Restarting old activities
It has been a while since I posted a blog here on these pages.
It seems that the last 18 months or so have been a whirlwind of unexpected challenges with Covid, of course, having a major impact but also the move of the main seat of our business from the UK to Catalunya in Spain.
And these changes are linked.
Covid creates a new work environment where these days interactions with clients almost exclusively happen virtually. This is something I talked about in a blog posting when the pandemic was only just under way. I would argue that many are still in the discovery mode I mentioned there.
At the same time, running our business from our home in Spain created an even more explicit environment to our mix work and private lives. Perhaps more so than we expected.
We have now various clients that we never met face-to-face. The entire engagement from opportunity identification, through to the commercial agreements and the actual delivery happening over Teams. I am not sure I saw that coming. Clients discover that for much of the work we do, we don’t need to travel and incur the associated cost and, with Covid still so prevalent, the increased risk of infection.
It certainly distracted me from created regular blog postings.
My guess is that many who run small, specialised, businesses like we do may have suffered the same.
We simply do not have the bandwidth to actively develop new operating models and do the necessary delivery that -in the end- pays the bills.
I most certainly discovered that it takes time to actively work with the emergent new ways of working. To do that consciously whilst understanding the risk, issues, and the impact of those.
I think we are there now, and therefore I can start focusing on this like this blog!
Too much going on
Those of us who are able to work from home (more) tend to be able make our working days more flexible. Execute private things like -say- cooking (a hobby of mine) or doing physical exercise, etc., between virtual meetings. But at the same time there is no actual end to the working day, because that laptop is just always there. And, it is easy to move reading time, responding to emails etc to it being an evening activity. I, for one, send and receive emails through the later hours of my evening. Later than before.
It doesn’t surprise me that working from home seems to increase productivity. See for instance this article from Apollo Technical from January this year.
But, this requires a different way of planning the day.
Both in a work environment and privately, I hear people say that there is too much going on to plan their time as they did before.
This made me think.
I already block out parts of my day to ensure I can get things done instead of being overwhelmed in virtual meetings all day long, as many others do.
One observation that seemed useful is that many people seem to use (parts of) their Fridays to deal with ‘stuff’ that occupies their brains and give in the attention it deserves before the weekend starts.
Since many do that then -logically- also allows others to do so.
It becomes an emergent working pattern that isn’t imposed on people but organically happens because of the many interdependencies that exist in our day-to-day lives.
So, I am creating a new feature in my working life.
I call it Friday Focus.
A day in which I try to minimise the chaotic mix of the rest of the working week and organise items in my brain.
One step further could be to combine this Friday Focus idea with what I once referred to as Executive Sparring. It’s no coincidence that the chosen image with this post is not dissimilar to the one that accompanied that article.
Can we use the new digitised world, with the ideas of Friday Focus to create a virtual safe and discrete environment that the Executive Sparring blog referred to?
To offer our thoughts, ideas and concerns to others around us and use our Fridays to get new challenges, ideas and insights?
I would be willing to give that a go.