In recent weeks, people have been publishing “typical day” posts. They have been fun to read. In what Ethan Marcotte aptly called a “blogging chain”, started by Colin Devroe, Michelle tagged me and some others. So, here it goes, some typical things about my daily life.
I’ve been admiring other people’s ability to wake up early, go for early-morning runs and/or have carefully carved out daily schedules. If you want to read what other people’s days look like, I liked those of Michelle, Matthias, Ethan , Cassie, Jeremy and Sara.
Days have been very different in the last six weeks, as I’ve taken most days off during the Dutch daycare lockdown. Those days were full of cooking together with the kids, long walks with the kids and, when it rained, painting loo rolls (again, with the kids). Super challenging, because how do you balance all that and a freelance business? Working with a baby on one arm and a toddler running around the room is a myth. It was also super rewarding, for all the obvious reasons: babies and toddlers can be immensely cute and lovely. We learn a lot from and about each other.
Below, you’ll find a description of a somewhat regular day. The times and activities can vary.
A combination of wake up, make breakfast and coffee. We get everyone dressed, read the morning paper. I read my morning paper physically. This was initially so that I could skip online news, but who am I kidding–even with most news sites blocked via my
/etc/hosts, I can’t resist and go peek on my phone.
Walk kids to daycare. If I’m alone, this is usually my chance to listen to audiobooks or podcasts on the way back home, and take a longer route if time allows. Podcast-wise, I’m a sucker for long form interviews, like NTR Kunststof, Nooit meer slapen and Groenteman in de kast in Dutch, and James O’Brien’s Full Disclosure and Brené Brown’s Unlocking us in English.
This is where I try to get a lot of work done. I usually don’t have meetings, as my US counterparts are still asleep. I may be working on an accessibility audit or presentation slides, or, if it’s a W3C day, I may be coding accessibility conformance tooling, review surveys from the Education & Outreach Working Group or generate the WCAG XSLT over and over for our current redesign project. Usually I drink Taiwanese high mountain tea.
Lunch time! I extend it sometimes, especially if I have evening meetings, so that I can go outside and/or cook hot lunch.
This is usually a combination of meetings, 1:1s and getting work done. I may be doing some work on components for the WAI website, talk to CMS vendors for WAI-Guide or attempt to split up large amounts of work into GitHub issues. Some time into the global pandemic, I purchased a second hand hifi set and placed it inside my home office, so that I can listen to all the jazz, ambient, pop, rock and hiphop when not in meetings. I check the number of positive COVID tests, which is easier if it decreases.
Daycare pick up, cooking and eating. Depending on how smooth things went and how much time there still is, we also use food delivery. I get better at not feeling too guilty about that. After dinner we usually put on music and dance a bit. Sting and Shaggy, Chika, Gregory Porter, Nile Rodgers and Moby have been recent favourites. K3 and their song about washing hands and Juf Roos, too.
Trying to get the kids to sleep, read bed time stories, answer mesmerising questions about the universe and its workings. Also wash up and prepare baby food. Sometimes I have an evening meeting. On Thursdays I recently started attending Open UI telecons.
Oh, is it this late already? We may watch Mock the Week if there are new episodes, see how Ku explores Taiwan or how Waes visits Japan. Travel and food themed shows help remind there was a prepandemic world. They give me hope that some of it may come back. Sometimes there’s a book I can’t stop reading or a guest in one of the late night talk shows that I don’t want to miss. I go to bed with a book.
So, this is what my days roughly look like. I don’t really have any useful productivity hacks, but feel that walking, reading, listening, cooking and (even) cleaning are some things that I’m pleased to have in my days.