A (Work)Day in the Life

May 7, 2020

I used to work from home one day a week — usually Mondays. As of March 16th all of us at TNP are working from home until June 1st at the earliest. Here is a typical work-from-home day…

7:30 – My alarm goes off. If I actually travel to work, it’s set for 5:45. I don’t know how I’ll ever go back to that.

7:45-8:25, depending on laziness – Go downstairs to the office.

8:26 – Turn laptop on, connect it to large monitor, press the USB switcher button that switches my mouse and keyboard from the desktop to the laptop

8:27 – Windows update. Another one! I just had one two days ago. Go upstairs with WM and make breakfast. Sometimes yogurt, sometimes oatmeal. Always coffee. Start a load of laundry.

me, dressed like a slob holding a cup of coffee
So profesh.

Outfit: Leggings, tee-shirt, sweatshirt, Mickey Mouse beanie, socks, slippers. The downstairs is on a concrete slab so I’m always chilly. I’m also running a space heater.

8:40 — Update done. Breakfast happily consumed while I check email and update my bullet journal with the day’s tasks and projects.

I keep a bullet journal for work — NOT a bullet journal that you see on Pinterest but the original super-minimalist version that bullet journals were supposed to be before they became arts and crafts projects.

Unpopular opinion: If you show me a bullet journal spread and I see not one bullet, it’s not a bullet journal.

The bullet journal method is easy and has really improved my focus. See here for details on how it works. I see what didn’t get done yesterday and migrate those tasks to today’s date, plus writing in scheduled meetings. Today there is a 12-noon all-staff meeting (zoom), a 3pm meeting with my manager (zoom or phone), a 4pm webinar (zoom) followed by a 5pm networking happy hour (aaaand zoom). I’m co-facilitator of the happy hour.

9:15 – Get to work. This morning I’m doing some email outreach to members, but the BIG THING I’m working on is a Power BI dashboard that attempts to quantify how much our members are engaged with what TNP offers them. Oh, and I’m teaching myself Power BI as I go. The best way for me to learn something is to just dive in with an actual project. I created some views on our test database which pulls the data, I think I have correct formulas, and I sketched what I want the dashboard to look like in OneNote.

I keep overviews of my projects in the bullet journal, but the details live in OneNote because it’s easy to share across the organization.

screenshot of a poorly sketched graph
I love the ability to draw in OneNote. Right after this the battery died in my pencil.

10:25 – Stretch legs, move half of the wet clothes from washer to dryer. Our dryer is slowly fading away; therefore, we have to run loads smaller than what the washer can handle.

10:45 – WM tells me that it’s cold in here because we never turned the heat back up when we woke up. Makes sense.

11:55 – Remove my hat (it warmed up!) and apply eyeliner and lipstick for Zoom meeting #1. We talk about COVID-19 every week because our members are the ones in the hospitals treating the worst of it. We have 2 doctors heading our organization and 1 of them is still practicing in a hospital setting. It’s good to have leadership that understands science AND has common sense. If only that was the case federally. Anyway, the message every week is that this shit is serious. Our return to work date is still June 1, but now it’s tentative. We’re urged to use our PTO even though we’re home. I request next Friday off, and consider taking off the week that we’re going to return to the office. Maybe two.

12:41pm – LUNCHTIME! My go-to these days is a hot ham and cheese sandwich on whatever bready product we have, toasted. It’s dead easy. Heat up some deli ham and slap a store brand American cheese product single (the kind that come individually wrapped) on top until it melts. You can do this in a microwave, but we don’t have a microwave so I use a pan. It’s still only takes a few minutes. After eating, I switch the second half-load of laundry into the dryer and cut some pineapple to freeze for homemade Dole Whips later.

Here’s my pandemic privilege…our food supply is fine. We (okay WM not me) shop in person at Walmart for groceries so the food situation is not bad at all. And for years now I’ve purchased extra club packs of meat to freeze for the summers when WM doesn’t draw a paycheck, so we have that to fall back on. My hoarding talent has always been strong.

And that’s how I have the best Dole pineapples that a Walmart in New Jersey can provide during a pandemic in May. They are probably AWFUL but when you don’t know better, you don’t know better.

1:30pm – Back to work on this dashboard. Some days I don’t leave my desk at all for lunch. Those days usually coincide with rainy weather. Today is sunny!

2:25pm – I have Power BI Pro but apparently I can’t share my reports with people who don’t, which is most of the rest of my organization. This … is batshit crazy. Despair, agony. I put it aside for the day.

Zoom lipstick is Burt’s Bees Redwood Forest. Sustenance by Frito-Lay. Also, a selfie stick with a light is a gamechanger!

2:59pm – Time to touch up my lipstick for …

3:00pm – another Zoom Call. My yearly performance review. It went well.

4:00pm – Webinar, put on by the association that I’m a member of. More Zoom. It’s also COVID-19 related, since COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the association sphere. Decompressing a bit with some Cool Ranch Doritos. I’m also folding laundry.

laptop and pile of laundry
TELL ME you’ve never done this during a conference when you’re not on camera.

Webinar Quote: “An idiot with a plan can beat a genius without a plan.” – Warren Buffet
Blog Quote: “But an average person with a plan beats both. So don’t be an idiot.” – Kim Russell

4:50pm – You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I keep a scarf in my desk drawer for when I need to look vaguely more professional. And this is a networking happy hour. With my scarf on, my Walmart sweatshirt looks like a green sweater. I also run upstairs to mix my drink, because I need to be online at 5.

5:00pm – Drink mixed. It’s pineapple juice, coconut rum, triple sec and ice poured over a muddled strawberry. It’s missing ONE THING which I can’t put my finger on but it’s still really, really good. The Happy Hour (also Zoom) goes well, fewer people than we’d liked but everyone still chatted.

mixed drink
Just tropical enough.

5:46pm – And my work day is DONE. I make a point to log out of my work laptop and switch everything over to my desktop computer, or else I will drift into and out of work mode the rest of the evening.

At first I missed the office terribly, but I have really fallen into a groove, and can easily see myself working from home all of the time. I told my manager today that if they need people to volunteer to work from home full time for next few months, I’m his person. Barring that, I’m secretly hoping I can go 3 days from home / 2 from the office when we go back in June.

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  • SMD May 7, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    I think I’ll go to 3/2 whenever we eventually go back.

  • Dani May 11, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    So thankful to still have a job as well, though I’ve never worked from home before, or if I did, it was basically just “be available” and not really “work work.” I’m still getting accustomed. Do you and WM share an office area? I’m in a one-bedroom apartment and though I have a desk in my bedroom, I’ve relocated to my dining room table because taking Zoom calls with a bed in the background is extremely weird and uncomfortable to me. Luckily even though I’m on work-related Zoom calls often, I don’t need to have my camera on- it’s a lot of screen-sharing. We don’t know when we’re going back to the office either, but I don’t know when I’ll really feel comfortable taking public transportation (and I don’t have a car). I had to take 9 days off before I lose them come June 30th, but it’s kind of weird taking a day off when already working from home. Maybe that’s just me. I definitely multi-task with home/personal stuff during the workday too!

    • Dani May 11, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      Wow, apologies for the super long comment!

      • Kimberly May 22, 2020 at 1:53 pm

        None necessary!! Long comments are fine! 🙂

    • Kimberly May 22, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      We do have a dedicated office and we’re outside of each other’s view (if he’s pointing toward 12, I point toward 3) so we tend to stay away from each other’s Zoom cameras.

      I took off a week in June for similar reasons – our fiscal year end is September 30, so have to burn some time.