My Typical Day

I’ve been reading quite a few blog posts in a kind of unofficial series started by Colin Devroe, who kicked things off by writing about his typical day and inviting others to do the same. It’s like looking in through a little window on other people’s worlds, which I love – and right now it feels like a great way of connecting with others, which is more important than ever. Sometimes I pick up some productivity tips too!

Matthias Ott recently wrote about his day, and tagged me and a few others, so here’s my day. There are quite a few similarities — we both have children, so both of our schedules are largely dictated by them! — but hopefully enough differences to keep things interesting. If you haven’t already, I urge you to check out the thread and read some of the other posts too.

  • 7:00 – I wake up, occasionally with my alarm, but more often than not by being prodded awake by my 4–year-old, who usually finds his way into our bed during the night. Sometimes I go for a run. I try to run three times a week, and feel much better starting work in the morning knowing that I’ve already done my daily exercise. If it’s not a run day, I get up and make breakfast for me and my son.

  • 8:00—9:00 – I get my son ready for his day of lessons, and myself ready for work. Normally I would walk him to school, but right now the entire country is in lockdown, so we’re homeschooling. It’s important for him to keep a sense of routine, so I make sure he’s dressed and ready before my husband comes down to take over. He doesn’t like to sit still for long, so we often do a CBeebies workout together, or end up playing dinosaurs.

  • 9:00 – Log on for work with a coffee and say “hi” to the rest of the Atomic Smash team. I often have a meeting or two in the morning, and a good couple of hours to work on a project before lunch.

  • 12:00 – I make myself a quick lunch, then take my son for a bike ride (weather permitting). Our lockdown project has been teaching him to ride without stabilisers, which he’s just about mastered. When he’s at school I instead have half and hour on the drum kit before going back to work.

  • 13:00 – Back to work for the rest of the afternoon. This is usually fairly uninterrupted, but we have regular development collaboration sessions every few weeks, where we discuss improvements to our working practices and share any cool new stuff we’ve learned. We regularly get together on Zoom on a Friday for a social chat for the last hour.

  • 17:00 – Finish work and help prepare dinner for the family. My husband and I share cooking duties, but my recipes tend to be more adventurous (i.e. take longer!).

  • 18:30—19:30 – Help clean up after dinner, play with my son, and help him with his homework or reading practice.

  • 19:30—20:30 – Bath time for my son, followed by lots of bedtime stories.

  • 20:30—21:30 – As long as I don’t have any pressing deadlines for talks or articles, my husband and I usually watch something together. Right now we’re watching The Expanse, a sci-fi thriller series.

  • 21:30—23:00 – This is usually my time for coding side projects or writing, although lately I’m struggling to do either. If you’re reading this I probably stayed up way too late to finish it. I get insomnia if I code too late, so I try to stop around to give myself time to decompress. But if I’m deep into something then the time can run away with me.

  • 23:00—23:30 – Bedtime. No matter how tired I am, I always read for a little while before I switch out the light. For me, that’s the most relaxing time of the day.

My day is fairly regimented and there’s not a lot of down time, but having such a (necessarily) strict schedule has served me pretty well over the past couple of years. The short time I have to myself is precious and, for the most, I spend it wisely. I’ve also become pretty good at saying “no” to things I don’t have the bandwidth for. I don’t know if this post contains any useful tips for others, but I hope it gives you a little window into my world the way others have theirs. And perhaps if you’re struggling balancing your time during this pandemic, you’ll know that you aren’t alone.

Read the other posts in this thread

I’m tagging Andy Bell, HJ Chen and Hidde de Vries for the next posts.