A “Typical” Week

As we’ve grown and changed, so has my work schedule. This year though, I’ve settled into a pretty nice schedule that I hope I can keep for a while. Here’s how a typical week goes:

  • Monday – because we have to ship out all of the sales from the weekend, Monday’s are our busiest day.  The entire team heads in to the warehouse.  Whenever we finish orders, the four of us have our weekly meeting while our employees get the warehouse ready for the rest of the week (stock shelves, make boxes, fill the peanut dispenser, etc).  This is the only time all week that we all see each other so we discuss anything and everything that needs the input of the team. The meetings generally last 2-3 hours and we head home between 4 PM and 5 PM.  After I get home I usually shower, eat, and then actually try to do some work.  Generally I have some action items from the meeting so I try to take care of those if I can before I’m totally wiped out.
  • Tuesday – my warehouse day.  The remaining three days my partners each go in for a day.  Currently, we have Charlie coming in every day so every day is Charlie + an owner.  Once school ends and John comes back, we’ll probably have him in a few days a week, plus I think there’s a good chance we add another part timer later in the year.  On average Tuesdays, Charlie can do everything in the warehouse and I can get a lot of small things done.  All I need to do is check his orders before he seals them.  However, on busy Tuesdays (seems like every week lately) I go out and help him so we can get orders out in time.  I try to leave right at 3 PM.  At night I’ll try to do some small projects or wrap up anything else I have from the Monday meeting.
  • Wednesday – my “busy” day.  I go to the gym, run errands, do laundry, shave my head, meet up with friends for lunch, have dinner with my parents, and sometimes meet with Mike to review any design/development stuff that could benefit from some face to face time.  I try to “batch” all of the running around that I have to do. I tend to be really worn out by the end of Wednesday because these first three days I don’t really stop moving.
  • Thursday & Friday – my work days.  Other than going to the gym, I just stay home and focus on my work.  These are the days where I can get multiple 3 hour chunks to work uninterrupted, and in turn this is when I get the majority of my programming done.  I can usually work hard all day and then actually relax and have some time to myself at night.
  • Saturday & Sunday – every weekend is different, but for the most part I do what I want.  For the past few months, I’ve been trying to get as much done on LockerPulse as I can, almost treating Saturday and Sunday like another Thursday/Friday.  But now that the majority of the serious development is done, I’m going to go back to just checking my email once each day as my only requirement.  If I want to do a few hours of work, I will, but I won’t feel like I have to.

I’m sure this will all change within the next six months (it always does…and I kind of like that it does), but for now I’m in a nice little groove.

14 comments on A “Typical” Week

  1. Tim says:

    I never asked any of you guys, but what time do you go in on the wharehouse days? I’d imagine it’s sometime between 7-9?

    Work “chunking” works great for me too, for some reason the 2-3 hour chunks allow me to focus and execute on tasks effectively. Additionally I typically work 3 or 4 “chunks” a day so in a productive day I can get 12 hours of work in and it is never too overwhelming. Another nice thing about this and any at-home-job you enjoy doing is that the weekends don’t mean you have to stop, in fact I sometimes prefer to bust my ass during the weekend and take it easier during the week, of course this varies on what I have going on personally.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Good question. We usually shoot for 9 – 3 at the warehouse, although during busy times we come in a little earlier and leave a little later.

      I too enjoy working on the weekends sometimes in exchange for taking my free time during the week. It’s a little tougher for us because e-commerce still has a little bit of that “9-5, M-F” thing going on. That’s when our vendors are open, and that’s when we have our warehouse open, so I always feel like I have to be a little more on call during those hours unless I specifically tell my partners I’ll be gone all day ahead of time.

  2. Joshua Holt says:

    Excellent. I can’t help but want to post my own “typical” week. Perhaps you’ll find it insightful!

    Monday – Show up for work around 10:00am because that seems to be the time everybody else is getting there. Work. Home by 7:00-7:30pm if nothing big is going on. Otherwise, home anywhere from 9:00pm to midnight. Make dinner and try to work on side projects for a few hours before bed (time permitting).

    Tuesday – Same.

    Wednesday – Same, except dinner with colleagues. No time for side projects.

    Thursday – Same.

    Friday – Same. Might go out after work.

    Saturday & Sunday – Every weekend is different. Typically won’t have to work at the job, but very real possibility that I’ll be asked to do something. I love the weekends because I can harness a full day’s worth of energy to work on any project in particular. Usually spend 3-4 hour time slots working on something that requires focusing and is impossible for me to get done incrementally during the week. Also, obviously the weekend is a chance to relax and unwind.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Awesome Josh. You know, this wouldn’t be a bad idea for a website. Get professionals of all sorts to describe their job and their typical week. I think it would help kids in high school/college decide what they really want to do with their lives. All we ever hear is “you can make $X if you become an engineer/lawyer/etc” but we don’t know what an average day is like for people who really live the job.

      • Joshua Holt says:

        Yes, I think your idea would be helpful for high/school college kids. In case any are reading your website now or find it in the future, I’d say that I don’t expect to have the above schedule for the rest of my life. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that I am earning lots of money, so I’m well-compensated for being on call 24/7. When you sell your soul, make sure you get a good price for it …

  3. Rob says:

    Adam, thanks for sharing.

    It sounds like you’ve settled into a great routine. I wonder, do you see yourself as a workaholic? Is that a good thing? Is it possible to succeed in business and be anything other than a workaholic, at least in the early years?

    One thing you didn’t mention is how long Charlie comes in for on the 3 days – is he there all day packing? I know you’ve grown a lot, but with all your automation and efficiency drives I just picture the orders magically getting done in 15 minutes!

