Week 19 of 2020 brings weekly outlining, failed DIY, Luke Murphy in lockdown, a new hearables store, Elton John on vinyl, Wired mag, Killing Eve, Workin’ Moms and Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen.
A four-day week before the VE Day / May Bank Holiday hybrid allowed many of us to cram 5 days work into 4. The goods news was I passed my probation on Monday so that put my mind at ease that all my efforts so far are pleasing management and the company.
Considering workload and prioritisation, this might be a good week to describe my typical process to organise the week’s agenda.
- Monday morning, I copy a OneNote template with the typical outline for a week, each weekday as a heading. This includes regular meetings with times and daily/weekly actions that are standard issue (coincidentally including “provide weekly update”).
- I then go through the previous week’s outline pulling out any unfinished actions, compiled in a “This Week” list at the top of my OneNote.
- I then prioritise this list along with any extra actions for the coming week.
- As I start each day, I add in extra meetings and actions, sometimes rolling over from previous days.
- As daily meetings and actions occur, I tend to add extra lists beneath each item, include any further actions, even link out to extra notes when they get quite long (or require extra structure).
- I then use these documents for my weekly report, edit out sensitive information, shared with my line manager and team for visibility and audit trails.
I’ve found this system works quite well for me as I can also embed links, images (such as screenshots) and other Office docs directly in the weekly notes.
This is an evolution of a previous technique that used Bear on macOS and iOS instead but, for privacy reasons and financial legislation, I’ve had to adapt it to a Windows & Office environment.
Lockdown continues in Jobling Manor and, as we entered the extended weekend, we planned out a variety of DIY projects (in our new Trello board) including kitchen tiling/grouting, downstairs shower replacement and iMac SSD upgrade. Unfortunately, none of them got done due to unexpected missing parts. Lockdown certainly hampers any unplanned DIY with most shops either being closed or only offering collection planned around bank holiday closures.
One success was replacing The Boy’s front bicycle wheel which allowed us to go for a cycle around the nearby countryside. It was only as we got to 10km that the gear changes stopped working on both bikes. A slow, difficult ride home in the heat concluded in some extra handiwork fixing those. Riding over the A14 on a Saturday afternoon seemed eerily quiet though (see the featured image).
Meanwhile, Boris has just presented the next phase of lockdown. Typically ambiguous and open to interpretation, it looks like manual workers will be eased back into their jobs in safe environments. Hospitality may be phased back in July which is quite a gamble for my 40th birthday efforts so I’ll be considering alternative plans to celebrate. Beer + Zoom + (new) hot-tub = plenty potential for hilarity and debauchery.
The first episode of Make Life Work “Home Edition” came out this week. Recorded Monday and released Thursday, my chat with Luke felt quite natural and the shorter format definitely works better for faster turnaround. We used Zencastr for the recording but Luke suggested Zoom for future episodes. Having video available will certainly make the conversation feel more natural and individual audio tracks will help production. Plus EVERYONE is on Zoom right now so easy for access.
At the weekend, I also remembered a random domain purchase from last year. On a whim, I noticed hearables.store was available so grabbed it. I thought I’d give Shopify a go which certainly made the job easy, especially with auto-fulfilment through integrated providers. It needs a lot of love but it was quite motivating to get my first online store operational in 24 hours.
This week, it’s been all about classic tech. I plugged my old Gemini XL-500 record player into the Marshall Stanmore speaker with a phono cable but it reminded me the output needs a pre-amp. After that, I bought a transformer to power up a briefcase record player. Result! Now we can play all our old vinyl at a decent volume in the games room. Cue Elton John’s Greatest Hits from the 80s. The sound is definitely superior to digital – you can almost feel the beats and guitar strums as they pour out the Marshall.
Back to current times, I also eyed up a brand new 13″ MacBook Pro as an early birthday treat. I hovered over the purchase button for all of ten minutes before indulging. But, after an unexpected electricity bill of similar value, the order was cancelled. Something for next month hopefully.
I’ve taken a break from my Kindle this week, instead spending my daily half hour read catching up on some unread Wired magazines. I do love the tangible feel of printed media, especially the delightful weight of Conde Nast’s publications, but I am in a bit of dilemma as a tech and green advocate – especially as I’m reading about new tech, eco startups and the concerns of socio-political issues.
On TV, we’ve been continuing to enjoy Killing Eve on BBC iPlayer and the new series of Workin’ Moms on Netflix.
Saturday night, we also had a “grown up” movie night with The Gentlemen on YouTube. Guy Ritchie does make an enjoyable gangster flick and Hugh Grant played his alternative character quite well but it didn’t quite have the typical depth or twists compared to the likes of Lock Stock or Snatch.