Weeknotes 2022, part 9

Tales from my week. 19th — 25th November

My usual wins/challenges/week ahead format is feeling a little stale, so I’m trying something different. Thanks to Sam Villis for her excellent post on weeknotes styles, which I refer back to often :)

What did I learn this week?

The uncertainty of discovery makes it difficult for me to know whether I’m doing a good job. I’m having doubts about my skills, and I’m needing a bit more reinforcement than usual to keep going and trust myself.

Our team did a short presentation to wider colleagues to introduce who we are and what we do, and I was impressed by how people described their roles in succinct, non-jargonistic ways. e.g. “I’m a content designer. I help our users understand what they need to know and do, quickly and easily”. I struggled to write mine, so I’ve booked some time for reflection at the end of the year to look back on everything I’ve done and start crafting my own narrative.

The penultimate session of our facilitation training focussed on engagement. I picked up a few new tools to try (e.g. picture association, pyramid brainstorming) and added yet another book to my reading list.

Tesco Finest Crumble Top mince pies may be the best this year.

What was surprising?

Some of our team will be leaving soon as they are moving to other projects, and although I knew this was coming it caught me by surprise to hear how soon they will be going. Such is the nature of working with great people that their skills and talents will soon be needed elsewhere, and we must appreciate them while they are here. I’ll be sad when they go as a few have been on the HfU team since the beginning, and we’ve bonded through the successes and the stresses.

I wasn’t expecting my body to be so tired after last weekend’s contest, as I usually bounce back quickly. Perhaps it was the 5am start, perhaps it was the 6 hour coach journey, perhaps I’m just getting older, but whatever it was my muscles ached in the early part of the week and I’ve been struggling to get up in the mornings. I’ve tried to give myself grace to go a bit slower this week and ensure I take breaks, and I also (finally) ordered a larger computer monitor from work so I can stop leaning forward to see what’s on screen.

Who did I connect with?

I had two virtual coffees this week with colleagues I haven’t seen for 2–3 months. We discussed house moves, communities of practice, reflection tools, context switching, current challenges, and confidence.

I’ve been dipping my toe into the fediverse and engaging with a few conversations on Mastodon. So far I’m enjoying the mix of known-to-me and new folks, and how the design of the platform seems to encourage conversation with the originator (e.g. replies but no quotes). I appreciate this environment isn’t accessible or safe for everyone, and I am reading and listening to those conversations too.

In the early part of the week I spent time with our service designer and user researcher, bringing together insights from the work we’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks. They helped me enormously in providing a framework for synthesising information in a way that was visual and told a story, and seemed to get through to our listeners at Show and Tell. Multidisciplinary teams ftw!

What will I do differently next week?

I tend to get over-excited at stand up and say I’ll do lots of things, and then I’m left disappointed at the end of the day when I haven’t completed everything. I understand this is a common tendency to overestimate what can be achieved in a day but underestimate what can be achieved over a longer time scale, so I’m not alone but it is frustrating! To combat this I’m going to take a few minutes before stand up each day to write a short list, and only speak about items on that list.

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Coco Chan

Digital professional, musician, textile artist. Tweets @_crmzchan_