Weeknotes 05x05: “Oh boy”

4 min readJan 23, 2018

OK, let’s do this. It’s Tuesday so I’m late. It’s a bit late, and I haven’t got any notes, just a Google calendar and a brain sieved through by a trip to UKGovCamp on Saturday. Let’s do this.

Fires up calendar

Week comes rushing back, like that bit in Quantum Leap where he jumps into someone’s body


Oh yeah. I was all over the place, with big blocks of time marked out like allotments, which meant I didn’t have much time to get into anything unplanned in any great depth. Which is probably a good way of doing things.

Chuck in some remote working days due to ILLNESS and DELIVERIES, and it was not your Standard Week, all in.

Monday: Annual review for Gregor, sysadmin. First Annual Review that I’ve ever held in a dark, miniature cinema. Resisted my usual cinematic experience of falling asleep.


Gregor is part-time, which is something I’ve struggled to fit in alongside 1:1s and Annual Reviews — I would be very interested in how other people do regular catch-ups for part-time people. Annual Reviews are … annual, obviously, but usually I try to do a quick catch-up monthly. For part-timers, this is relatively a lot more time — should they get pro-rata’d contact time, or what? Are there more creative ideas out there?

This ran over, but then also went through the line-up for the sprint meeting later in the week, and then looked at our system metrics for some bulk-data-processing work that we’re trialling out currently. We’re picking up a few very unoptimised, but expected and explainable, parts of the data flow. Personally, I argued strongly to look into this more before releasing — discerning what the metrics actually meant was tricky, but there’s a gut instinct here that means I’m not quite happy with it going live yet. Fortunately, there’s a also a gut instinct that it can be fixed fairly easily?

Tuesday: was day off.

Wednesday: Was feeling pretty ill and got woken up by #son2 at 4am, and didn’t want to infect the office ahead of some guests arriving the next day. So I pinged a message in, got some rest in the morning after school drop-off, and then by about 11am was feeling a bit better and worked from home.


This turned into a lot of churning through e-mails in the end, which was actually extremely satisfying and I had to be slapped with a wet fish by my wife to stop before bedtime.

I also discovered that GMail’s “Priority Inbox” can be configured a lot more than I thought. I had a play with this, and have rejigglied my main GMails screen to show my emails in sections, in the following order:

  • emails I need to respond to (latest 10)
  • emails I need to do something about (latest 5, because doing takes longer and more headspace than replying)
  • unread emails (latest 10, to have a quick sort through and stem the incoming tide)
  • everything else in my inbox (ie read ones that I haven’t sorted yet but are lower priority)

I’m liking this setup so far — having a section for “Unread only” means I can filter them quickly. Having a section for “response” and “action” means I can jump to them when I’m in the mood for one or the other. Rapidly coming around to the idea that emails need scheduled time, and need to be handled in specific chunks, to save on context-switching.

Judging by the latest stats, I’ve done some good clearing out, and most of the remaining mails are recent. But I do read those stats like the Matrix code, which probably means I’m wrong, and about to get re-inserted.

Thursday: Ooh, exciting day. Had our sprint planning meeting in the morning, followed by our first Hosted Event, I think — Kim (marketing lead) had arranged it for Mor from 360Giving to come and run a Data Expedition for various local foundations and grant-givers.

I got to come in on it as support, and filled our my “Character Sheet” as the role of “Engineer” — possibly the only Engineer in the room, I think. Fortunately I didn’t have to do too much live-coding, even though I offered. Instead, there was some great chat in my team about data sharing, mapping impact, and data for collaboration.

Friday: Turned out a delivery was due to the house on Friday and, with nobody else at home, I remoted in again. More emails, picking up on a few tasks that needed clarifying, writing up notes, and a catch-up call with a client from 5 years ago, whose site we still seem to be hosting. Nothing too crazy, and a nice end to the week before #ukgovcamp hit home the next day.

But that, I think, is a whole another story.

Ohhhhhhh boyyyyyyyy

Originally published at Workweek.




Lead tech at OCSI, making data friendly for social good. Likes words. Doesn't really own a bowler hat.