Weeknotes S10 Ep6

In need of a new brain.

Hey there. It’s Sunday which feels a little late for weeknotes. I spent Saturday afternoon in bed with a migraine that lodged itself in the left half of my brain on Friday evening, stuck with me all night (giving me two anxiety nightmares) and, made me think I was going to puke in the car. So I’m writing this from bed again, if I stay still then I’m mostly ok, but moving makes me feel like my brain is crashing against my skull.

I should be listening to my body more, looking back at last weeks weeknote I see that I was already complaining at not feeling too great and not moving enough, but I ignored the aches and the pains again this week and kept going. This stupid laptop won’t charge on my riser and I’ve had lots of calls to do, so I’ve also been hunched up over my desk, which is stupid.

I can tell when I’ve had “a bit of a week” because the migraines always come when I stop and should be relaxing.

The Migraine Trust detail of a migraine attack. I hope I’m in dark green (recovery or postdrome stage) but I’m worried I’m still in light green (headache or main attack stage).

So what about this week? It’s not been overly stressful but it has been tiring and required a lot of concentration. Last week we closed applications for the COVID-19 fund. That was Wednesday evening, and then the team scored all 125 of them, moderated, shortlisted, interviewed and recommended to the minister.

He’ll be announcing the funded projects tomorrow — that’s a seven working day turnaround. Like I said, not stressful (we know what we’re doing well enough now) but tiring, and when we have such deadlines and turnarounds I think we really need to keep sight on people’s wellbeing because I’m feeling really drained. I’m in serious need of a holiday. I’m not sure about other members of the team but I’d hazard a guess that they’re with me on this.

So what did this week look like?

  • Monday morning was moderation for the scoring for the COVID-19 fund where we brought all of the shortlisted applications in the different themes together to agree on which of those we wanted to interview.
  • On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, with Ben and Lawrence, I interviewed six possible project teams. That’s six 45 minute interviews plus the prep (rereading and going over scoring) as well as discussion afterwards.
  • Thursday was our decision making meeting; this is where we discuss all of the applications and outline our recommendations for the minister. I always really enjoy these meetings because it’s cool to have all of the team come together, and to respond to the thoughts and questions of our director too.

And, what else?

  • I had a catch up with Mark, who I haven’t spoken to since I returned because he’s working on Cyber work. It was really nice, and useful to catch up with him and find out more about the work he’s doing.
  • A conversation with Matt about the Collaboration manager role and how we support our projects on an ongoing basis as well as how we resource projects to make sure that they get the support they need. I’m enjoying this zoomed out thinking. It’s good to be working with Matt as I think we have some complimentary traits and it’s useful to be able to take two sides on the same subject — it makes a better whole result. I feel like with Matt I can move our thinking into somewhere a bit bolder, and push things a bit further.
  • Actually, on the above, I’m missing Morgan and Jenny quite a lot and I think it’s partly because of the above. I’m missing having people there to bounce thoughts and things off and that feeling of things snowballing and becoming bigger, more ambitious and better.
  • Last week was Civil Service Live and even though I signed up there wasn’t actually time to attend within everything else that’s going on. However I did sign up for the mentoring and got matched with Gideon. We actually know one another already as Gideon was one of the lovely people who took me up on my coffee quest when I joined GDS. It was really nice to catch up and hear how his secondment at Heritage Lottery Fund had gone.
  • I’ve been testing Lauren’s Stride leadership app. I’ve completed a few bits and it’s useful to have it all in one place. I quite like the exercises.

One Team Gov Suicide Prevention event

We had a great organisers call on Tuesday and moved on with a lot of different elements of the day. It’s also been great to see people picking up bits of work proactively, we now have an almost finished sign up form for the event on 10 September. We also have a great list of possible speakers that we are going to contact soon and get them involved.

On Thursday I had a great call with Jamie and some of the team from CALM (the Campaign against Living Miserably) and it’s promising that we will have them able to talk about the charity at the event.

It’s only 3 weeks till the Mental Health First Aider’s breakfast takeover on 19 August, and so far we have approximately 50 attendees which is great but I’d love more. It’s 6 weeks until the main event, so there’s lots still to do and we need to kick up a gear.


There’s always a point at when you’re trying to build a habit where you think you’ve got it, but then complacency creeps in and the habit drops off. I’m generally not great at building habits, but I’ve been trying to do that with this reading list, making it public means I’m pushing myself to be accountable.

It’s also important to me that I also keep it up because it’s part of my commitment to doing better and moving into a space of being more actively anti-racist.

So when I have a week where I feel like I’ve read less it makes me feel a bit crap, I’ve also stalled on my work to go through and see the diversity of what I’ve been reading, so I need to find some time for this. I dunno, this week has been busy and this weekend I’ve not been able to read, so maybe I’m being too hard on myself (as I also have the Suicide Prevention event) but it’s worth being mindful of I think.

Anyway, here’s my list this week: https://trello.com/b/BBJ726mr/progress-bookmarks

My trello reading list.

Hopefully this week will be a little slower and I’ll be able to do some more of that bigger thinking that I’ve been enjoying, I’ve got a few ideas for things I want to get done so we’ll see, fingers crossed.


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