A Day in the Life of a Work-From-Home Software Developer

Another Peek Behind the Remote Curtain

In previous posts, we’ve discussed what Shift3 Technologies is like behind our human curtain. We’ve written about our rock star executive assistants, our various corporate culture perks, and even exposed our vulnerable side discussing how we fared during 2020. (Hint: We made it!) Now, I’d like to showcase the true heroes at our company—our developers. Because truly, they’re the awesomely nerdy bunch that build what we sell. And since our entire company has been remote for about a year now, we would like to shine a light on what it’s truly like being a work-from-home software developer. And today we’re going to talk about someone we’ve written about before—Ryeker Herndon, Software Developer. This is what one day looks like for him while working from home. 

To set the stage, allow me to tell you a little bit about Ryeker and his current home life. Initially, he was local to our headquarters in Fresno. In March of 2020, he decided to relocate his entire family—his wife Faith, his son Gideon (7), his daughter Della (5) and son Ronen (1) all the way to gorgeous Hansen, Idaho. His entourage also included four dogs of varying sizes and personalities! And they now all live together on a sprawling country property in a beautiful part of Idaho. It should be noted that Idaho is one hour ahead from Pacific Standard Time in Fresno, California. 

BC (Before COVID)

Before we get into Ryeker’s typical day, I think it’s important that we discuss what his normal day looked like prior to the age of COVID-19. 

8:15AM – Wake up, shower, kiss kids goodbye, head to office 

9:00AM – Arrive at office, work until 6:30PM or 8PM

8:00PM – Get home

This schedule sounds simple enough, but remember, at this time he was driving to an office; an actual workspace which in itself fosters discipline and productivity. So maintaining a good workflow didn’t require as much focus, as most distractions are weeded out when you’re in an office or workspace.

AC (After COVID)

His new schedule looks a bit different now. For many of us who work from home, we’re using our kitchen tables, coffee tables, boxes, and bedroom desks for our office spaces. Thankfully, Ryeker’s new home has a detached office space just off of his house, so it’s not as easy to blur the lines between home life and work life. 

Ryeker admits that one of his biggest challenges during this long-term remote work has been self-motivation. When you’re at home, you’re susceptible to distractions from chores, pets, kids and at times, TV. For those of us who have been working from home since March, we’re familiar with all of these productivity land mines. Ryeker had to make the conscious decision to create a routine. In his words, three things have kept him grounded through this all: Faith (his spirituality), Faith (his wife), and ROUTINE. This is what his typical workday looks like now.

Mornings

6AM – 6:45AM – “Miracle Morning” time. One full hour before his family wakes up; he dedicates this time to reading, praying, and meditating to prepare himself mentally for his day. 

6:45AM – 7AM – Workout

7AM – 7:15AM – Feeds the chickens and lets the hens out. (They have chickens!)

7:15AM – 8:30AM – Makes breakfast for his kids and spends quality time with each of them. Gideon likes to play chess, Della loves to play catch outside, and Ronen loves to roll around on the floor. He likes to spend as much time with them as possible before his wife begins their daily homeschooling lessons and he begins his workday.

8:30AM – 9AM – Faith begins homeschool assignments. Ryeker heads to his office to begin his workday. After he turns on his R2D2 lava lamp, he begins by jotting his To Do list on his wall-mounted whiteboard, as well as weekly and daily priorities. Since Ryeker manages a team of four developers, he also prioritizes the tasks for each developer. 

9AM – 11:45AM – On Mondays, he has ‘standup meetings’ with his team, scheduling time with each dev as needed. All other days, he uses this time to review Pull Requests, which are a mechanism for a developer to notify team members that they have completed a feature in a custom software project. During this process he also tests those features on both iOS and Android devices. Ryeker makes it a point to front load any planned meetings in the morning, so he can dedicate the afternoon to actual development sprints. He has a strict policy of “no meetings” from 1PM to 3PM. (Unless he’s mentoring a new dev, for which he’ll definitely make time.)

