Weeknote Sunday 6th December

Sometimes weeks drift by with only one or two things to write about, and because those things often involve super-commercially-confidential work-stuff I can’t always write about them at all. This has not been one of those weeks.

On Tuesday, I co-wrote an obituary piece about Adam for the PPA, which my old colleagues at Dennis Publishing had kindly thought of me to write (and a massive thank you to James Tye and Tim Danton for this).

I realised after writing this that it wasn’t the first time I have had to write a tribute for a friend who has passed away. A few years ago, Adam asked me to do the same for Paul Nesbitt, MacUser columnist and one of the formative influences on my writing career. Paul was both a brilliant reporter and — in his guise as Paul Hofner — a fantastic musician too. Another of the MacUser polymaths. Doing the annual MacUser columnists’ lunch with Paul, Tony Tyler and Charles Shaar Murray was both an exercise is extreme drunkenness and a huge privilege. The stories that Tony, in particular, would tell about the music business that he had been a close part of for many years while working on the NME were mainly libellous and definitely unprintable.

There’s been a bunch of work stuff too. Completing the first draft of a document to help print teams create better digital content; some work on a Big International Project; some social media auditing. Most importantly, working on the essay for the next module of my M.Sc. coursework, which is all about change management.

The spooky thing about this course has been how the modules have magically mapped on to real world events. We looked at business resilience just as COVID-19 hit, which unsurprisingly meant our assignments were all about looking at our response to COVID-19. This, I will state publicly, was actually incredibly impressive. In particular, the IT teams ability to get a lot of previously desk-bound workers set up to work from home within days was amazing. I’m sure a lot of IT teams did the same, but ours did a brilliant job.

Two things on the personal side. I’ve picked up my meditation practice again: although I have been meditating regularly for a good couple of years it had slipped from daily to a couple of times a week. So, I’m back to daily, as I really feel the need (and feel the difference it makes to my stress levels). Taking a hint from Matt D’Avella, I’m adding a degree of semi-public accountability by having the chart where I mark off the days in the kitchen, rather than just in my notebook. Yes, only Kim can see it: but having that degree of just-enough public notice is important.

I have also picked up my Bullet Journaling practice again. My current notebook is the fifth that I’ve used as a Bullet Journal, but over the past few months I had drifted away from it. As I was spending more time in front of screens than ever, thanks to working from home, I had got it in my head that an all-electronic system would be better.

That meant plenty of faffing with different task managers, note taking apps, and so on — until I ended up just realising that for 90% of my purposes, handwritten is just better.

One other thing from this week: I wrote about 750 words about my experience of post-COVID fatigue. Since I got the dreaded bug back in March I’ve struggled with a level of tiredness (particularly in the afternoons) that I’ve never experienced before. I’m also struggling with whether to write about it or not, at least publicly. It feels like whining — my symptoms are so minor compared to people who got it bad and still really suffer. It affects my work and life but in ways that can be worked around and managed. Perhaps I’ll publish it, though. I don’t know yet.

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