Reflecting on Q2
Wow! Where is the year going? It feels like I only just wrote my Q1 reflections. This time round there is the notable absence of a balcony facing the sea with a hot tub and the very present addition of ridiculously high temperatures.
So because time flies so quickly I’m not sure I’ll keep quarterly reflection up forever but I would like to keep it going for my first year. I think it’s a good way to take a step back every now and again, out of the day-to-day, to see the bigger picture of how Joy is going.
I should say that Q2 had felt quite different Q1 which is even more reason to reflect.
So without further ado, my Q2 learnings.
Getting enough in person time is important for my sanity
Living in a pandemic while the Government maintains there is no pandemic is hard. A different kind of hard we are all learning to deal with but now things have apparently opened up I’m finding myself cobbling together a work life of remote, hybrid, in person and everything in between. I’m still getting to grips with how I handle this but one thing I have learnt is that I need to be intentional about planning time working with others in person.
I’m wondering about starting to build conversations like this into kick off meetings now. So we all understand what everyone is comfortable with and what our patterns can be. This will allow me to try and get into the habit of working from co-working cafes more if I know I have fully remote weeks.
Letting go of leading is a curious thing
This is a whole post in itself. I experienced different project dynamics this quarter which resulted in me feeling that I had to actively step back from leading projects.
Last quarter the projects I worked on had less hierarchy and more collaboration which meant I didn’t really feel the shift as much.
This is something I’m adapting to while also being curious about. I’m wondering what the ingredients of a team are when you can be brought on board to ‘do the doing’ but also be given the respect and space that your experience deserves.
Support networks are important
I had a tough start to this quarter and a bad few days. Not unusual I know but it highlighted the importance of support networks for me — and the type of support I need.
I am doing a bit of an audit in my head of all the networks I’m a part of, which I should keep, which I should ditch, what I use them for and where the gaps are.
My initial hunch is that I’m missing that tight group that you can call on anytime. I’m lucky I have two lovely ex-colleagues that have both offered to be that person so I wonder if that, and my audit, will be enough for now.
I need to start the week with something energising
My partner goes into the office Monday to Wednesday now. He’s got a busy job that means he’s often doing early starts and late finishes. This can be difficult as I see the momentum he has and struggle to match it. One thing that is helping is making sure I start the week with something energising — for me that’s a swim.
I’m quite good at setting boundaries and managing expectations
I think this might stem from my agency background but I’m finding I’m pretty good at managing expectations with the clients and teams I work with. I don’t find it too difficult to set boundaries, especially around when I’ll be working. So far I’ve not worked late nights or weekends and I’m finding it is fully possible to gift myself days off here and there if I manage my diary well.
Planning ahead seems impossible
This is something I want to change next quarter. It might just have been one of the projects I’ve been on but it’s felt impossible to plan more than a week ahead. This is not a fun state to exist in and I’d like to move away from it by having projects planned out in my diary in advance so I know when chunks of activity are happening.
I’m straying away from Joy’s proposition
This is what prompted me to jump into this reflection in the first place. It popped into my head while I was swimming today.
During Q1 I spent a lot of time thinking about Joy’s proposition and the type of work I wanted to do. At the end of Q1 I had a clear idea of what projects I wanted and I adapted Joy’s website.
In Q2 I have not done this type of work! I’m wondering why this is and if it matters. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not wildly different but it’s not on the money so to speak.
I am also wondering about the brand meets service aspect and if this is something I want to continue to push or not.
I want to work on gender inclusion work
I’ve really enjoyed working with DrinkAware and 2CV this quarter. I’ve been able to get stuck into a really meaty challenge that looks at designing for people or any sex or gender but with a medical angle to it.
I really want to do more work in this space. There is so much work to do and every challenge is unique. I’m hopeful I can share the story of this work in the coming months but for now I’m looking forward to the co-design sessions with have with gender diverse people in a couple of weeks time.
My content brings joy
This is a lovely one for me. I’ve got lots of positive feedback about my writing this quarter. I knew I wanted to write more when I launched Joy but I didn’t really know what that looked like.
I was also quite fearful of promoting myself and what I do. I feel like I’ve found a way of producing content that feels right for me, keeps me in people’s minds and connects with people.
I’m trying to push myself a bit more to write more about my actual work and what I do, especially on LinkedIn, and I’m finding I get good engagement when I do which is promising.
What I’d also really like is to get paid for my writing so if you read my weekly posts and know someone who might have a publication my writing would fit with — please tell them about me.
But thank you — to everyone that’s commented, DM’d me, started a conversation by mentioning it — it means a lot.
Lastly I wanted to end on a celebration. I’m pleased to be in the process of agreeing my biggest piece of direct client work to date. I’m even more pleased that I’ll be teaming up with the wonderful Sophie Rankin to deliver this work. More on that soon but a big thank you to Zoe Amar for this work too.
July — September is shaping up to be busy with 2–3 pieces of work on the cards. All three are in the service design and capacity building space which is familiar territory for me so I’m looking forward to seeing what learnings lie ahead.
In the meantime — good luck surviving this heat friends. And if anyone wants to lend me their child’s paddling pool for the week please do reach out!
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