    You say that ecom has the 9-5 thing going on, but in a lot of ways I do think that’s a good thing, for no other reason that that’s what everyone else works. If you have the flexibility to work 24/7 soon you find yourself working at odd hours and not being free for friends and social events. As flawed as the 9-5 system might be, if it’s what everyone else is doing then it’s much easier to fit in. That said, it’s great to be able to exchange time – ie. do your work in the evening sometimes so you can run errands in the middle of the day when it’s quiet or take an afternoon off at the beach if it’s hot!

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Really good questions as always Rob.

      Do I consider myself a workaholic? Yes and no. Am I sort of addicted to my work? Yea, I really enjoy what I’m doing and I garner a lot of satisfaction out of it. My main “hobbies” are this blog, reading tech blogs and magazines, and learning new web stuff – which I think just goes to show that this stuff interests me more than anything else in the world. No in the sense that I rarely don’t get a good nights sleep because of work, I’ve never missed a workout because of work, and I can’t recall ever missing an important social event because of work. When I think workaholic I think of some guy who is so obsessed with work that he doesn’t care about anything or anyone else, and that’s not me. When I’m with my friends or family or girlfriend I don’t talk much about work at all (I just told my dad about LockerPulse last week even though he’s a huge sports fan and a computer programmer).

      Charlie actually comes in all 5 days now. I wasn’t exactly clear about that above. On an average day he probably spends ~4 hours packing orders. The rest of the time is spend unboxing inventory, cleaning the place up, taking inventory, making boxes for the next day, and a bunch of other misc tasks that keep us running smoothly.

      I agree about the 9 – 5 being good because that’s when everyone else works. I think I would have a harder time acclimating to “normal” social situations because I’d be working all sorts of crazy hours.

      I almost always run my errands during the day because I hate crowds 🙂 I also will take time off to go play basketball if it’s nice out or go for a walk or bike ride (not really many beaches around here unfortunately…), but I don’t do that quite as often as I should. Hopefully with the nice weather coming up I’ll force myself to do that more often.

  4. Rob says:

    I guess if it’s not a problem that means you’re not a workaholic – just dedicated!

    Can you imagine the you from 2007 reading this? Having an employee come in 5 days a week to do the packing etc. is awesome. It’s fantastic that you’re able to remove yourself from those mundane tasks and focus on growing things. Do you have a progression path for Charlie? Is there any way he could move into another position, gain more responsibility or earn more money?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Yup, we do have a “progression path” for Charlie. We’ve been steadily increasing his responsibility. Just last week we started teaching him how to process the orders on our shipping computer. He’s finishing his associates degree in the Fall too. It’s important to him and us that he finishes that up. Assuming all goes well, sometime around then I think he’ll become a full-time salaried employee.

  5. […] meetings, and we make money by packing and shipping physical goods. As I noted in my post about my typical week, the rest of the week we don’t see each other and everyone works very independently. We have […]

  6. Rob says:

    I was thinking a bit more about the question I’d asked about Charlie and your response. I guess what I really want to know is if you expect to grow fast enough so that you can continue to offer him more responsibility and more money so that he could reasonably stay with you his entire working life. ie. if you don’t grow fast enough, he may end up with less money/responsibility than if he’d joined a larger company – however if you continue to grow at the speed you are and he sticks with you and pleases you then he could end up in a far stronger situation than if he’d got a job somewhere else.

    Obviously there are some jobs that will always need doing. You will always need people to pick and pack, stock, stocktake and tidy. Some of these employees may never progress beyond that point, some will take the job as a stop-gap and others may hope to work their way up through the company. It sounds to me that Charlie falls into the latter group but are restrictions/benefits of his growth by the growth speed of Pure Adapt something you have considered?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Um, we have considered all of that to some extent, but for the most part we’re just focused on giving him more immediate responsibility and getting him full time in the coming months. We have a pretty good idea of how the next few full and part-time employees will fall into place, but a lot can change. For the most part we tend to think less than a year ahead on almost everything, and in this case the next year probably just means hiring him full time and maybe one more part-timer. Early next year might bring a full-time customer service person, but that’s as far along as we’ve seriously discussed. We’re doing our best to offer employees jobs that they like (good pay, good benefits, good flexibility, good work environment, etc), but inevitably they may leave for one reason or another. Only so much we can do about that. We document our training so that it will help with future hires, and always try to foresee/plan for the worst case scenario (we control our employees’ access to every single aspect of our system and can change that if something goes wrong or they quit).

  7. Rob says:

    That’s probably a good idea rather than getting too far ahead of yourself like I was implying.

    Are the customer service questions you have now taking up a great deal of time? We’ve found that no matter how clear our website, contracts or emails are people still ask really basic questions and it’s very rare for us to actually get questions that stop us in our tracks or that we have to do much more than give stock answers to. Every time we do get one of these questions we fix it in two ways (Read an article the other month about someone else who does this – might have been you…) – we sort things for that customer and we try and fix the system so that the same issue won’t come up again – often that means making wording clearer or putting extra checks in place.

    It’s true that it’s inevitable that staff are unlikely to stay with you for the long haul, but it’s great that you’re looking a step or two ahead of where you are now so you can have a clear path for them.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Yea, the customer service questions take up the majority of Greg’s time. And they increase proportionally to sales, as does the amount of inventory ordering he has to do, so his job can get really really chaotic when we’re busy. As you know we do our best to automate and make things super clear to customers, but there’s still a lot of people who like to ask questions and one of the ways we try to differentiate ourselves is by trying to provide great customer service to every customer who contacts us. Inevitably I think that’s going to require one person whose job it is to do solely customer service all day long…which is OK with me because I think if we didn’t have all of our efficiencies in place it could be the job of 2 or 3 people.

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