A (semi) typical work day for me, February 2017 edition

This post is part of a series describing what Automatticians do on a daily basis. You can read more posts like this by following the tag #a8cday on WordPress.com and Twitter.

As a WooCommerce Happiness Engineer at Automattic, I spend some of my time directly helping customers. I also get to travel quite a bit, to different conferences and to meet my colleagues all over the world.  I’ll focus on a day at home (just outside of Stockholm, Sweden), because the other days are anything but typical.

6:20 – First alarm, blindly reach out and turn it off

6:25 – Second alarm which is strategically placed far away from bed – since I have to get up to turn it off, I try to keep the momentum going.

6:30-7:00-ish – Get up, get dressed in jeans, a shirt and a hoodie, and stumble towards my desk. Given that it’s the end of February in Sweden, it’s still dark at that time so my trusty lamp gives me some light. It’s way too early for more light.

I did sort of neaten it up before taking this picture, but I also try to have it cleared off the night before so that I can get started in the morning. I’ve learned that I just need to get going in the morning and that momentum will carry me through the day.

I’ve been working with different types of pointing devices, as I have trouble with RSI in both hands. I’m currently trying out a Kensington SlimBlade trackball, which is slowly growing on me.

7:00-11:30-ish – I spend my morning doing tickets using the Productivity Challenge Timer. It’s a Pomodoro-type application which has a fun approach. I like the gamification element, and the help to stay focused.  The idea is to get through as many tickets as possible during this period. The five minute breaks give me time to get up, move around, do a few kettlebell swings or make coffee.

I’m part of the payments team within WooCommerce support – we focus mostly on different payment gateways, so I spend a lot of time troubleshooting Paypal, Stripe and lots of different localized gateways.

I keep an eye on Slack through-out the morning, to chat with my team and work together to solve tricky tickets. At a few points during the day, I check my email, but that’s mostly to see notifications from Github or Zendesk. Most of my communication happens either through Slack or our internal P2s (blogs).

Sometimes I do other things during the morning, but I try and plan them after about 10:00 so that I can get through that ticket crunch.  That can be anything from working on some of our documentation, being a buddy for a trial or support rotation or trying to sort out my visa so that I can be a speaker at CMS Nigeria in a few weeks.

11:30-13:00-ish – This is sort of my lunch break / get stuff done time. My partner often comes home for lunch, so we can eat together. If I have any errands to run, this is the time that I’ll do them. I also try to go outside the house. Errands are a good excuse!   I didn’t actually manage today, but I did admire our new snow from the doorway:

I will admit to being happy that I don’t have to commute in that. 😀

Sometimes, for a change of pace, I’ll go work at the Espresso House coffee shop in our local shopping area. It’s a good excuse to practice my Swedish when ordering coffee and just see other people.  Either way, I make sure I’m set for the afternoon and then settle in for the next block of work.

13:00-16:00  – We’re currently running a pilot project with live chat for WooCommerce – the aim is to cover business hours for the US. I’m in Sweden, so my 15:00 is 9:00 for the east coast, so I help provide coverage for the early morning hours. It seems to be a bit of a transition period, as I talk with lots of people from Europe, Africa Asia and a few from North America.

This three hour period tends to be pretty solidly filled with chats, so there isn’t a chance to do anything else. The interesting is that these chats can be about WooCommerce in general or any of our plugins, so there’s always something new.

16:00-17:00 – This is time that is used for wrapping up from chats, our team meeting on Zoom and making sure I’m set to get started the next morning. A lot of my team members are in North America, so this is the only overlap time we tend to have.

17:00-19:00 -I try very hard to walk away from the computer by 17:00 and have minimal notifications on my phone so that I can have some time for myself. I try to avoid screen-time, after being at the computer all day.   Then I do whatever I feel like – I’m currently working on my lighter summer clothes for going to Nigeria and then our team meeting in Lisbon, Portugal after that.

19:00-21:30 – Dinner (whenever we get around to it) and usually some TV shows. We’re currently working our way through Star Trek Voyager. My current TV knitting is socks – they’re easy and useful.

22:00 – Bed and reading until whenever I fall asleep, depending on how exciting the book is. 🙂



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