A Day In The Life: Diary Of A Wimpy Mum
Claire shares a typical day in her life as a working mum in tech
6 min read
- My Wake Up light gently helps me arise with the sound of tweeting birds and simulated sunshine, helping to ease the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Before my eyes are even open, I am jolted awake by my husband slamming the door as he leaves the house. Who am I kidding - I am not a morning person!
Make myself a cup of tea and pick up my phone. I normally spend 15-30 mins to myself, checking my emails, news and social media before my son gets up.
If I wake up on the right side of the bed, I try to get some exercise in. I like to do kettlebells workouts for 15-20 mins to get my heart going a couple of times a week. I certainly feel more energised when I exercise regularly!
Wake my son up and debate why he needs to go to school (again!). Despite only being 10, he does the best Kevin and Perry impression ever.
We spend the next 30 mins getting ready, with me reminding him every 30 secs to find his tie, jumper, socks, homework! I normally make a smoothie to take with me for breakfast later.
Prepare to leave. Find season ticket, bike lock, house key, work pass. Tick. Where is my phone? Found it - why isn't it charged arrgghh! TURN THE TV OFF!!!.
Calm down before I step out the house and face the outside world ….
Cycle to school and drop my son off at Breakfast club. I am teaching him to cross the busy road and become more independent before he goes to secondary school next year. So I drop him off at the top of the hill before heading onwards to the station.
This suits us both. I save 5 mins (and avoid going back up a hill!) and he doesn't risk his “embarrassing parent” speaking to his mates. This is a 2.5 mile trip and if I am lucky it won't be raining!
Catch the train to London Waterloo - if it's not delayed/cancelled! Luckily leaving a little later and living a little further out means I normally get a seat. It's the little things that keep us happy :-)
Jump off the train at Waterloo after spending my commute reading a book (I am currently reading the 4 hour working week, for some inspiration!) , catching up on technical and/or business news (I check out Harvard Business Review and TechCrunch), doing some research or writing blogs!
Arrive at work having walked from the station or taking the bus if it's raining.I try to find a desk (who’s idea was hot desking!?!), then get another cup of tea before I properly engage with anyone else. I AM STILL NOT A MORNING PERSON (luckily all my colleagues know this and keep out my way)
Having spent half an hour catching up on emails, voicemails, IM’s and desk visits over my second cup of tea, I head to my first meeting with my breakfast smoothie. I try to ensure I don't have important meetings first thing, as I still tend to be a little blunt!
I will probably spend the next 2-4 hours meeting direct reports, suppliers, customers or senior management. I general, I spend far too much time being busy and not productive and get frustrated!
I then promise myself I will implement a better time management regime. Sometimes this encourages me to push back and say no to people - which normally lands me in a spot of hot water. Hey ho, if I don't challenge the Status Quo things will never change...
Lunch break. It's not unusual for me to take my lunch with me, or eat it whilst catching up on emails. I'm trying to spend at least 15 mins in a quiet room each day to practise mindfulness, but dramatically failing …
I try to schedule more interactive meetings or workshops in the afternoon when I am chirpier. Recent examples include attending Culture Club and Feedback Training. I also try get out speak to one of my teams each day, which might involve watching a Product Demonstration, sitting in on a Retrospective or being available for a drop-in surgery for questions.
Things normally quieten down this time of day. Meetings are done and the people that came in early (more than 50% of my office!) start to leave. I begin to focus and get my second wind. This is when I get my best work done :-)
I spend the next couple of hours working at my desk (now it's quieter I have no problems finding a bigger one). I am currently supporting two of my direct reports with promotion so I go over their applications and provide feedback. I also need to prepare appraisals so make some notes whilst I go along.
Its coming up for mid-year so I need to check my the financial reports provided by my PMO before they are submitted to the Portfolio Office. I also have some contracts to review. I will work through this work for the rest of the week - assuming nothing urgent crops up that I need to react too!
I call it a day, pack my stuff and start to head home. I'm often running late, so I catch the bus back to the station to ensure I don't miss the train.
Rush hour has passed and it's normally quieter this time of night so I get a seat on the train (most of the time!) I catch up on my personal emails, social media and do some household administration.
Back home and I catch up with my husband and son and we discuss our days - if I can tear either of them away from their laptops and ipads!
I start to cook dinner, whilst the boys get bathed and ready for bed. We try watch a bit of TV as a family to wind down. Normally something funny such as Big Bang Theory!
Sit down and eat dinner and chill out, usually in front of a box set. We are currently watching Halt and Catch Fire.
Study, read, research - or go to bed? Depends on my energy levels…..
It's very rare I am up past ten thirty on a weeknight. I make many sacrifices in my life, but sleep isn't one of them. I need a good 7-8 hours each night!
Hardly surprising when I haven't stopped all day. Plus I need my beauty sleep before it starts again tomorrow. When is the weekend here?
Claire Donald is a Project & Program Manager with over 15 years’ experience delivering IT infrastructure and application projects using traditional, agile and continuous delivery methods. She has a high tolerance for ambiguity and has worked within fast paced and high pressure environments, taking an entrepreneurial approach. Claire is currently completing an Executive MBA with Surrey Business School.