Day in the Life of a Remote Worker: Marie Prokopets

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: Marie Prokopets 🔮🧙‍♀️
Current Job: Co-Founder and COO of FYI
Current Location: San Francisco, CA 🌉
Current Computer:
Macbook Pro 15” (2018) 💻
Current mobile devices: iPhone 11 Pro 📱

What does your typical workday look like?

My old life, before remote work took hold, involved early morning alarms starting at 6am. Followed by quick half-awake showers and expeditions into my closet to assemble a presentable work outfit. Rushing to walk my dog Ralph and leaving him to wait for the dog walker to take him out hours later. Only to then sit in my car for 1-2 hours depending on traffic (each way!) to get to the office.

These days, my life is much more flexible, with a lot less routine. And of course, no laborious commute. 

My most important morning decision used to be deciding which lane was moving at the fastest crawl. Now, I get to decide how I want to experience each day as it comes.

Do I have an early meeting in the morning? Do I feel like getting up extra early for a hike? Did I work late the night prior and want to sleep in a bit? Do I want to make myself oatmeal or something fast for breakfast?

The rest of the day is similar, I get to take breaks, eat, and finish work whenever I want. Remote work is a choose your own adventure for me - though in part that’s because I don’t have anything to tie me to a schedule (like kids).

Here’s a sample day in my life.

I am not a morning person. But, I am a sunrise person. 

I love seeing the sunlight move and shift, wakening the animals and changing the landscape as each moment goes by, until at last the sun takes its ruling position for the day. 

For me, early morning walks are a great time to clear my head and enter a more zen state before the onslaught of work and daily stresses set in.
My favorite place to catch the sunrise is Ocean Beach in San Francisco. My dog Ralph chases the waves (or, I should say, runs away from the waves since he hates water) and happily bounds on the mostly-empty beach. 

If I’m at Ocean Beach, I can’t help but grab an acai bowl at Judahlicious or a muffin, tea and dog treats for Ralph at Andytown Coffee.

8am - 9am
If I haven’t hauled myself out of bed for a sunrise walk and I don’t have any early meetings, then this is when I’m waking up.

I love gratitude practices to help focus on what we’re thankful for in life. Gratitude really helps set the tone for the day and put you into a more loving, happy headspace. And it’s especially helpful during times of stress and uncertainty.

I used to start my morning by saying a few things I was grateful for to myself while still in bed. Now I’ve shifted to doing a quick morning and evening journal called The Five Minute Journal that covers what I’m grateful for and sets me up to have a great day. (Thank you to my coworker who recommended the journal ❤️).

This is about the time when I start tearing through everything on the internet to see what’s changed since the night prior.

Good habits succumb to bad. A little Instagram. A lot of news (especially at the moment). Reply to any texts I received. And pour through my emails to see what I’ve missed. And of course, Slack messages.

Most of our team has already been working for hours by the time I’m awake, thanks to our varied time zones and a few early risers in the West Coast, so I quickly dive into answering GitHub questions and Slack messages. 

Once I’m ready to pause on the internet catchup frenzy, I hop in the shower and start mentally planning my day. Ralph still hasn’t gotten used to my working remotely most of the time, even though I haven’t worked in an office for almost 4 years now, so he spends his morning shaking on the bathmat worried that I’ll leave him 😭.

9am - 2pm
My brain is functioning properly by now and I’m almost entirely awake. Mostly.

I gave up caffeine this last year except for a few rare cheat days where I’ll drink matcha or chai, so it’s up to me to get in the zone without assistance. The big mug of herbal tea I like to drink at the start of my work day doesn’t help, since it usually is relaxing lavender, tulsi rose, or mint.

I crank in the morning, jumping on the work I need to do, getting on calls with the team and my co-founder Hiten, in between the occasional break to pet Ralph.

If I’m lucky, I’m doing some writing. Like this research-based article that I spent hours creating on remote work best practices. I really get into the zone when I’m writing or cranking on work, which is why at some point typically late in the day I realize I forgot to eat lunch, so I quickly make something and get back to work.

At some point in the afternoon, Ralph gets a break from watching me work and making cute doggie dreaming noises, and we take a quick walk in the neighborhood. 

