I’m currently a student in Bloc’s Part-time Web Development course. And I work full time where I lead a team of 8. And I have an adorable puppy that I’m solely responsible for. And about once a month I volunteer for an emotional intelligence workshop for about 30 hours over a single weekend. Oh and I’m training for my first marathon later this year.
So what’s a day in my life look like?
My typical weekday looks like this:
- 6:15 am: Wake, pray, set my intention for the day
- 6:45 am: Walk Starbuck (my puppy)
- 7:30 am: Shower and get ready for work
- 8:30 am: Arrive at the office, make coffee and review emails
- 9 am: Meet with team to touch base
- 9:15 am — 12 pm: One on one meetings with team members, client meetings, put out fires and work on projects
- 12 pm: Head home for lunch, take Starbuck out and eat lunch
- 1 pm — 5 pm: Continue working
- 5 pm: Dinner
- 5:30 pm: Walk Starbuck and mentally relax
- 6:30 pm: Either stretch for a run, head to a meetup event or start working on the Bloc curriculum (debug code, research issues, watch videos, read articles and work on projects)
- 9 pm: If I had a meetup event or it was a training day, I’m home, take out and play with Starbuck then start working on the Bloc curriculum
- 11 pm — 12am: I take out Starbuck one final time and call it a night.
- Note: Of course this breakdown doesn’t include every single time I stop to play with or cuddle Starbuck, that would be too redundant!
The weekends are where I get to really balance being a student and training for a marathon. I base how much sleep I need on how I’m feeling, maybe I get up early to get a head start on the day or maybe I sleep in if I feel my body needs more rest. Once I’m up it’s pretty much the same start to every Saturday and Sunday, I wake up, walk Starbuck, shower, go to Starbucks and code for a few hours. When my stomach starts to growl I grab some food, run errands, head home to walk Starbuck, take care of chores, code for awhile, run if it’s a training day then code for the rest of the night. My friends love to joke that on the weekends that I’m either at Starbuck’s coding or with Starbuck and coding, which is kind of accurate.
As you can see what is not included in my weekly routine are nights out with friends, Netflix, going to the movies, spontaneous karaoke trips, fun 5k runs, or even beach days (I do live in Florida!). Chasing your dreams always requires sacrifice and I’m happy to make these short term sacrifices for my long term goals.
It’s important to note that I don’t sacrifice everything. I haven’t sacrificed taking care of myself or the people that matter the most to me.
I make time to keep up with my family and my close relationships, they know what I’m doing and luckily they support my journey. I’ve explained to my nephew, whom I used to get a weekend or two a month before Bloc, that I believe it’s important to chase your dreams. I’ve told him that it takes hard work and sacrifice and he understands the best an 11-year-old can. I also take breaks when my brain needs it, maybe a weekend where I don’t do anything that requires mental power or maybe a week where I don’t look at or think about code. I’ve continued with my plan to run my first marathon this year even after signing up for Bloc. For me, running is a huge stress reliever and the mental gains and discipline needed for training have been paying huge dividends in my coding journey.
One of the biggest benefits of being a career changer is that I have several years of real world experience where I’ve learned about myself. I know I can get back on the wagon after taking a week off, however, not everyone can and best practices suggest against “lulls” (Bloc allows up to 4 one week increment program freezes for most of their tracks). I know my best work and learning comes when I allow myself to work in my natural rhythm. I go through waves of intense focus and then have time where I need to take a step back and take a break. I know that I work better later at night so that’s when I run and work on a coding project. I know that “best practices” are not always best for me.
My advice to students would be to find what works for them. Maybe you already know what that is, if so don’t get distracted by the way you “should” be going about it. Maybe you have no work experience and have no idea what works for you. I encourage you to try things out and if something isn’t working don’t be afraid to adjust and try something new. Just never give up.