A Typical Day at the Office

I’m an early riser. Up at 6am. Run. Shower. Change the baby. Walk the dog. Out the door…

My typical work day starts with a 45 minute commute, including a bus, subway and streetcar (I’m an urban designer, so I go out of my way to look the part). I’m often the first to arrive at the office (keener), so I immediately start some coffee (often before I even take my coat off). With coffee in hand, I quickly scan the daily going-ons, and any of my favourite websites (all planning and design related, of course).

Once it’s time to get to work, I typically start with email. On a good day, this will only be a few messages. On a bad day, this can take up to an hour.

With email out of the way, and (generally) a bunch of new items added to my to-do list, it’s time to get to business. This is where my favourite part of the job comes in. At any given time, I can be working on anywhere from two to ten projects. This is great because provided everything gets done on time, I’m pretty much free to organize my time as I please. Sometimes, if a deadline requires, this means spending all day on one project. If there is a bit more freedom, I can work on a few projects throughout the day to keep things interesting.

As I work away, there are a few things that break up my workflow, including:

  • Phone Calls and Email – While phone calls are quite rare, there is no limit to the amount of emails I receive in a day. If I’m not on an immediate deadline, I’ll usually answer emails as they arrive. Otherwise, it’s all about prioritization.
  • Meetings/Site Tours – Always a nice way to get out of the office (unless you have one of those aforementioned deadlines on the go). Depending on the location and purpose, this can take up an entire day. Bonus – if you schedule your meeting around lunchtime, the client will pay for it.
  • Emergency Tasks – I’m a Type A personality. I like organization, and having my days planned well in advance. Despite my best efforts, I’m regularly faced with unexpected tasks (it’s the nature of the biz). This could require a quick email, or could require multiple days to help on another office deadline.
  • Lunch – My favorite part of the day (on weekends too). I generally try to brown bag it, so I often eat at my desk and follow up on some of the news from the morning. On Fridays, a few of us usually head to a nearby pub for a beer if It’s not too busy.
  • Office Shenanigans – All work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. I work with a bunch of great people, and this makes my days pretty fun. Whether it is chats about music, tech, TV, sports, or ridiculous email chains, I can always count on the coworkers to keep my days fun.

Finally, at the end of the day, I always try to log my hours. It’s no fun to leave this to the end of the week, even if you take pretty solid notes.

Bus. Streetcar. Subway. Home!*

*If on a deadline, it is not uncommon to have to work some overtime. However, I prefer to do this from home (the commute allows me to reset and approach things fresh).

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