I stare at my phone and continue working while walking (more Slacking or calls), even though a) I know it’s a bad habit, and b) dogs don’t like when their humans are on phones too often 😭. 

2:30pm - 9 pm
Not much to see here. Just me working. 

There’s been a lot of talk about how much time people should spend working. I personally run on and get energy from diving into something I’m passionate and excited about. I love to learn and feed my brain. 

It’s been that way since grad school, when I was working most nights until 3am, reading obscure Victorian novels, grading papers, and writing my heart out. 
And it continued through my career in corporate. 

Today, it hasn’t changed.

If I’m being good, I’ll also take a break to work out a bit. Right now, I’m mostly lifting weights in my apartment. Plus the occasional push-ups.

9pm - 10pm
It’s time for dinner and a break. 

Currently with what’s happening in the world, my break consists of reading all the news and wishing I had meditated instead.

A bit more work 😳. And if I’m not too tired, some reading. 

I’ve been slowly reading three books at the same time at the moment, alternating between each depending on my mood.

The Bhagavad Gita which I need to finish so I can start it all over again.

I am That,  which is a compilation of answers to questions by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda - I never want this book to end, so I’ve been reading it ever so slowly.

I finish my daily Five Minute Journal entry, spend a little time on my phone in bed in the dark (sorry Mom), and get to sleep.

I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep, so if I was up early and went to bed late it usually means I won’t be getting up early the next day.

Describe your workspace setup:

Since I work from home and lack boundaries when it comes to work, most of my apartment is a work zone.

My bed, which comes from West Elm since I’m a Millennial, is my work spot at the start and the end of the day.

Looking at my Lillian August metal desk makes me feel productive, even though I only work from it about 10% of the time. It’s also a great home for my crystals.

The epicentre of my workday is on my couch. It’s leather (a purchase made before I stopped eating meat), from IKEA, and I’ve had it for more years than I can remember. And I’m currently sitting on it as Ralph snores next to me.

I have a plush, comfortable blue chair (also from West Elm) which works well unless Ralph has commandeered it and covered it in hair.

My kitchen table is also great because it’s the closest proximity to snacks and tea. Plus I get a lot of light from the windows.

What do you listen to while you work?

I tend to fluctuate between jazz, rap/hip hop, and the Talking Heads.
If I need to chill, jazz helps me relax and focus. Herbie Hacock, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and more.
But if I need a boost, like I did today, I like to listen to music that keeps me energized and engaged. Here’s what I listed to today:

  • Kendrick Lamar - Kush & Corinthians, Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe, untitled 06 06.30.2014
  • Logic - Mos Definitely, Driving Ms Daisy, Till The End, Lord Willin’, Gang Related, Stainless
  • Mick Jenkins - Understood, The Giver, Your Love, Angles, Communicate
  • Childish Gambino - I. The Worst Guys, Freaks And Geeks, IV. Sweatpants, R.I.P.
  • Earthgang - Missed Calls

Talking Heads come on when I get the urge to alternate between work and dancing. Which is often.

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

Crystals: I. Have. So. Many. Crystals. And yes, I believe in their mystical properties. Here’s a picture of me holding a rock as a kid.

Bad Zoom call? Feeling tired? I remedy this and more by burning some sage.

Life is Crazy Good Mug: I have lots of mugs, but primarily drink out of this one. Why? Because it’s subliminal messaging for me to stay positive and grateful, even in hard times.

When I worked in an office, I ate all the delicious snacks, which were not at all healthy (M&Ms, Snickers, Jelly Beans, Twizzlers). Since I didn’t work in tech, snacks were limited to candy and there was no other free food in the office. Now, I keep healthy snacks in reach to keep me going.

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 Speaker: I love this speaker, it’s got so much power and clarity and doesn’t take up much space.

The Pattern: I wouldn’t be a good new-agey (old) Millennial without mentioning my favorite astrology app. The Pattern helps me rationalize bad moods and when things aren’t going right. Plus, I can check to see if my co-founder and I have any upcoming challenges 😹.

Airpods Pro: I love using these for remote calls, everything sounds more clear and crisp.

Connect with Marie:
Instagram - instagram.com/marie12isabel
FB - facebook.com/marie.prokopets
Twitter - twitter.com/MarieProkopets
LinkedIn - linkedin.com/in/marieprokopets

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