We're always curious to hear how our members and contributors tackle the challenges that the ever-changing world of L&D throws at them. We've got a wealth of experience and knowledge across the site, and what better way to showcase the diversity of our community than to get them to walk us through an average day?
Want to tell us about your way of working? Email us at email@example.com, or let us know in the comments below.
Perry Timms is a business consultant and the founder & director of PTHR. He is also a regular contributor to HRZone on the topics of social media & communities. So, Perry, tell us about your average day...
An insatiable learner
Contrary to popular belief, I do sleep - just not much more than 5 hours, and I’m not always on social networks. I am though, always “on”; up for work, learning, conversations and the like.
I am one of those with about 20 books on the go at any given time - my Kindle reading list as large as most people’s inboxes - and I devour TED talks, Harvard Business Review articles, blogs and features like a lot of people do. I describe myself as an insatiable learner.
I am often on trains - and normally that’s around 06:30. I do some of my best work in the morning (by my own self-assessment) but if I’ve tried to design a workshop or draft a feature the evening before, it often comes to me like a flash in the morning on that train. So I don’t read the paper or listen to music or watch movies, my MacBook is open from the start to the end of the journey and work is happening.
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I open a Chrome Browser and load up my GMails and Calendar. Clients email me but everyone else I work with uses different channels. I use Slack as a board to keep in touch with the people I work with the most; Twitter for some contacts and clients; and Asana as a project management/to-do list tool to keep a track of my work. Before I know it, I’ve got 11 tabs open across 3 browser windows and 4 apps running in the background.
I get the tube, I read from a Kindle book that takes my fancy that day or that I’m reading as part of research work for me or a client. Today it was Jeffrey Pfeffer’s Leadership BS. The day then descends into a mixture of meetings, Skype chats, and if on site with clients : design workshops; learning-type delivery sessions; coaching conversations or keynote speeches.
My Mum and Dad still don’t really get what I do for a living...
My Mum and Dad still don’t really get what I do for a living - all they know is people contract with me to help them do different, better, progressive stuff in their workplaces.
I count myself lucky as I don’t have to go through what I’d call the hardcore of working life: so no pay scales recalculations, employee relations or for me. Most of my work is about new ways of working and leading; communicating, involving and innovating across levels in organisations and latterly, helping companies be more self-managed and liberate their people to achieve greater things and be more fulfilled in their work. My Mum and Dad get that.
07:00 - Finish the train journey with either a blog drafted; presentation built; Asana and Slack check-ins sorted and any meetings known in terms of location and duration.
09:00 - First meeting of the day - not a client or a colleague but someone who wants to chew the fat and seek advice. It’s often these conversations where you can help the person concerned and others you know. There’s no money in this but goodwill counts and so does being helpful. You are reminded of just how much (and who) you know when given an opportunity to help someone think about their business proposition. First flat white of the day and several glasses of water. Cards exchanged and a good chat.
You are reminded of just how much you know when given an opportunity to help someone
10:30 - On site with client. A MASSIVE Central American company who want to build on their commercial successes with human successes. Some of the most forward-looking; human-oriented and uplifting elements are being proposed. The Group CEO wants it all but the regional CEOs need some persuading; it’s where a ton of things I know, believe in and can connect the company to come into play. We agree a follow-up and I’m presented with an awesome gift - something hand-made which now sits proudly in my home-office.
12:00 - Travel to quiet coffee shop for a Skype to the USA. New client; early conversation about scoping the work - very vibrant chat. Chai Tea this time.
13:00 - Catch up with a messages from people as I’ve been absorbed for about 4 hours. Browse social networks and curate some stuff into Evernote for later reading.
14.00 - Skype to Bulgaria. With a freelancer like me, exchanging thoughts on the world. Potential speaking gig in the future in Sofia around the Teal organisation concept. Flat white number 2 is ordered. Remembered haven’t eaten for a while, so one of those seeded carob bars ordered with the flat white. A muffin would’ve been nicer but it does the job.
15:00 - Respond to emails and Slack posts; update Asana tasks from the morning’s discussions. Nice to have some quiet time and chat with people online and do some organisation of work and stuff to do.
19:00 - Dinner is a nice soup with croutons. A leisurely catch up on the day’s news and my wife’s day. Dive into Evernote and read on the day’s best features.
22.00 - Skype to Texas and a new business partner / collaborative venture. A LinkedIn connection turned into a meeting of minds, souls and aspirations. This could be a good one for both and was a really nice chat that felt like it was in person.
My days are either varied and excitable meetings and catch-ups or full-on blocked-out days with clients. I seem to experience stuff in a day that some people spread out over a week. That’s by design and is that curiosity overdrive I have.
I seem to experience stuff in a day that some people spread out over a week.
I’ve had a ton of people offer advice on how to slow it down, spread it out and do it differently. I love it like this and it’s very much me and how I choose to live so I’ve politely declined their advice and kept to my own groove, tempo and ways of being.
Now, tell us…
What would you say are your main passions or things you champion within learning & development?
Easy one this - self-managed learning (and by nature, self-organised and self-managed work). I’ve experienced a shift in how I like to learn; to what I want to learn and not what others feel I need. I call it a curriculum of chaos: Opportunistic, random and yet all interconnected.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Designing for clients around their issues, ideas and inspiration. I seem to appeal to companies who want something different so I can’t honestly remember the last boring piece of work I personally had come my way. My projects are often awesome, interesting and challenging for all the right reasons.
One tip you’d pass on to your peers?
If you don’t love what you do, change it. If you don’t know how or what to change it to, then love the learning that will help you find something you love doing.