Day in the Life of a Remote Worker - Fadeke Adegbuyi

Day in the Life of a Remote Worker

This spotlight illustrates how each remote worker finds freedom and productivity in their everyday life, in their unique way. Get inspired and see how you can improve your workspace, workflow, and work/life balance.

Name: Fadeke Adegbuyi 👩🏾‍💻
Current Job: Marketing at Doist ✏️
Current Location: Edmonton, AB Canada 🇨🇦
Current Computer: iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2019) 🖥 // Macbook Pro (Retina, Mid-2015) 💻
Current mobile devices: iPhone X 📱

What does your typical workday look like? 

I’ve been working remotely for over 2.5 years at Doist, the creators of Todoist and Twist! I’ve experimented with a few small tweaks to my routine over time, but I’ve generally always kept “normal hours”.  Our company has no designated time zones or work hours, so team members have the flexibility to create their own schedules –– we have a handful of early birds and night owls!

Though I start my workday a bit early, I take an extended break in the morning and end the day at a normal time. While I’ve tried coworking and occasionally work from coffee shops, working from home is my default and where I’m most productive.

6:00 AM

My alarm is set for 6 am, but I wake-up before my alarm nearly every day. Setting it is mostly a fail-safe habit. I grab my phone immediately and scan through everything for a few minutes: texts, emails, Twist, Todoist, and Twitter.

It’s not a particularly calming way to start each day, but I generally don’t respond to anything at this point. I simply get an overview of my day or take a mental note of anything that’s come up overnight. Since I work with team members all over the world, many have been working for hours by the time I’m up! 🌏

Before I start working for the day, I usually read for 30 minutes. Right now I’m reading Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener and have a novel, Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem, up next!

Afterwards, I get ready and head to my home office. The physical separation is great and I treat it like a real commute even though it’s just a few steps away – I grab everything I need for the day including my water bottle, phone, and sometimes a change of clothes, hairbrush, and make-up for some video calls so I’m not going back and forth.

7:00 AM

I start working at 7 am and begin the workday by responding to messages from my team in Twist and any Todoist comments that need my attention.

In the morning, I try to balance collaborative shallow work with individual deep work. I never want to block a team member, so I aim to provide prompt responses to questions or requests for feedback, particularly if I’m leading a project. One of the challenges of remote work is effectively navigating time zones. If I only focus on deep work in the morning and leave responses until the afternoon, my teammates may be offline in Europe or Asia and can’t move things forward until the next day. This is one of the trade-offs that arise with distributed work!

After that, it’s time to start planned and focused work. On my best days, I’ve already prepped a to-list the night before. If not, I set aside some time in the morning to make a chronological list of things to do in Todoist before I start working.

I practice time blocking and organize my to-do list accordingly. I’ve used this method for years, but remain comically bad (or, more charitably, too optimistic) at estimating how long things take. I often shift my to-do list multiple times per day, as frequently as every hour. I don’t recommend this! 😅

I tend to prioritize writing and editing tasks in the morning when I have a set of fresh eyes. That could be writing a blog post on topics like mastery or how to organize your life on our blog, Ambition & Balance, or editing the work of one of my talented colleagues.

9:00 AM

I aim to go to the gym every day during the week and usually land somewhere below that on average. I head out the door at 9 am and am there by 9:10 am. I stay for an hour doing a mix of cardio and weight training or a Body Pump class.

Once I leave the gym, I often grab a coffee on my way home and may pop into the grocery store or run an errand nearby. 

Ideally, I wouldn’t split up my day and stop working just as I’m getting into flow, but I usually go to the gym with a friend. The timing inconvenience is outweighed by having an accountability buddy!

On days I don’t go to the gym, I simply continue working. 🙇🏾‍♀️

11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

By 11 am I’m back home and at my desk. Even though I consider myself a morning person, afternoons are my most productive time of the day!

I take a small break around 12 pm for my first meal of the day, a sad desk lunch. Otherwise, it’s focus mode again until around 5:00 pm (with a few sessions of Twitter browsing sprinkled in).

