Weeknotes 2

Weeknotes 2 - What happened this week? Sharing what I learnt in my personal and professional life.

Weeknotes 2
Weeknotes 2 - What happened this week?
Intro 00:00–00:42 / ROI for WFH setup 00:43–06:25 / First contract 06:26–09:12 / Next week 09:13–12:04

This is the second week of writing Weeknotes and I’m always looking to improve, please offer any feedback you have for me!

It’s also the second week of running my own business, Cluster Consulting.

1/ ROI for WFH setups is high

Over the last couple of months I’ve spent time finessing my working from home (WFH) setup and it’s starting to pay dividend by helping keep my productivity levels high throughout the week.

Given the forced remote working nature of our weeks, we spend a lot of time talking via our laptops or computers. I’ve seen the clear benefits from investing in audio, video, and controls.

Audio

Investing in a better audio setup has changed everything for me; having my voice come across in crispy clear quality during video calls helps in a manner of different ways, most importantly my views are more easily understood by those I’m communicating with.

I have a Blue Yeti attached to a arm, which means I can easily push it out of the way when I’m not on video calls and it helps keep my working space clear of cables and stuff, which I can find quite distracting.

Video

Inbuild webcams are the least flattering (and generally low quality) possible options. I’ve seen some folks online suggesting using a big mirrorless DLSR camera to run your video feed through to get the best possible quality of video across — I will investigate this option in the future but for now, that’s a little too pricey for me.

Instead I’ve opted for a 1080p (HD) quality webcam from Logitech, the c920. It’s helped put a solid quality video stream of my face (and curated background) across to folks I’m working with.

Controls

Have you found yourself struggling to find the mute button when the doorbell goes, or scrambling for the ‘leave meeting’ button when the meetings over?

I got very bored of scrambling for these everyday buttons. I’ve invested in a Elgato Stream Deck to solve these problems.

I’ve now got easy access buttons for:

  • Mute
  • Unmute
  • Video off
  • Muting all participants
  • Leaving meeting
  • Open Spotify
  • Current Spotify Album cover
  • Spotify: Previous song
  • Spotify: Next song
  • Record meeting
  • Open Twitter
  • Open Google
  • A clock
  • Open Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Current CPU load
Photo of my Elgato Stream Deck showing the button layout listed above
Image from my Elgato Stream Deck

It’s made my remote working life a lot less frustrating, meetings are almost fun when you strip out the frustrating aspects!

2/ Started my first contract as a limited company

It’s been my first week with a paying client and it’s been a lot of fun — Why didn’t I do this sooner? Being able to get stuck into interesting work is exactly what gets me out of bed in the morning — I love it!

As it’s the end of the month, I’ve sent off my first invoice too. This was a learning curve as my accountants software takes a couple of attempts to get used to the flow. I’ll make a separate video and blog about how I sent off the first invoice, as I had a lot of questions and couldn’t find clear answers online.

I’ve negotiated to work 4 days per week for 12 weeks. My idea is to spend Friday working on building my business, so it has a chance of becoming more than just me in the future. I’m cautious that I don’t want to get ‘stuck’ in the contracting loop and not growing Cluster Consulting further than me.

Next week

  • Keeping myself on track with my Q1 OKR
  • Kick off with the client on an exciting 12 week project
  • Write and record another video

If you enjoyed this blog post, you might also enjoy my YouTube channel!


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