Mindful diary: and still she persisted

Sunset at Porthleven

We’re down in Cornwall for a week enjoying walking, eating and a daily attempt to capture the perfect sunset shot from the local pub. Its been a hectic 6 months so its also time for some reflection and some thinking about the intent that I want to set for the next few months — until the first week of January which is my usual point in the year for taking stock.

My previous mindful diary posts are here — part of my resolution to get back into regular blogging and more reflexive practice again and it has largely been working. However — its a system that needs regular firebreaks and also quite a lot of planning — it doesn’t work if you end up entirely in a reactive mode. For me, the main thing I am trying to achieve is a sense of agency in my own diary and in how I use my time becuase I want to keep a balence between thinking and doing in my work.

The current mindful diary looks like this:

  • Using the blogging to set my intent for the week. This works brilliantly but clearly depends on having time and the inclination to write…
  • 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
  • A day planner — a blow by blow list of meetings and why I am having them each day — this one I highly recommend

New hacks to this are:

 — Reserving more time (6 hours a week) which I don’t schedule until the week before so that I have time to respond to things as they arise rather than ending up with a bit of a car crash when urgent things pop up

 — We are creating more forums for collective decision making in both of the main teams I am part of — accepting that we know we will need to spend time discussing and deciding things even if we don’t know in advance what this will be. I am particularly pleased that this is not just about operational decision making — we’re making time for more strategic thinking as well.

In terms of setting my intent from now until Christmas — apart from the desire to actually send Christmas cards BEFORE Christmas — my main resolutions are:

  • Make sure that the leadership structure we have put in place beds down and starts to hum
  • Work on the governance for the larger programmes we have kicked off to make sure it is designed so that we get a good combination of agile and larger system governance
  • Get out and about and meet some more of the people in my new sector (hint – do say hello and I am shamelessly looking for invites – I will buy coffee) – I want to do some network building internally and externally.
  • Making progress on digital devolution, working in the open and also creating our multidisciplinary playbook

As the famous (paraphrased) saying goes – no plan survives contact with reality – I will let you know if this one survives a return from the beautiful West Country.

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