Weeknotes Season 5 Episode 08

Posted Sun 28th Feb 2021 approx. 2 min read

Mystery Boxes

Weeknote that I nearly didn’t do, but then read some others which encouraged me.

The big event of last week was leaving the house and spending a day in the office. Setting aside the strange feeling of being an intruder due to the eery silence around the place, it was the first time i’ve undertaken this part of my new role. Something as mundane as ordering storage boxes full of unidentified files and working out whether the contents of the boxes match the destruction dates on the outside.

If all that sounds arcane – it’s because it is. There are things called retention schedules which are used to decide how long the organisation keeps records. This can vary from month after an event to as much as 70-80 years in the case of pension records, workplace hazards, that kind of thing.

The bulk of the records we keep in in the range to make them useful, often around the 6-7year mark, meaning that there should be a rolling program of deleting old stuff, and in theory all the new records should be digital. Unsurprisingly that’s someway off, meaning that old fashioned looking boxes and recording what you find is what I was up to. Not to everyone’s taste, but I found it fun. It was also super revealing in how ignorant I am about the myriad processes that go on in a university to make it work. I’m sure that would be the same in any large organisation, but fascinating, nonetheless.

I tried to spend. Bit of time this week planning work without getting too bureaucratic and it really helped by focusing on 4-5 tasks per day, not something i’ve really tried before.

Had a lovely meeting about accessibility where I didn’t have to explain why it was important.

Finished the week producing reports on a crucial spreadsheet that i’m in the middle of updating. In that funny place of knowing that I only want that to be an interim solution, but also acknowledging that excel is pretty quick and useful to rapidly knock the Information into shape before I make it a central part of better workflows and processes.