A Day With Alda Ly
6:00am: I wake up whenever my 9-month-old son wants me to wake up. My husband and I alternate days when we get up early with Simon, typically around 6:00 or 6:30. On my turn to sleep in, my husband wakes me up at 8am by letting Simon crawl all over me. Cutest alarm clock, ever. This gets me out of bed, and I have my morning espresso while sitting on the floor with him singing, clapping, making silly faces, whatever I can do to make him laugh. Our playtime energizes me for the day.
8:00am: I always take a few seconds to shake out and flatten the sheets and comforter for a “semi-made” bed. I’m a true believer that making the bed in the morning sets a positive and productive tone to the day, and is nice to come home to. Then I check the weather and calendar to plan my outfit. I feel most comfortable in jeans and a button up flannel, my go-to if I don’t have important meetings. Simon is always enthralled by watching me put on makeup—he must thinks it’s food...No breakfast for me usually.
9:15am: My commute is a gorgeous five-minute walk through Brooklyn Heights (a privilege of having your own office is a convenient commute). I use the time to think about the day and get excited. It’s even better if my husband can walk with me as he leaves for work. Hand-in-hand, it’s often the most romantic part of our day.
9:30am: We have a pretty lax office hours policy so folks roll in between 9:30 and 10. Aside from our team meetings every Monday morning, we all generally have some quiet time to catch up on emails and plan our days. I’m continuously experimenting with task management apps, software, calendars, journals, etc. Despite my enthusiastic attempts to try new processes, I always fall back to the good ol’ checklist in my sketchbook.
My days are typically filled with a mix of project site meetings, internal team discussions and reviews, phone calls, one-on-ones, and time for either administrative work or actual designing. There’s much more administration than I would have ever expected, and finding the time for deep focus on design during regular work hours is a daily struggle. Luckily, I have a talented team who push designs forward everyday.
1:00pm: Nine out of ten days, I eat at my desk. Every minute at the office is precious—the longer it takes me to get the day’s work done, the later I get home to see my son. On a good day, I can run outside to pick something up and bring it back up. A tossed salad, banh mi, a poke bowl, whatever is nearby. On a busy day, someone in the office will be kind and pick something up for me. There are days that I don’t have a bite until 3pm. At the very least, I use my lunch as a quick mental break from work to read up on news or check personal email or Instagram.
3:00pm: The afternoon is more of the same, with a bit more snacking. My vice is potato chips.
5:30pm: I’m working until the last minute. I try to be out the door every day by 5:30 so I can relieve our nanny on time. Since my office is so close, I always get home before my husband. He has a 40-minute commute so our agreement is that we both leave work at the same time, and we take turns staying late if needed. It’s a true partnership when it comes to our working/parenting share.
6:00pm: Our nanny, Kristal, is an incredible cook. She usually leaves a home cooked meal for us. We are blessed! The early evening is all about Simon. We play, have dinner, read a book, have bath time, and it’s lights out for him at 7pm.
7:00pm: Every night, I optimistically plan on getting work done, but most nights I can’t get myself off the couch and in front of the computer—I’m mentally drained and tell myself I deserve the night off. I wind down with a whiskey on the rocks and a TV show, and chat with my husband about the day, work, vent about Trump, etc. Tidying the apartment calms me. Putting things away and running the dishwasher at the end of the day allows me to sleep well. I like the peace of mind knowing I won’t be anxious in the morning because I’ve woken up to a mess.
12:00am: Our dog, Sophie, often curls up between us. Our cat, Kittays, also lounges nearby and keeps on us. There is also, of course, the rare (not so rare?) night where I catch a second wind and stay up until 1 or 2 am writing proposals. Either way, I can never get to bed before midnight.