Weeknotes #2

w/c Monday 30th of March

w/c Monday 30th of March

It’s my second full week of work and my third in self-isolation with my family. Ontario schools announced this week that they’re definitely closed until May and many are speculating til the end of the school year. Of course we need to take whatever measures to keep the virus manageable, but I’ll be incredibly sad if the schools are closed for the year — both for my own sanity and because it will be such a loss for my 4 year old daughter who really thrives when she’s in class.

Starting and finishing a project.

This week I threw myself head first into the project I’m working on, which is doing a mini-discovery into how the government in Canada compensates users who participate in design research. We do this at CDS but the process is not ideal and we know other departments in the Government of Canada (GoC) struggle with this. Our aim, as always, is to make thing better for both ourselves and everyone else too.

Myself and my team member did 9 interviews this week — an amount I would find challenging if I were working at full capacity, which I’m not. Five of those interviews were on Tuesday and by the end of the day, I felt physically and emotionally drained. Then I spent most of Wednesday analysing the findings on trello, Thursday writing up the final report and now I’m gearing up to present back today.

Next week it’s onto a new team and a new challenge. I’m hoping it will be a bit less hectic, and if it’s not I’m mentally preparing to push back on how much I can commit to.

Imposter syndrome update: still there

As I get ready to wrap up the project, I am plagued with questions running through my head: Did I ask the right questions on my discovery? Did I find out the things my team wanted to know? Many of the findings were things we knew about already, so did my research have value? I asked these questions to my team in standup and they seemed happy with the research but then I start to wonder, are they just being nice Canadians?

At the end of the day, though, I’m happy with what we did, if only for the incredible feat it was getting the amount of work done during a time of pandemic lockdown, and doing all this immediately after coming back from the 9-month brain vacation that is maternity leave (note, I would never imply that mat leave is anything like a vacation, it’s much harder than working in my experience. But for me it was a total brain vacation — I did not think of anything work related at all, at any point.)

I started some important conversations and asked valuable questions. And if it goes nowhere, or if I didn’t ask the questions with the most value — oh well, that learning has value too.

Mental health breaks

This bonkers week has reinforced the importance of saying no to things and taking lots of time for mental recovery. I’ve done a couple of long walks this week to de-stress, just me and the baby and my podcasts. These walks have been my salvation. I’ve also been taking some time with my 4-year-old to explore the empty wooded area near our house. Her imagination and ability to make a fairy tale out of a bleak little spot next to the motorway is pretty inspiring.

I’ve been trying to avoid endlessly scrolling social media by reading fiction. Last night I finished Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie and it was very, very good.