This stretch of time involves going through all my core work including:
  • Leading marketing projects like our Twist Remote Work Guides or Year in Review
  • Writing, editing, and coordinating articles for Ambition & Balance or our Twist Remote Work Guides
  • Planning and posting content for all our social media channels for Doist, Todoist, and Twist
  • Recruiting activity for open marketing roles including screening applicants and marking test projects 
  • Providing feedback or helping out on ongoing marketing projects 
  • Coordinating joint marketing initiatives with other companies
  • Responding to users who reach out to us on social media and collecting feedback

My priorities and to-dos shift month to month and week to week! Since what I’m working on can vary, I try to be mindful of too much context switching and ensure I’m not multitasking. I generally only ever have a few applications open on my dock and under five tabs in my browser.

Doist largely communicates asynchronously through text. I generally only have 1-2 meetings per week with colleagues over video chat. 
In the summer, I’ll occasionally leave my place around 2 pm and spend the rest of the afternoon working from a coffee shop or a public library! Throughout the winter, I mostly stay home for the remainder of the workday. ❄️

My mini end of the workday routine involves spending time responding to our users on social media, answering any Twist messages I missed, tidying my desk a bit, and heading out of my home office. I generally come back later in the day to work on personal projects, but almost always take a break in between!

While this is a typical day, specifics can vary! If I’m working on a bigger cross-functional project with hard deadlines, I start earlier to have greater overlap with my colleagues in Europe and Asia. I also have the flexibility to work later into the evening if I need to pop out for a mid-day appointment.

Describe your workspace setup:

I only started working from a home office a few months ago – it’s a work in progress, and the white walls are begging for some artwork!

I have a 3 drawer L-shaped desk from Wayfair that serves as my control centre – it’s where I have my iMac, all my other gadgets, and any workbooks I reference.

My office also has a corner with a great couch and side table. The original vision was to sit on the couch and ottoman with my laptop and write, but I’ve honestly only ever done this a handful of times. When you get used to a large monitor, it’s hard to go back to working on a small screen!

I have a bookshelf that’s strategically placed behind for aesthetics on video calls.

One interesting addition to my office is a ring light. I was familiar with them because they’re used by some of my favorite YouTubers for filming. It wasn't until I spotted one in the setup a fellow remote worker, Danielle Morrill at GitLab, that I knew I needed one too.
Dark skin is extremely hard to light, even in the world of television and movies  – on previous video calls, I often had windows open, lights on and a lamp nearby and still barely showed up on screen. With the combination of the ring light and an external webcam, I’m much more visible and lit on camera.

What do you listen to while you work?

I bounce between a few different kinds of music or noise while I work, though I often work in silence too. 

Most mornings, I opt for Brain.FM on “Focus” mode. I’m not sure if they actually work or it’s the pavlovian conditioning of putting on headphones and turning them on, but they do help with concentration.
Later in the day, I might keep using Brain.FM, listen to nothing, or I’ll occasionally open Spotify and listen to one of the following:

With the exception of listening to the same song on repeat, I can’t really listen to music with lyrics while I’m working and definitely don’t understand the people who listen to podcasts. 

Aside from your phone and computer, name a gadget you can’t live without in your workspace:

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Over-Ear Wireless Headphones - Black
  • Great over the ear headphones that also work really well on airplanes! I often have them on while I work, even when I’m not listening to anything.

Logitech C920 Webcam HD Pro (960-000764)
  • The built-in webcam on the iMac is laughably bad. Honestly, this webcam isn’t that great either and is barely compatible with Apple devices, but it’s a definite upgrade. 

EACHSHOT ES240 Kit CRI 95+ 240 LED 18" Stepless Adjustable Ring Light 
  • I highly recommend this ring light. I initially purchased and returned a more popular one by Neewer, which came defective and also has a bulb that’s challenging to replace.

Circadian Optics Lumine Light Therapy Lamp
  • I bought this a few years ago after seeing it recommended in Sam Altman’s article on productivity. I only really use it during the dark winter months. I can’t really tell if it does anything or not, but turning it on in the morning has become a habit! 

VicTsing Upgrade 2.4G Wireless Mouse Optical Mice
  • This mouse is a bit ugly, but I prefer it to the more aesthetic Apple mouse that came with my iMac because of the scrolling wheel. 

Apple Magic Keyboard
  • This came with my iMac and works well! It’s sleek and simple. 

Connect with Fadeke:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fadeke_adegbuyi
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fadekeadegbuyi/

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