So this is the end of week one of 2017. What did I spend the week doing?

A Nozbe view
A Nozbe view

Well, to answer that, I’m going to start by going back a couple of years: back then, in Jan and Feb 2015 I was looking at Pagico as a “getting things done” (GTD) tool. I ended up not choosing Pagico, but I did within a few weeks settle on using nozbe

… and I’m still using it, nearly every day! The picture above is a screenshot of my active projects this afternoon, most of which arose from deadlines from last year.

Without (today) getting into the details of how I use Nozbe, I’ll just say that this was the list of projects which I expected at the beginning of the week that I might want, or need, to be working on during the week. (There are loads of other projects I’m working on, or need to work on, that are managed in my Nozbe, but I didn’t expect to have to put a lot of work on them this week, although the odd task did come up and get done). Of course, in the best traditions of what Harold McMillan might have said, and Helmuth von Moltke did say, my plans don’t always survive the inbound email and the demands therein, but you have to start somewhere …

As it happened, I didn’t need to work on all of those things this week (LTS), or didn’t find the time (C3S Magic Lot2, chasm and foresight, so I’ll explain those a bit more when I do have something to say) - which in the case of chasm and foresight will of necessity be after next week, because things have to be done on those next week.

So this week, I did spend time on

  • (Reorganising Bryan) Early Monday morning I put the finishing touches on a proposal for how my job description should be rewritten (I’ll have a lot more to say about this another day, but this is part of the “consequences” I alluded to in my last post).
  • (NC Commissioning of CEDA) We (CEDA) had been asked to produce a five page vision statement on the strategic need for NERC’s national capability spending on data management and it was due on Friday. My colleagues had produced some bullet points I might want to consider in this document, and on Monday (yes, that public holiday Monday) and Tuesday I produced the document in time to circulate it to colleagues late Tuesday for feedback on Wednesday. I finished it and submitted it on Thursday. This is part of a large body of work which has been carried out over the last couple of years to allow NERC to change the way it commissions its data management support. There will be more to do on this before the new commissioning is complete … but for the moment I have no active tasks in this project. Bliss.
  • (HPC Replacement) I am responsible for a grab bag of activities associated with HPC replacement for NERC. This week the major task was producing a draft summary for NERC of options to share a new HPC platform with the Met Office to replace the existing MONSOON machine which is due to be turned off at the end of March. I sent the new draft off to Met Office colleagues on for fact checking … (MONSOON is a shared HPC platform to allow model development under the auspices of the Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme.)
  • (CF) NCAS invests considerably in supporting the Climate and Forecast conventions for NetCDF. As part of preparing for commissioning that activity within Long Term Science (LTS, so now you know what that acronym means), key NCAS staff had a three hour meeting on Wednesday morning. It was a wide ranging discussion, covering many things, and leaving us all with some actions to help support CMIP6, as well as deal with the commissioning activity.
  • (EPSRC Data Science Bid) I am leading a bid from the University of Reading, STFC, and NCAS, for EPSRC funding for data science. At this stage we need an outline bid. I finished that off and circulated it to colleagues as well as had several physical and virtual conversations about it.
  • (PhD supervision) I try to meet at least weekly with my PhD student. Sometimes I have to do things, sometimes I have to chase up on things. This week was really easy, I just had to sit and listen to the cool things he’d done since I saw him before Christmas.
  • (CF Data Model Paper) We have a paper trying to clarify a common understanding of some aspects of CF nearing completion. I didn’t have anything I needed to do at the beginning of the week, and the outstanding tasks might not ever need doing, but I still spent some time talking about it with my co-authors and contributing to some new diagrams - it had to be a priority because as one gets really near submission it’s important that we can discuss things together while we all have the details at our fingertips (i.e at the top of our mental stacks).
  • (JASMIN Funding) In many ways the most significant thing I have done in recent years is instigate and lead on the delivery of the JASMIN supercomputer. The big issue at the moment is hardware replacement and the necessary upgrades to storage which follow from everyone’s pesky habit of creating more data. This week I’ve been producing technical and financial scenarios associated with a range of possible funding futures. This is tedious but necessary stuff, and took most of Thursday, Friday, and a few hours today (Sunday).

I also processed a lot of incoming email. “Processed” in the sense that I did one of the following things with all of it (thanks to Nozbe I have nearly email inbox zero):

  • I deleted it.
  • I filed it (in evernote, or in gmail archive)
  • I responded to it (which may or may not have required some work)
  • I put it in Nozbe to do at some future time.

Not a very exciting week, but a lot of important (I think) stuff done. I hope that some of the thing I have to say in future blog posts will be more interesting …