This is how I work… give or take.

As nominated by Amanda (and wow, thanks by the way), here is my version of this post.

Location: The North West. I live near Chorley, I work in Blackpool. I am very proudly Northern. 
Current Gig: Product Owner for Care in DWP
Current mobile device: Personal Samsung S7Edge, work iPhone. Definitely an android girl at heart. 
Current computer: Surface Pro 4 and Macbook (work) and an old SP (personal)
One word that best describes how you work: So, I’ve seen openly and authentically, from Amanda and @jukesie. I’m going to go for positively, because I believe that what I do makes a difference.

First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.

I was born in Carlisle and grew up in Lytham St Annes. I loved (loved) school, and did well. I played the saxophone in a number of bands and spend a lot of extra time at school at practice.

I went to university in Lancaster to study English Literature. I had wanted to go to Lancaster for ages (probably because we used to drive past it so often on the M6 on the way to Carlisle), but I found it a lot harder than I thought I would, and I struggled to find work after graduating. I did two 6 month temp jobs at BAe and the NHS, and then joined the Civil Service as a direct entrant EO.

I was given a job as a team leader in a Contact Centre. I stayed there for six years, which was far longer than I should have, most of the time as site coach. I got very comfortable: I could do the job, I liked the people, and it offered stability whilst things changed in my personal life.

I left in 2009 and did various roles in the Department in change, planning and performance, fraud and error. I have always been keen on personal development, but never found the bit I wanted to develop into.

And then I found user centred design and the work that the Department were doing in Digital. I did some work on customer insight, moved to an Associate PO position, and got my PO wings in February this year.

Take us through a recent workday.

On a typical office day it looks something like this →

I get up at 06:30. Ok 06:40.

I drive to work, usually in convoy with my husband who works in the same town but not on the same site. I listen to Radio 2.

I’m generally at my desk by 07:50. Get both computers set up and use the first hour or so to catch up on emails and chat with the team.

Stand up is at 10, then it’s team time or meetings.

I bring my lunch in, but it varies between soup, sandwiches and salads depending on the time of year. I always have a big flask of juice that I drink through the day. I tend to eat at my desk whilst working. I have tried to start changing this but it hasn’t worked as yet. Maybe a resolution for the New Year?

More of the same, and then I try to leave by 17:00. The time the drive home takes varies depending on when I managed to leave, and if the rest of the world has also tried to get an early dart. My husband and I try to chat on the way home if we’re both driving so the day’s download is out of the way before we get home, but if that’s not possible it’s generally a CD and a good sing along to a musical.

We try to cook at home as often as possible, and try to eat by 19:00. I put my work phone on to charge when I get home and turn it off once that’s done, but if the team need me urgently they can get me on Slack. Then relax! I’m an introvert and really relish the time at home to recharge.

What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you live without?

My phone for Twitter, Insta, Whatsapp, Slack, and trainline if I’m travelling. My kindle (or sometimes a real life book).

What’s your best shortcut or life hack?

Goodness, this is a hard one!

Yep, still struggling.

Oh okay. If you use the wrong pen on a whiteboard, then scribble over it with proper whiteboard pen and it’ll all wipe off. Honestly it will.

Take us through an interesting, unusual, or finicky process you have in place at work.

Travel and hotel bookings. So much harder than it needs to be.

How do you keep track of what you have to do?

I write a lot. I have a pencil case of different coloured pens and various cards that I write on. I action point in my notebook whilst I’m at meetings and tick pages off when everything is completed.

And I use the tasks in Outlook for my work emails, tasks and follow ups.

What’s your favourite side project?

I really enjoy weeknoting as a reflective practice, and I’m running the social media for a local branch of Guide Dogs.

What are you currently reading, or what do you recommend?

I’m currently reading the Woman in the Window which is a thriller. I set myself a challenge to read 52 books this year, and this in number 67. The one I’d recommend most is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Ooh, the fun bit! I’m going for Louise Cato, Joanne Rewcastle, Jenny Vass, Ian Ames and Dan Barrett

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Seize the day as life advice. In terms of microactions, Digital Voices earlier in the year gave me so much, particularly in terms of minding my language and standing tall.