ORUK work I’ve been popping up all over the wider DLUHC portfolio this week looking for areas where I can take some pressure off the TPX leadership in that space – I have a little bit of awareness about the domains but I’ve really been playing catch-up to make sure I can understand the pressures and priorities. Thankfully the delivery challenges are familiar (aren’t they always!?).

I’ve also been tasked with looking at some Communities of Practice and capability stuff so a weekend of reading Emily’s stuff seems likely.

Wednesday evening I did a talk for ProductTank in Bristol. This was third time lucky as ill health has sabotaged earlier promises to speak. Asomi and Ed did the first two talks and thankfully they were both smart, open and educational talks so there was no pressure on mine to be any of those things! Instead I gave something of an expletive filled rant recycled from my Service Design in Government talk back in September about the challenges of doing prioritisation at scale in large, established organisations. I tried to make it fun and not too cynical and include some serious points about openness, psychological safety, picking battles and consistency. It seemed to land okay even if I felt a little off in the ‘performance’ (I decided to walk the 80 minutes to the venue and if I am honest it has been a long time since I gave an evening talk and my energy levels were a bit all over the place!).

Fun though.

The sad news this week is that Tinyletter – which has been on its last legs for ages – finally announced it was closing down for good in February and that means I need to either migrate my jobs newsletter or stop it. Previous attempts to move the newsletter have not gone well and other than Substack (which I have some issues with) all the other newsletter platforms will mean it goes from free to about $25 a month (or more). I mean I can afford it but it just feels like a leap. More on this soon I guess as I’ll probably blog about the options!

Despite my love of comics I’m not a big animation fan (and really don’t like Anime) but this show is just fantastic. Just got sucked in immediately and was genuinely sad for it to finish. Given the rubbish Netflix has been serving up this year this was a real surprise.

Another surprise. I had never heard of the book and am rarely drawn to shows set in this time period but I do like Brie Lawson (more than many it seems) which is why I gave this a chance. I really liked it though I couldn’t really explain why.

Look – I am a man of complex tastes!

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