A Day with Nicole Dosso
6:00am: I set my alarm clock for 6am every morning. I have always been an early riser and typically wake up before my alarm sets off. I take no more than 30 minutes to get ready. I used to only wear black, but I prefer color now, and unless I’m visiting a construction site, I will always wear a dress.
As a young child, I disliked hair on my face. I would secure the long hair that cascaded down my back in a ponytail further secured in a braid topped off with a plastic colored headband to prevent any loose stands. The bun today is my signature look. I wear my hair in a bun every day. I even wore a bun to my wedding. If you were to ask me, I think it makes me look like a schoolteacher.
6:30am: I have a 4‐minute commute on a slow day from my home in Brooklyn Heights to Wall Street where I work. On my way to work I get my coffee from a bodega inside the Clark Street station - the only option prior to 7am. I line up in the morning with the construction workers, carrying hard hats on their way to work. When I pay the owner for my coffee, he asks,” You are a Lawyer?” I respond, “I am an Architect” …”A Lawyer, good”. We have a similar conversation every morning. I guess the bun makes me look legal.
7:00am: I am at work by no later than 7am. The first two hours are the most important part of my day. When I was, younger, I started arriving to work early to keep pace with the contractors submitting request for information before the sun came up.
First thing each morning I create a list of the goals for the day. The list is the start of a work plan, identifying first what needs to be done. Two days a week I have a standing 7:30am meeting with an employee who works remotely. We have a solid workflow and ironically accomplish more during that time then we did when sitting next to each other at 14 Wall Street.
We offer flex hours to our employees. Most staff start to arrive between 9 to 9:30, some close to 10. I am liberal about arrival time. I emphasize communication amongst teammates - responsible employees know what needs to get done. Between 9 and noon if I am not in job related meetings, I am meeting with teams discussing projects. There is a round table adjacent to my desk with a laptop and screen, and to avoid distractions, I prefer to sit at the table in lieu of my desk.
12:00pm: I am known for working through lunch. However, if I schedule meetings during lunch hours I typically will order lunch for others. I will rarely eat. The few times I have indulged in lunch with colleagues it is always pleasant and I immediately intend to do this again. The truth is the work hours are precious and the list continues to grow throughout the day.
4:00pm: In absence of breakfast or lunch, by 4:00 I am typically starving. I will admit, I like junk food, bags of chips to be specific. My little niece appropriately calls it ‘Party Food.’ I like her style, it sounds so much better than junk. Party Food is good...it reminds me of the past, it is comforting, and efficiently addresses hunger. A good friend once told me,”If that is your worse vice, you are lucky.”
7:30pm: As a student, I always did my work at the library. Books were left in the school locker. This avoided the need for a backpack and more importantly, set boundaries between work and play. This rigor stayed with me through college and into professional practice. I work a lot of hours but work has always stayed in the office.
I leave the office by 8. At 7:30 I start to prepare for departure. I take a quick pass through unopened emails, revisit the list, review the next day’s calendar and prepare any necessary documents for early morning meetings. Then I am off. As the door closes behind me, I step onto Wall Street, take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh air.
8:00pm: In my entire career, I have never eaten dinner at work. My goal was always to finish what I needed to for the day as quickly as possible. I am lucky; my husband is a great cook. We make an effort to have dinner together most nights. I like a glass of Rose when I arrive home from work - I buy the wine from the liquor store around the corner from our apartment. The man at the register who also happens to be my neighbor always remarks about the Rose purchase: “The girl that does not want summer to end.”
9:00pm: When I moved to a furniture‐less apartment on the Upper West side as a recent graduate from architecture school, I had two suitcases. The apartment was a studio but given my limited possessions the space seemed large. Sixteen years later as I was packing to leave I was amazed by how much stuff I had acquired. In the move to Brooklyn Heights I parted ways with most things including a well‐used television.
Today, I like having few possessions. There is something liberating about it. With the exception of our beloved books my goal is to own no more than what can fit into two suitcases. We have a lot of books. After dinner, I like to read. Sometimes a chapter of a book long ago read.
10:30pm: I set the alarm for 6:00am and scroll though current events on my phone.
11:00pm: I am in bed no later than 11:00. During my time on the Upper West side I recall having been a poor sleeper. During the move to Brooklyn Heights I returned to my old apartment to pick up the remaining pieces left behind, it was only then I noticed the traffic and significant noise pollution. I loved living on the Upper West side, and there was a period I vowed I would never leave! One week after moving to Brooklyn Heights, I wondered what I had been doing on the Upper West side all those years. I sleep really well in Brooklyn Heights.