Mindful diary: the early years

Pulborough brooks at sunset

I’ve not blogged for a while for no other reason than the weather has been so lovely I have not wanted to spend time inside unless I have to. Weather now permitting (and in fact demanding) some inside time here we go.

My efforts at mindful diary and coming together – its still a work in progress but this is what the shape of it look like:

  • Using the week notes to set my intent for the week. This works brilliantly but clearly has suffered from the lack of blogging
  • Planning the week ahead as a close down to the week before – this is really a check of the diary for the week ahead to make sure I don’t need more than an hour to prep for anything plus making sure I start the week with a tidy todo list
  • Drop in times in the diary have been really successful for me as it gives me a buffer where I can make sure I see members of the team at short notice when the diary is packed – though in all good conscience I should advertise these more widely as at the moment they are working well as an overspill for other work
  • Co-locating with one of the programme teams that we are getting up and running is really great twice a week – even when you are not there much its a great way to make sure you stay in touch with a particular group
  • My latest innovation is a day planner – a blow by blow list of meetings and why I am having them each day – this one I highly recommend.

Its all about rituals – and really needs thinking about in the context of culture and how we as as team working together. How do we make some of these planning rituals more shared?

The two hours on a train each day remarkably remains a game changer – however much I dislike commuting having 2 hours a day to get my head down is valuable. I still think I am spending too much time in meetings – but I hope that changes to the operational leadership of the team are going to mean that this will reduce both as a result of needing fewer 121 meetings but also because it will be easier to delegate stuff that other people can do better than I can.

My other internal wrestling match is a familiar one which is my desire to carry on thinking and doing – as I may have said before I have a developing theory that the reason that so many people reach a certain point in their career and start wanging on about leadership is because they don’t get the chance to get close enough to the work. Speaking as someone who is about to kick off experimentation across the whole population of an organisation I want to stay close to this – so the question becomes how to carve out meaningful time to participate in the work without either skewing the process and power on the way.

This week will be a combination of contining to work the thinking/doing problem but mainly about making sure the new team structure is properly settled — we’ve lots to do and its important we are organised in the best way to do it.

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