11:45AM – Noon – He uses this time to reset. He’ll review his existing To Do list, touch base with devs who have inquiries and make notes of any code that needs re-reviewing. 

Bio Breaks

Why is it important to notate bathroom breaks? Because they’re literally part of the workday; additionally, when you have a house full of adorable kids and pets, it’s easy to see a productive workday get derailed. Ryeker described his bio breaks as running as fast as he can in and out of the main house, as to show urgency in getting back to his office. He’s described having to use “ninja-like movements” to deflect the kiddos from pouncing on him every time he walks in.

Lunch Breaks

Noon – 1PM – Here, Ryeker unplugs with his family. And by “unplug,” I mean, no phones, iPads, video games or TV. He and Faith strive to be present and intentional with the dedicated time they have with their kids. Ryeker and Faith will make lunch, play oodles of games (think Candyland, Guess Who, or Hi-Ho Cherrio), and talk. Ryeker is fully aware of the time his wife puts into teaching their kids every day, so he very much tries to appreciate and connect with her during this time, as well. It’s at this point he reminds himself to stay motivated; he could easily not come back for two hours, since spending time with his family is everything.

Afternoons

1PM – 3:30PM – After lunch, Ryeker puts on his headphones, turns on his Spotify playlist “Coding, Programming, Hacking, Slashing” and it’s all coding all the time. He typically turns off all notifications, as well. At times, he’ll participate in an apprenticeship technique called Pair Programming. If he’s working on a challenging piece of code, he’ll invite a new developer to take the lead as he helps navigate the solution on a liveshare program called Visual Studio Code. As our developer pool grows, it becomes necessary to help disseminate knowledge to up and coming devs so they have the tools they need to tackle a new challenge.

3:30PM – 3:45PM – Mid-afternoon break! Time for tea. Ryeker takes a breather, switches on his electric tea kettle in his office, and tinkers with a water-wheel desk toy for visual ASMR. After a much needed mug of espresso chai, he’s ready to jump back into the groove. 

3:45PM – 4:30PM – Here he continues coding and makes any follow-up calls with the team. He’ll also take this time to “branch prune” in Github/Git, which means deleting “branches” of feature code that go unused or are obsolete. This helps keep the Git workspace more organized. He also uses this time to send end-of-week emails or project recaps to clients and/or project managers. 

4:30PM – 5PM – This is the time Ryeker wipes his whiteboard clean. Any leftover tasks get moved to the next day’s To Do list. End of workday! 

Evenings

5PM – 7PM – The workday has ended and he stumbles out of the office and into the main house. If it’s a Tuesday, he’ll have extended family over for a nice dinner together. For most other days, he, his wife and his kiddos enjoy dinner with themselves, talking or reading Beverly Cleary novels together. (They really love The Mouse and the Motorcycle.) Lately, Gideon (7 years old) has been reading aloud to them!

7PM – 8PM – Bedtime for the kiddos! They sing songs, pray, and get tucked into bed.

8:30PM – 11:30PM – Ryeker and his wife binge watch a TV show, read together, or talk about her day with the kids and their homeschooling adventures. 

11:30PM – Bedtime!

Advice from Ryeker

So many have pivoted to remote work since March of 2020—and many have struggled. Ryeker’s advice for those who work from home is to get spiritual on some level and seek a support system. (Developer or not, everybody should have a support system to help ground them.) Additionally, you should establish a daily routine and stick to it. 

Lastly, WEAR SHOES. He says, “Even if you’re sitting in the same spot for four hours, if you’re not wearing shoes, you’re not getting sh*t done.” (Because nobody is conquering the world in bunny slippers, amirite?) Just kidding, bunny slippers rock.

Big thanks to Ryeker for sharing his work-from-home life for this piece.

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This post was written by Celeste A. Barron, Content Development Manager for Shift3 Technologies. When she’s not staying up way too late scrolling through Twitter, you’ll find her staying up way too late scrolling through Instagram.