Weeknotes S2Ep05

Oof, whattaweek!

Overarching feeling of the week

A really varied, interesting, fun and insightful week which has pushed me well out of my comfort zone.


Once I hit publish on this weeknote it will be the fourth blog I have published this week.

This level of productivity around blogging is pretty unheard of for me and I’m hoping I can maintain the momentum.

One of my biggest achievements this week was publishing a blog about living with “generalised anxiety” which you can find here:

I wanted to write something that described some of the thought processes of a person with anxiety and the general atmosphere of living with it. How alienating it can feel. How opaque and jumbled. How aside from reality it sometimes feels.

I think I achieved that.

There was a point when I really really thought I wouldn’t publish it. Actually doing so was terrifying and I had to turn off Twitter and distract myself with something else because I thought that someone would react negatively to it.

What actually happened was that the blog received over 230 reads on Medium; by far the most I’ve ever had.

It’s also garnered loads of RTs, comments, likes, DMs, and new followers on Twitter all from people who could relate, and who thanked me for writing it — that was so humbling and there were a few times when I had a little cry.

It goes to show just how important it is to share, and how anxiety has affected so many people. It was hard to publish, but I’m so glad I did.

I’ve been out of my comfort zone a lot this week.

This is an accurate representation of my comfort zone.

This was particularly true when I joined Parliamentary Digital Service on Monday as part of my “being nosy” series and also at Policy School which started on Thursday.

I put this in achievements because both of those situations meant:

  1. Meeting lots of new people
  2. Taking on loads of new information
  3. Going to somewhere completely new (especially Policy School which meant travelling to Barking and Dagenham and having to get the tube).

But I did it, it was fine, I learned loads, and I’m glad I did.

Yes, that guy from the programme with Buffy’s friend in it. Yes.

Being out of your comfort zone is tiring and zapped all my energy. By Friday evening I was completely depleted, so no Policy School day 2 write up and no weeknotes when I got home just pyjamas, pizza and bed (I didnt even have the wherewithal to get myself a G&T).


On Wednesday we ran an ALPHA service assessment for Jessica’s team at ACAS. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with their work, they have totally smashed it.

It was so good to see a team embrace service design, agile working, getting buy-in from seniors and concentrating on up-skilling their team. So good.

I also managed to get to the ABLE network meeting, something I’ve been struggling to get to recently as I’ve been so busy. I’m glad I went, I enjoy it, it’s useful and I need to make time for these things.


Policy School day 2 was probably the biggest single learning experience I’ve ever had. Travelling to Barking and Dagenham and speaking to lots of people about the problems they face living there.

I learned a huge amount. It reinforced the importance of user research. It was hard and I got a huge empathy lesson. I’ll write more up on this soon.

Actually, what I’ve learned from Policy School? Not to be intimidated by “policy”. That I can totally do this, and I can be more confident. Also, how important it is. How real and hard and bloody, bloody important.

Plan for for next week

Monday was supposed to be my non-working day, but with being out of the office there is too much to catch up on. So I’m going to work from home, try to take it easy, clear some stuff and claim that day back somewhere else later.

I need to try not to let the week run off with me.

I was so exhausted this Friday and I’d prefer not to feel like that at the end of this week. I need to think about a thing* that is happening this week and prepare, and I need to think about not getting worked up about my Policy School presentation (I hate public speaking).

OTG microactions

  1. Raised One Team Gov at Policy School (and will again next week).
  2. RT’d quite a few tweets from #Reimagine2017 which looked awesome and seemed to get some good feedback. Still reeling that I couldn’t be there, and was quite glad I was very busy in B&D and didn’t keep getting envy by seeing cool stuff on Twitter.

Ideas for blogs / Things I’m thinking about

  1. Weeknoters consultancy. Still thinking about this since Dan mentioned it in Ep32 of his weeknotes. My downtime project is a small first step towards this in my head. I’m also thinking about writing a blog about “being a person who works in the gaps”.

I know that there are a few other people who are thinking about this too. Louise said in S2Ep01 of her weeknotes recently:

I’m a dot joinerist.

If I was to make a DIY analogy (I mean, sure, why not?) then my role is part WD40 (other similar products are available, probably) and part that strange expandable foam stuff which fills in gaps when you’re not quite sure what else to use.

I can’t quite explain how much I relate to this (and enjoy the DIY metaphor).

2. A response to “Let’s fund teams not projects”. Despite originally writing a response to this I haven’t quite been able to take my thoughts forward. Leaving this here for now but this blog might drop off the list.

3. Collaborative blogging. Ben recently published a blog about some principles for blogging and you can find them here. Most are useful but there’s one which I totally disagree with:

Work on your own

Blogging together with other people rarely works (in my experience). The world needs your personal viewpoint.

I have completely the opposite experience and opinion. I’ve also heard Kit and James discussing this at One Team Gov breakfast club and talking about working collaboratively because it helps to just get stuff done.

So I was wondering if anyone fancies collaborating on a blog about collaborative blogging with me?

Ha, ha, ha. I crack myself up.

Read / Watched / Listened to

Its been more of a writing than reading week, so this list is a bit sparse but…

  1. I read this great blog by Chad Bond which makes a lot of sense to me:


2. W1A, I watched this series of W1A. Oh, how I love W1A.

3. This One Team Gov video/tweet by Bea.

3. I love this tweet, shared by Stefan:

4. Finally Ellie’s weeknotes retrospective, which I really thought summed up a lot about why we do this.


See you next week!

*Deliberately cryptic.

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