Week Three – finding a rhythm 

Like Ice Cube almost said – ‘It was a good week’.

I really enjoyed digging in to the Open Referrals work – we had a kick off with the client, a couple of chats with people working on related projects in the Local Digital ecosystem, a great conversation with a product manager working at the Department for Education about their Family Hubs work, a deep dive with Mike – the OR-acle, shared some thoughts with our DM Debbie, wrote some Terms of Reference for an Advisory group, had a natter with Mr Briggs and I gave my/our first contribution to the monthly programme Show & Tell (albeit it a true lightning talk!).

I’ve also arranged time with folk at the ODI and the NHS for next week. 

I’ve been working 09.00-13.00 all week on this and I’ve really enjoyed the pace and rhythm of it. I’ve had time for the meetings, reading and some writing in those 20 hours and if some of the thinking needed leaks into the off hours then that is no hardship.

That isn’t to say my afternoons have been empty.

Monday I spent a long time answering all the questions (or as close as) that I didn’t get to after my Scottish Digital Academy. In the end I think I responded to 30ish different questions once I’d aggregated a few. It was an interesting challenge but I quite enjoyed it.

Tuesday I had a conversation with Rebecca from US Digital Response though not so much about her day job but more to exchange notes on our similar side projects as Rebecca also does a weekly digital gov jobs list but for the US – where unsurprisingly all the challenges I’ve faced over the years are writ large! My main advice was don’t get as sucked in to it as I have!

On Wednesday I was chatting with the new Head of User Research for DBT. As it’ll be a while before my successor lands there I agreed to share some thoughts and bounce some ideas around and I’m really glad I did as it was a really nice conversation that was also helpful for me.

Last night (Thursday) I somewhat gatecrashed the post TPX Product/Delivery community away day drinks as the event had been in Bristol. The company has grown so much in recent times that I knew very few people there but the little ex-Foundry4 crew huddled up and had a beer fuelled gossip and rant-a-thon. It was great to see them and meet a few of the newer folk.

Inspired by Simon Wilson I opened up some slots in my afternoons via Calendly starting from Monday. So far I have had six people book in – only one of whom I think I’ve properly met before – and I’m interested – if a little nervous – to see how it goes and whether I am any help to them! I suppose at some point I should be thinking about how to make the coaching type stuff pay a little – but for now I’m pro bono all the way.

That said I do have some leads for some additional work so I’m not completely neglecting business development as it were! I’m keen to get my billable hours to nearer 30 in the medium term over at least two clients – no rush for this but I don’t want to get complacent.

My little ramble about the idea of ‘heart’ work in last weeks note caught the attention of Dan Hon and his response was featured in his newsletter. I’m still not sure if Dan liked the idea or not to be honest but as a big fan it was exciting to be included.

Which got me thinking – one thing I haven’t really talked about as I try and work out what this new era of work/life balance looks like is my desire remains to do more writing in at least a semi-professional manner (well maybe not even that – for now I’d just like to write elsewhere – for someone/thing more professional or with a wider audience.

I saw the aforementioned Mr Briggs and Steve Messer had created /now pages which I thought was a nice idea and thus I copied it. I’ve even created a reminder to update it once a month.

That’ll do – like I said it was a good week.

Here’s to many more.

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