My Average Day
I’m going to describe what my average day looks like. This could be any day of the working week. I’ll describe everything from waking up to going to bed.
Hopefully you’ll get a better understanding of what I do during the day.
My current role is a Business Analyst for an agile web-based project at a consulting company in Melbourne, Australia. My current project has me doing a lot of different roles though:
- Running SQL queries
- Testing features before they are marked as completed
- Business analysis work
- End to end test management (recent addition)
So, what does my day look like?
Wake Up – 4:30 AM
I start my day by waking up to my alarm, which is set at 4:30 AM.
“That’s crazy!” you must be thinking.
Why so early?
Well, the short answer is, I spend some time every morning working on Database Star. Because it’s my side project at the moment, I can’t work on it during work hours, so I work on it before work.
I choose to spend time on it before work because it motivates me for the day, it’s easier to concentrate and be creative in the morning before a full day’s work, and it’s easy to get out of bed for something you love doing!
Once I’m awake, I make a coffee and sit down at my desk. I look at my to-do list, which I use Todoist for, and work on whatever tasks I need to do for the day.
These tasks include:
- Writing blog posts
- Responding to emails from readers
- Writing and reading emails from other bloggers
- Creating online courses and eBooks for my site
- Working on my other side project, the web app for umpire reporting
I spend about two hours in the morning doing this work – and time flies! Before I know it, it’s time to stop.
Meditate – 7:15 AM
I’ve recently started meditating. I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of it, so I thought I’d give it a try.
I use an app called Headspace, which makes it easy to get started. The founder, Andy Puddicombe, has quite an interesting story and even did a Ted Talk.
This takes about 15 minutes. I plug my headphones into my phone, sit on my chair, and follow the steps.
Get Ready for Work – 7:30 AM
Once I’ve finished meditating, I start my “get ready for work” routine. I call it a routine because I follow the same steps every day. The steps are the same because I need to do them every day, and it reduces the decision making required. I don’t need to decide what to do next because it’s the same every day.
Every morning, after I meditate, this is what I do:
- Eat breakfast, which is a banana smoothie (banana, blueberries, rolled oats, LSA, milk, greek yoghurt, honey). This keeps me full for hours. I even make them 4 at a time, so I have 4 day’s worth of breakfasts in the fridge. I also drink a Berocca each morning (effervescent vitamin tablet)
- Make my lunch. I take my lunch to work every day, which is two salad sandwiches (wholemeal bread, margarine, cheese, lettuce, tomato, dill pickles, carrot, mayonnaise). This saves money, is quite healthy, and also means I don’t have to decide where to get lunch from every day.
- Have a shower.
- Shave. I prefer to be clean-shaven at work, so I shave every morning.
- Brush my teeth.
- Get dressed. My normal work attire is a suit pants and a shirt. No tie. I used to wear a tie, but with my current client, the “no tie” look is normal, so in order to fit in with the client, I go without a tie. I’ve also stopped wearing a jacket to work, which I’ll explain soon.
- Hair and deodorant. I put a bit of product in my hair, put on deodorant and cologne.
- Pack my bag. I bring a backpack to work, which has a few things in it – black leather shoes, Kindle, wallet, phone, umbrella (because it can rain at any moment in Melbourne), lunch, snacks (apple, muesli bar), work building security pass, house keys.
- Put my shoes on. I wear runners to work and change into my leather shoes when I get there.
All of this takes between 30 and 40 minutes, as I try to get out of the door at 8AM.
Walk to Work and Get Coffee – 8 AM
I live close to the Melbourne CBD, and I work in the CBD, so I walk to work. The journey takes about 30 minutes. It’s all along footpaths through the CBD, and at that time of the morning, it’s quite busy.
I’ve stopped wearing my jacket to work as I get quite warm on this walk. Also, I don’t wear the jacket at work, so it just sits on my desk until I go home. Unless it’s winter, then I wear a jacket.
I also stop to get a coffee on the way, at a place near work. It’s my second coffee of the day, and it gets me going for the day at work. At this point, it’s about 8:30 or 8:45, almost 4 hours since my first coffee.
I like to buy a coffee every day because it tastes good, and the $4 cost is bearable as it makes me feel good and I work better with it. Like Ramit Sethi says, there’s no point in cutting back on your daily coffees.
Get to Work – 8:30 AM
I get to my desk at about 8:45 AM. I put my food in the fridge, put my leather shoes on, and turn my computer on. I login to my computer, and as it starts up, I go and refill my bottle of water, which I keep on my desk.
I’ve set up a few programs to run automatically when the computer logs in (Outlook, OneNote, Chrome), which are programs I use every day. It’s more efficient to get the computer to run them than you!
By the time I’ve returned from the kitchen with my water, the computer is ready to go.
I check my email, see what meetings are on for the day, and quickly check the scrum board in Jira, which is what our team uses.
Start Actual Work – 8:30 AM
I start doing my actual work at 8:30, after these meetings have finished. This work depends on what’s most important at the moment for the project, but it usually involves:
Story initiation meetings
When a new story is ready for development in our backlog, we get together and discuss the story and see if we have everything we need for it (wireframes, acceptance criteria, and so on). We ask any questions on things we’re not sure of.
This usually takes about 20-30 minutes per story.
Business Analysis for Stories
I read any stories that the team is currently working on that have issues, and confirm the requirements with the product owner. I then update the story so everyone is aware of what needs to be done.
At the moment, I also work on testing the stories after they have been developed. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 days for a story. I look at data in the database, the user interface, and see if all of the acceptance criteria pass. If there are any issues, I report them to the development team. If not, I move the story to the next stage.
I often work on documentation for the end to end testing phase, which is actually like system verification testing. This takes up a lot of time at the moment.
Sometimes i get called into other meetings for other analysis work, or to provide updates on what I’m working on.
Daily Stand-Up – 10AM
We have our team stand-up at 10AM. We gather around an area near our desks, and in Agile fashion, discuss three things:
- What we did yesterday
- What we’re doing today
- Any blockers we have
This goes for 15 minutes, and often it goes shorter.
Lunch – 12PM
I get hungry for lunch at about midday. I go and eat my sandwich in the kitchen, and either read articles on my phone (using the Feedly app), or talk to anyone in the kitchen.
This takes about 15 minutes.
I then go for a walk outside for about 20 minutes, and take my iPod. I put on a podcast or audiobook that I’m listening to at the moment.
If it’s bad weather outside, then I usually do some reading at my desk.
Back to Work – 12:45 PM
After lunch, it’s straight back to work. I get another coffee and go back to my desk to continue what I was working on before lunch:
- Story initiation meetings
- Business analysis for stories
- Other meetings
Home Time – 5PM to 6 PM
I leave the office anytime between 5 and 6 PM. As a consultant, I need to work at least 8 hours a day, so depending on how long my lunch is and my workload for the day, my leaving time is varied.
I shut down my computer and head home. This takes about 30-40 minutes and I walk home as well.
Cook Dinner – 6:30
When I get home, I get changed and start cooking dinner for my girlfriend and I. This takes anywhere between 15-60 minutes.
Once we have finished eating dinner, we usually do the dishes and spend time with each other, watch TV, or whatever else we feel like doing that night.
Bed – 9:30 PM
Once 9:30 arrives, we start getting ready for bed. I’m in bed shortly after 9:30 and go to sleep. This means I get about seven and a half hours of sleep, which is enough for me.
So, there’s a description of what my average day looks like as a business analyst (with some extra work I do as well). How does your day look? Do you have any questions on this outline?
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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net