A Day in the Life

53/365: Note to self: by Ingorrr via FlickrI’ve been working a whole lot lately. Enough that it’s interfering with, well, just about everything. That’s not a complaint — in my experience, I tend to perform better with hefty goals. I’m lucky enough to have a spouse who’s understanding about the time commitment I’m making for my career, and no children to feel like I’m neglecting. (The cat does feel neglected. She’s a cat. She’ll cope. Cats have great coping skills. If we could learn from them, we’d probably revolutionize the field of psychology.)

What am I working on? Island Life on Facebook, an entrant into the social/farming game scene. So what does a day of that look like? Why can’t I be bothered to blog? Well, it’s something like what you can find after the cut. (This is a sampling, not an actual minute-by-minute recreation of a specific day.)

6:30 AM. My alarm goes off. This is where I pull the Time-Warner cartoon effect — a little guy in white on one shoulder says I should get up, while a little red guy on the other tells me to disable my clock with a shotgun. I compromise and push “snooze.” But I can’t lie, some days, I’ll shut the thrice-damned banshee off at this point.
6:40 AM. Snooze is over. All right, you win. I’m up. Bastard.
6:50 AM. Breakfast! If I told you what I’m eating, this would be more of a Tweet than a blog post. Afterwards, gotta give it at least a half-hour… watch some CNN or hit the email, depending on how awake I feel. (Hint: CNN usually wins.)
7:30 AM. Gym time. I’m no fanatical health nut — one glance at my fridge will tell you that — but I find that some of the cliches about gym attendance seem to, in fact, be true. Hitting the gym regularly leaves me feeling overall better, with clearer mental focus, more energy, and it’s easier to get to sleep at night. However, don’t be fooled — it leaves you hurting most days.
8:30 AM. Time for a shower and commute.
9:00 AM. In the office. Check email for fires if I didn’t do that before the gym.
9:01 AM. There’s almost always a fire of some size. Kill it!
9:15 AM. Plan my day. Giggle a little.
9:30 AM. Most managers are here by now. Start changing my day’s plan. Sneak a small task or three in here.
10:00 AM. Beginning of the “core” workday. Say “hey” to everyone. Catch up with anyone I’m working directly with today and make sure there are no known obstacles. Unknown unknowns are unaccounted for.
11:00 AM. Meeting of some kind. Since I’m a team lead (admittedly, of a small team. Which reminds me, know Lua? Live in San Diego? Want to write games? We want to talk to you! anyway, since I’m a team lead…), I’ll probably have a couple meetings ranging from 5-minute ad-hoc “touch base” chats to more planned-in-advance design meetings, reviews of various tests and metrics, and the like throughout the day.
11:30 AM. I’m hungry, but that’s because I’m weird. Nobody wants to get lunch yet. Sneak in some development here. Ha!
12:00 PM. Fine, nobody wants lunch. I’ll hike over to Subway and back — the short break does wonders for concentration.
12:15 PM. Eat lunch, catch up on news / RSS / Twitter for interesting stories. Check AppData to see what’s happening in the Facebook app space.
12:45 PM. I think I can string a couple of hours together. Work on a significant-size task.
1:30 PM. Well, it was almost a couple of hours. Tech design meeting on some new feature.
2:00 PM. I probably have an urgent task around that tech design. Do it!
2:30 PM. A task that I thought could wait just became urgent. Deliver the tech task now, then switch gears!
3:30 PM. 1:1 meeting with a dev on my team. This might be the most important thing I do this week — make sure morale is good, and we’re in sync about short-term goals, and chat about what seems to be on the horizon. Mostly, make sure I haven’t gotten so distracted with other stuff that I’m missing something important here. Besides, 1:1 has gotten into the pattern of involving milkshakes, which I strongly believe to be a Good Thing (see “7:30″ item above).
4:00 PM. Looks like another window of deep development time!
6:00 PM. If this were a normal office job, I’d be heading home now. But it’s not! I recap with my manager, and possibly a couple other folks if there are big fires, in case anyone DOES have to leave. Probably, though, nobody does just yet.
6:15 PM. Bang out a couple more smaller tasks. Probably, they’re bug-fixes. Decide that publishing new fixes after 6 is a bad idea for today. Hold them for tomorrow. People are starting to filter out of the office. This is a great time to switch gears to a mid-priority feature that I’m really keen on testing.
6:45 PM. It almost works…
7:00 PM. Shit, I broke it.
7:30 PM. OK, it’s fixed well enough to clean up in the morning. Head home…
8:00 PM. Dinner.
8:30 PM. Watch something from the ever-backlogging DVR.
9:15 PM. Compulsively check email, application wall, etc. No new fires yet, hooray!
9:30 PM. Open my side project in code editor.
9:31 PM. Open web browser to test. Get distracted by new game on Kongregate.
9:50 PM. Acknowledge the truth, close code editor. Finish Kongregate game session.
10:15 PM. Play XBox, then read for a while. Fall asleep at some indeterminate point.

Ha! I bet that was more detail than you could ever possibly have wanted. And, of course, there are so many items that don’t make this list that I can’t even list them all, though I’ll sure try — code reviews, tossing ideas back and forth on how to solve problem XYZ, checking metrics, investigating bug reports… Fortunately, at the end of the day, it’s just plain darned rewarding to do this stuff! Every time a feature gets rolled out, and a chorus of users say “hooray,” it’s a great feeling. (Even if they immediately follow that with “But why haven’t you done THIS yet?” It’s part of the fun… and it shows that our players are excited.)

Now to make peace with the cat, who feels that blogging was a profligate waste of HER time…

About Tachevert

A cofounder of www.WorldIV.com and full-time geek, Tachevert writes about whatever strikes his fancy. Despite the inherent contradiction, he can often be found videogaming or attempting to run.
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