June 19, 2021

My Day, My Way

The art of making the workday work for me.

A few months ago, I moved to Bratislava and started a 9-to-5-ish office job. While my previous roles were quite diverse, I never had such a routine before. Either it was because I worked on-site and changed the "office" daily, or had things scheduled outside regular working hours. Sometimes, it was a combination of both.

When I was a news photographer, the world was my office. Some days started in the afternoon, and others at 3 a.m.

Having the 9-5 lifestyle has plenty of advantages. One can establish a healthy daily rhythm, and the predictability takes away plenty of stress that comes with uncertainty. However, it is not all gold either. Having the same commute followed by the same tasks can easily lead to a stage when the brain goes on autopilot. The work gets done, but the days start to blend, the excitement is gone, and years pass by quicker than a blink of an eye. I am lucky to have fab coworkers, which helps a ton. Still, I am actively trying to spice up my days to avoid that autopilot stage. Here's a look at a workday I had earlier this week; how did my efforts go?

Morning: A necessary splash of water gets me somewhat conscious, but I get fully awake as I get outside: Instead of driving or taking a bus to work, I go grab one of the rental bikes.

Cycling serves as a bit of a workout, so my muscles won't deteriorate as they would if I'd only sit between a car and the office all day. And it is fun!

My favourite routes are separated from other traffic, so one doesn't need to fear being run over and can simply enjoy the ride, the vast personal space, and the flow of air around. It allows me to take in the surroundings and appreciate the sights on the way to work.

I get to the office just in time, as the outside temperature rises to ridiculous digits. Thank goodness, an airconditioned space equals heaven. I drink some water as I fire up the PC.

I am ready. Hello emails, hello media monitoring, hello translations, hello whatever there is.

Noon comes in no time, which means one thing — lunch break. The amount of restaurants around gives the opportunity of something new every day. Sweet or salty? Meat or vegetarian? Western or Asian? ...Yes, the pleasant problems to solve!

The afternoon plays well into the cards; I get a temporary pause from excel spreadsheets and content management systems as I prepare equipment for a press conference. Meanwhile, I am thinking about Dresden since my watch is constantly ringing with heat warnings again. It is stupid-hot outside! But the thoughts of Dresden are delightful, and I support them with some fantastic tunes from German DJs. It is almost five already.

When I am off work, I cycle to a hairdresser nearby. It's not that I wouldn't like the look of my hair as it is; I think that I'd better enjoy them while I still have some. However, drastic temperatures require drastic measures. Off they go.

I am exhausted after the day. Still, there's another cure for the hotness I want to try, and so I am not going home yet: the other side of the city has a good-sized lake.

I am heading for a spot in the shade of trees. Strangely, it is all mine; the people around lay in the sun. How do these folks survive sunbath in temperatures like these? I don't know the answer to that; that's why I go to shade. But at that point, I don't need to care anymore.

"Ahh, that's better." The evening comes in a heartbeat or two, and I go home. Sleep, repeat.

Of course, it is not that every day works out this well. But detours on the way home from work are slowly becoming a tradition, as they keep on delivering. The picture from the abandoned missile base I posted previously happened just like that. Fun right after work.

See, that's the reason for the slightly inappropriate clothing for the activity.

From my experience, one can fit at least one small adventure in a day to keep things fresh. And it makes all the difference.

If you liked this article, you might also like the posts about the cities where I lived or other thoughts about coping mechanisms that help me to navigate through difficult situations:

Passing the Cov19 Lockdown in natural settings.

Night explorations

Going into the night to escape personal darkness.

You can also visit my blog archives for more categories and topics. Thanks for reading!

Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Essays, Stories


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