Day 233 – Just a Little Unwell

I still don’t think I’m entirely well. I feel much more tired than I should be, occasionally I still have a coughing fit, and going to bed at 2am yesterday probably didn’t help much either.

It’s important to call your mother on her birthday though, and I had forgotten due to Wednesday Regulars until after midnight when I had a sudden panic. She was trying to let me off the hook, but we had a good conversation for an hour, and I was happy to make the sacrifice.

Then the work-day unfolded with a lot more draining content than I was ready for, but alas, that’s the job sometimes.

And then I finished up with a visit to the gym. I had skipped Monday and Tuesday already, and at some point I just start feeling wrong. The class felt good at the time, but I’ve been slumped on the lounge all evening. And now I think I’m ready for bed. And another meeting-ful day tomorrow.

I need to throw something restorative into the weekend.
Maybe sleep?

Day 210 – Travel Fatigue

Theoretically there should be seas of time.

I wake up when breakfast is at my door. Once I’m showered and dressed, it’s a 5 minute walk to work. When I leave Sydney my calendar looks no different from the way it does normally. After work, I have nowhere else to be, so I have dinner with my colleagues and I’ll end up back at the hotel around 8pm-9pm.

And yet…

During the day it feels I’m in a constant rush to see everybody that needs seeing. Additional meetings materialise out of thin air to fill every available minute of the day. After I get back to the hotel in the evening I keep telling myself I’ll get some extra work done, but after I’ve settled in and had a little bit of relaxation it’s suddenly 10:30pm already, and if I don’t get to bed around 11pm, then waking up the next day starts getting harder.

I’ve tried to work out what it is, but nothing stands out in itself.
Is travel for work really this inherently tiring?

Day 203 – Management Self-Study

It didn’t take long for me to get hooked.
It amazes me that HR didn’t already know about it.

I am listening to a management podcast that is really good at providing concrete actionable suggestions on being better at routine management skills and tasks.

I think every manager should listen to Manager Tools Basics at least, which has some great foundational topics. And the ongoing Manager Tools podcast builds on those basics to cover topics like hiring, politics, reviews, and so on.

If it’s management, there’s an episode for it.

Day 120 – Meeting

There’s nothing like 4 attempts at doing the same new thing in a single day. I don’t feel I was very consistent from one to the other, but they were all variations on a general theme. And I think I have some ideas of what I should be taking into the meeting myself.

I’m a big fan of taking notes collaboratively.

I would like to use a OneNote document in a location the direct reports and myself share, so I can create a new page for each weekly meeting and have a separate tab to track outstanding action items and future plans. Unfortunately a slight technical difficulty is preventing me from doing so. According to SharePoint, OneNote documents aren’t quite like any other document. Who knew?

For now, I am using Lync to screen-share an email with the developer, and then I type up the notes as I go along. No hidden agendas, and we both keep a copy of the notes afterwards. It also means that the notes to share are typed up right at the end of the meeting, because I write them as we go along.

I really recommend always keeping meeting notes as you go along and emailing them out straight afterwards. Notes that need to be “typed up later, and I’ll get them to you ASAP” have this habit of ending up on the back-burner, and the backlog just nags at my sense of what I should be doing. It’s less mental effort to do it along the way and then be done as soon as the meeting finishes.

The content needs some tweaking. I figured out different things that I should be asking everyone in each subsequent meeting. I’m keeping notes on these points so that I can be better about that in future meetings.

I also need to see if I can book a room for the not-me side of the meeting. I don’t mind taking frankly wherever I happen to sit, but I really want to be able to give everyone the opportunity to have privacy if needed. Anything to minimise barriers and discomfort.

Also, I’m wondering whether I should arrange similar weekly meetings with my direct business customers. I think the format and structure have something to offer to keep in touch with business needs and keep them informed of what is going on. I might go gauge interest tomorrow.

Now it’s the end of a very full day though, and all other thoughts can wait till tomorrow.

Day 30 – Busy Schedule

Today was one of those days…

7am: The alarm on my phone goes off; usually that means I wake up and catch up on my news-feeds while waiting for the FitBit to also decide to wake me. I haven’t been sleeping so well, so I decide to sleep for that extra half hour this morning.

7.30am: The alarm on my FitBit goes off. I tap madly on my bracelet till it stops buzzing. I consider reading my news-feeds. I close my eyes while trying to steel myself to wake up… and fall back asleep again.

8am: I roll over and realise I have a meeting at 10am that I really do not want to miss. I spend another 15 minutes contemplating the day before I actually decide to wake up.

8.15am: Shower, scales, dress. Then I login to my FitBit account and check how I slept… only to realise my mad tapping apparently didn’t register as a wake-up. I wake up the bracelet anyway and adjust my sleep time in the dashboard. Still only 6.5 hours at best; I don’t seem to sleep anywhere near as much as I always think. I consider making my lunch to take, but I’m in a bit of a rush by now, so I’ll just buy my lunch today.

9am: Time to drive to work, with time for a brief stop along the way at Michel’s to get myself a cappuccino. I decide to be good and have myself a decaf.

9.30am: I arrive at work with enough time to spare for some quick prep for my first meeting. I need to get some sizing details for Atlassian products so that I know what I’m talking about in my Confluence meeting.

10am: I have a meeting to discuss migration onto a more reliable server platform for our Confluence installation. The slot I have set aside is an hour-long, but after about 20 minutes it’s clear we’re on the same page. After finishing the meeting I spend another 15 minutes carefully writing an email to set up the needed actions for the migration. And just enough time to prepare for my next meeting.

11am: A quick meeting to discuss raising a project to do some investigative work on one of our systems. I still have to chase the rest of the invitees separately; some days the world conspires against meetings like these and nobody can turn up. Still, progress is progress, even when it isn’t complete.

11.30am: Between interruptions I start preparing my daily noon catch-up; it is essentially a Scrum meeting without the label.

12pm: At 7 minutes today’s wasn’t the most compact ever, but not far off… I think one time I managed to wrap it up in 5 minutes. Still striving for a new personal best, but there’s just always all this… Stuff!

12.10pm: My next meeting is at 12:30, and looking at the rest of the day, if I do not dash for lunch now, I may not get lunch at all. A quick trip to the local shopping centre and I return with my Sushi; grilled salmon pieces and a vegetable tempura roll.

12.30pm: An online meeting with one of the developers to answer any questions about the presentation he will do next week on Wednesday. Mainly focused on the recording tools, but I hope my suggestions about how to present the content will be some help as well.

13pm: This half hour completely escapes me now. I must have been busy because I was trying to finish something before rushing into my next meeting.

13.30pm: Our weekly Development Managers meeting starting with an hour for security related matters. This was a very long meeting all up, taking close on four hours. But I don’t think we wasted any time along the way, which is a scary thought. By the end I have unfortunately managed to both cancel my gym plans and take Panadol for a building headache. One of these days I’ll get back to the gym again I’m sure!

17.30pm: I leave for home again. Another stop at Michel’s on the way home. Another decaf. After winding down, we have left-overs of last nights’ dinner over Breaking Bad… and now, this post. And then, soon, bed I think.