Whether we’re commuting to an office or working from home, structure is the name of the game in keeping tasks organized and work flowing smoothly. But no two structures are exactly alike! In the past, we’ve seen what A Day in the Life of transportation engineers and planners can look like. When it comes to our communications, graphics, and marketing teams, schedules are also important to keep things on track! We talked to Michael Tumlin (Graphics Designer), Jennifer Marks (Publications Coordinator/Technical Editor), and Britt Zebleckes (Content Writer) to find out what a day in their life looks like.
Michael Tumlin: Graphics Designer
Michael has recently joined Kittelson full time as our Junior Graphics Designer. As a prior intern, he was able to meet many Kittelson staff and get involved with video projects in addition to graphic design for projects and marketing materials. Here’s a look into his day:
6:30-8:00am: I wake up and get ready for my day. I’ve been eating yogurt with granola and blueberries for breakfast and I always have a cup of coffee as well.
8:00am-8:15am: I log onto work. I start by checking emails and the helpdesk for any new tickets and seeing if there’s any feedback on projects I’ve previously worked on. This is a time for me to organize the tasks for the day and see what projects are ready to be worked on.
8:15am-10:00am: I get to work on anything that is ready to be worked on. This often times includes looking for inspiration for a project on Pinterest or Behance. I’ll also sketch ideas sometimes to brainstorm before working in any software.
10:00am-10:15am: I take a break and walk down the street or get up from my desk to let my brain rest.
10:15am-12:00pm: At this point, I’m usually in my rhythm and it’s the best time for me to take on projects that will require more brain power. I like to start my day with easier tasks and move into the more complex tasks around mid-day.
12:00pm-1:00pm: I take a lunch break. I usually eat something already ready so there’s little prep time. Then I go for a walk around my neighborhood to get some exercise and talk to my girlfriend and family to catch up on their days. If I have extra time after my walk, I like to go on Instagram or YouTube.
1:00pm-3:00pm: I get back to work, often continuing the project I was working on before lunch. This is another good time to work on complex projects. After I have a good lunch and move on my walk, my brain feels sharp and ready to go.
3:00pm-3:15pm: I take an afternoon break and I get a cup of tea. I like to have chamomile tea with a little honey. This is always a nice break to let my head rest. I’ll often talk to my family while I make my tea and see what the rest of their day has in store for them.
3:15pm-5:00pm: This is a good time to revise some work and finalize any projects that I can so I can send them off for feedback before the end of the day.
5:00pm-8:00pm: After work I’ll hang out with my girlfriend or family depending on the day. I like to play video games and watch TV with my family and I like to watch TV or go out to places like Waterford Lakes with my girlfriend.
8:00pm-9:00pm: I’ll have a second cup of tea and read a book or watch a tv show before bed at 9:00-9:30.
After I have a good lunch and move on my walk, my brain feels sharp and ready to go.–Michael Tumlin
Jennifer Marks: Publications Coordinator/Technical Editor
Jennifer leads publications from storyboard to final draft, working with Kittelson’s graphic designers, technical editors, planners, engineers, and clients to craft engaging and accessible products. Using her interdisciplinary academic background in urban history, cultural studies, and art history, Jennifer unifies text and images from the outset. Let’s see how she shapes her day:
7:00-8:00am: Wake up and get ready for the day, usually while listening to a podcast. Just before work, I brew an enormous pot of black coffee.
8:00am-8:30am: To make sure deliverables stay on track, I spend the first part of my morning getting my ducks in a row and mapping out where each project is along the publications process. I schedule my different deadlines throughout the week, and I make sure to check-in with project teams and graphic designers.
8:30am-10:00am: I have the most brainpower in the morning, so I often spend these next few hours doing complex technical editing or more creative work like content writing and storyboarding. I may assess technical documents for clear, accessible, and engaging information. I also might scour project team notes and materials to draft content for reports or start sketching out how a project’s narrative will progress visually through a document layout.
