Weeknotes, 6th January 2023

After saying that I couldn’t get into the weeknotes format in a recent blog post, I’ve decided – probably foolishly – to give it another go. I’m trying to build more reflection time into my life, and this seems as good a way as any.

So, this week I:

  • Eased myself back into work by tackling some admin: bookkeeping, emails, client onboarding, contract prepping, project planning, etc. This stuff isn’t really a good use of my time; I’m not an expert at it, and I don’t enjoy it, so I shouldn’t be doing it (going by the very smart advice I got from coach Julia Chanteray a while back). But I can’t afford to pay someone else to do it right now. I’m hoping there will be some tipping point where it will save more than it costs to hire someone to do this, but I’m not there yet.

  • Wrote my first 10 Things email of the year. 10 Things is another time (and money) drain that I worry about sometimes, but I enjoy doing it, and I see it as an investment in my community and my business. This edition is partly about AI writing tools, so I had some fun mucking about with Chat GPT in the process. It’s safe to say I won’t be outsourcing writing to AI or worrying about my job just yet. (You can check out Ten Things here.)

  • Started developing a new content stream for my blog, a content agony aunt column. This was off the back of Ten Things; one of the nicest things about doing it is all the people who get in touch with intros, questions, and comments. The questions are especially great: they almost always reflect issues that I know so many of us are tackling at work. So I thought I’d try putting them into a column. Got a dilemma? Submit it here.

  • Worked on user and stakeholder interview guides for an intranet project. I went back to one of my first ever solo projects for inspiration for this. It was good to see that some work from almost five years ago still held up to scrutiny and was worth reusing.

  • Spent a few hours working in my studio with the client for that intranet project, doing a deep dive into the project. I found it invigorating, and I think it was a good use of our time too. Remote, asynchronous working is incredibly important to me, but I want to do more of these face-to-face working sessions again too.

  • Attended Abby Covert’s IA office hours, which is part of The Sensemakers Club. I joined the group because I have a weird relationship to IA. I do it all the time, my designs perform well in user testing, my clients are very happy, and yet…I have this niggling doubt that I shouldn’t be doing this because I’m ‘just’ a content strategist. I have the same thing with service design too. And I used to feel this way about content strategy when I was a content producer/editor. We talked about this a bit in the group, and Abby gave me some very reassuring advice.

  • Spent some time working on a knotty IA and content model project that was beginning to feel unsolvable. I got unstuck thanks to a combination of:

    • diagramming to develop my understanding of how the subject matter fits together

    • a spreadsheet to start loggin and structuring matrixes of pages, content types, attributes, and questions.

That feels like a good place to wrap up, because ‘diagrams and spreadsheets’ is a pretty good way of summarising my work.

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