Weeknotes S3 Ep03

Did you miss me?

Overarching feeling of the week

I probably went back to work too soon after being off ill with a cold/flu/fever thing which seemed to mutate daily and eventually became a pretty nasty chest infection. It meant that there were no weeknotes last week because nobody wants to read about my coughing, spluttering and sweating, do they?

They DO NOT want that!

A week out of the office meant I needed to rearrange all of my meetings into this week, so I’ve been a bit busy. I haven’t been able to work from home, or get out of the office early.

I didn’t make it home before 7pm any evening, and the illness made the days feel really long, plus I missed toddler bath and bedtime every night, which has had a knock on mental health effect.

I really could have done with taking it a bit easier than I did.

[As a result?] I’m still not over it.

To make some space, I decided not to attend Transforming Together on Wednesday so I had a bit of room to decompress; that was a double edged sword because there were great people there and I had a bit of FOMO.


A really good 1:1 with Nim. I’m so pleased with how he is fitting in and the enthusiasm he is showing about learning. He delivered a brilliant show and tell for me on Wednesday, and so, this isn’t really my achievement exactly but it still deserves to go in here.

I had an email from someone who I helped with a piece of work all the way back last July. They run corporate induction events for the Civil Service Fast Stream and I helped them to nagivate the processes to putting in place a digital solution, focus on user need, and save money.

Ages back (Weeknote S01 Ep01!) I was thinking a lot about how you show your personal impact and value when you’re not delivering anything, and I asked Stefan for some advice.

It’s still a preoccupation [fear?] that I have, but talking it through with Stefan really helped me to reframe it, and with the help of Richard (who kindly agreed to be my mentor) I made a lot of changes to how I work as a result.

One thing Stefan said was that we can judge our personal effectiveness by the people who come back to us, because that demonstrates that they valued your involvement. When I had this email from the Fast Stream team I remembered that comment, and I have to say I feel good that I’m someone that people come back to for help and advice.

I also ran a workshop with Michele and Nim in the Training Team where we talked about plotting out the year, creating objectives and raising the visibility of the team. It’s just a start but something I really want to get kicked off before I leave for GDS.


One Team Gov breakfast club on Wednesday morning, for some new faces and interesting chat, although it was quite quiet (presumably everyone had headed to Transforming Together instead?)

I also finally got a lanyard! Woo! Thanks to DavidBuck.

On Wednesday I also finally met John Fitzpatrick which was really nice because he is a good, enthusiastic, positive guy and we’ve never met before despite briefly being in contact about a year ago, and knowing each other from Twitter. Though it is always fairly disconcerting when someone greets you with “I know you from Twitter, Sam” eek!

In Highlights, I’m also adding here the return to Medium of Julie. Julie’s weeknotes made me see that I could do it too even though I wasn’t in a traditional digital role, and I’ve missed her voice even though I know that Weeknote writing can be hard sometimes. Her objectives for 2018 are spot on and I hope that the weeknotes community support her to achieve them!


On Wednesday I was invited to a workshop run by Policy Lab and Scriberia Ltd. It was designed to get people started with drawing, to show that you really don’t need to be very good to get started, and to get people thinking about visual storytelling and how to use drawing to get people involved and show how things work.

It was a couple of hours of learning about how to draw and drawing. I really enjoyed it, though the results of my endeavours were dubious.

Pictures from the workshop session run by Scriberia and Policy Lab including The Drawing Alphabet, some live drawing and doodled (some by me and some by other attendees)

It was also a really good opportunity to meet some people that I’ve never met before from other government departments including aforementioned John Fitzpatrick but also Ricci Coughlan. Ricci works at DIFID in a team called Emerging Policy Innovation and Capability — EPIC! This must be the best team name in Government, right?

Random Ideas (and what I plan to do about them)

Last weeknotes I mentioned some thinking I’ve been doing around using AI software, I managed to manhandle those thoughts into a blog which you can find here. I’m really keen on thoughts about it or anyone else’s experience.

View at Medium.com

I’m also thinking that I seem to consistently miss Teacamp even though it is something I really want to get to. It’s consistent across government that there are tons of things going on but there isn’t a central place to hear about them all. I wonder what could be done about that and I’m sure people like DavidBuck or James must have given this some thought before now?


I’ve been reading (listening to on audiobook) Roxane Gay, Hunger. Which is a harrowing, beautiful, amazing piece of work. She is awesome.

This, on #TimeToTalkDay2018

And this great thread via Jenny:

See you next week!

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