10:00am-1:00pm: Prime meeting-time. Some are kick off meetings, where I work with project teams across the firm to figure out what story the plan, technical document, or executive summary needs to tell. Meetings might also be check-ins to keep tabs on project steps or client meetings to talk through revisions.
1:00pm-2:00pm: Late lunch. Every day I call and talk to my mom while I make lunch. Working from home means I often cook myself a fresh, healthy meal—although leftover takeout from a local restaurant is always an especially tasty treat.
2:00pm-5:00pm: Late afternoons are my favorite time to work through document feedback. After we receive comments from project managers and clients, I figure out the best way to incorporate those changes. This review process has helped me refine my own technical editing and graphics skills, and I often collaborate with our brilliant graphic designers and publications coordinators to puzzle through the more challenging edits. If there are no revisions on the docket, I might work on research or conduct interviews for a Streetwise article.
5:00pm-9:00pm: I visit my horse on the farm where he basks in his retirement, or I go for a hike in one of Portland’s many stunning parks. Frequently, I end up doing both!
9:00pm-11:00pm: I come home, make dinner, and hunker down for some tv or with a good book.
I spend the first part of my morning getting my ducks in a row and mapping out where each project is along the publications process.–Jennifer Marks
Britt Zebleckes: Content Writer
Britt’s passion for writing and content creation brings our articles, work samples, and videos to life as our part-time Content Writer. If there is a story to be told, she will find it and showcase the details in the best way she can. Along with her work with Kittelson, she is also earning her Master’s Certificate in Professional Writing. What’s her schedule like?
7:00-7:30am: Did my dogs wake me up, or was it my alarm? Either way – time to leave my comfy bed and begin the day!
7:30am-8:00am: Family walk time! A lap or two around our apartment complex helps us all wake up and get the blood pumping.
8:00am-8:30am: Time to grab a bite to eat, pour myself a cup of ambition, and mentally prep for the day. I make sure I have my coffee, water bottle, and planner sitting at my desk and that it is (mostly) cleared off and ready for work.
8:30am-9:30am: This is the optimal time for me to do miscellaneous things, including organizing my work tasks, taking care of things that need immediate attention, or dealing with smaller tasks so they aren’t forgotten about later. All my unread messages are read and either taken care of or added to the day’s to-do list.
9:30am-12:30pm: Now that the little things are finished and loose ends are tied up, I can get into the thick of it and focus on content. Depending on the week, the task at hand can either be a long-form article, work sample, the student newsletter, or even planning the next bout of videos we want to do.
12:30pm-1:30pm: I tend to take lunch a little later, especially since the shift to working from home. I used to be not so great at stepping away from my computer for lunch, but now I’ve gotten in the groove of stepping away and enjoying some TV on the couch! Really helps me recharge for the rest of my day.
1:30pm-3:00pm: Because I work a lot with folks on the west coast, meetings/check-ins usually occur for me around this time. These can include meet and greets, team huddles, content planning, or project meetings.
3:00pm-4:00pm: Break time before diving into my online class! I’ll scroll through social media, grab a snack, play with my dogs, or catch up on my favorite Youtube channels to mentally turn off from work and get my brain ready for class.
4:00pm-6:00pm: Reading, writing, analyzing – whatever the assignment is for class, I’m usually doing it around this time.
6:00pm-6:30pm: “Finally!” my dogs whine as my husband walks through the door. You guessed it – it’s family walk time again! My pups love our neighbors, so we always make a point to stop and say hi if we see them.
6:30pm-10:00pm: Dinner, family time, TV, catching up on something I didn’t get to earlier (work or school), or catching up with friends. Depends on the day and what’s going on.
10:00pm-10:30pm: Take the dogs out one more time, and everyone winds down for bed.
I used to be not so great at stepping away from my computer for lunch, but now I’ve gotten in the groove of stepping away and enjoying some TV on the couch! Really helps me recharge for the rest of my day.–Britt Zebleckes
Your career is a long arc, and you’ll benefit down the road by taking thoughtful steps today. For more resources on how to evaluate your career options check out our Student Resources page.