A Day In The Life: Nicole Wilcox, Software Engineer

27 February, 2020

Nicole Wilcox, software engineer. Worked in fintech for about 7 years in varying roles. Also had a stint at an enterprise data storage start-up. 

What time do you wake up?
About 7am if I’m coming in to the office, otherwise closer to 8.30am if working from home. 

What’s the ideal way to start your day?
Probably just some fruit and oats haha. 

What is your morning routine ?
Don’t think I really have one! Just get up, shower, and go to work. 

How soon do you begin doing work-related things each morning?
Basically only when I get to work. Maybe I’ll check Slack on the bus, otherwise I try to keep work and life separate. 

What’s your media consumption or interaction like?
I love music but I just listen to what YouTube Music tells me to! Usually some sort of electronic music. I enjoy true crime, infosec, financial, and business podcasts. 

What would you do during a typical day?
A typical workday would be figuring out my goal for the day, checking if I have any meetings, then lots of coding!

Photo by Christopher Gower / Unsplash

Where do your best ideas come from?
My problem isn’t ideas, but it’s choosing which one to action, then getting it done. My brain likes to fire me lots of different ideas all the time, but I’m still working how to be more action-biased and how to focus in on one idea at a time. 

What does inspiration look like for you?
I definitely feel very inspired when someone achieves something either they, or someone else, thought they couldn’t. I’m all about mind over matter and I think anyone can achieve anything they set their mind to, so I love seeing it in action. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love being able to make a real-world impact in a fast-paced, innovative environment. If things are too prescribed and aren’t changing fast enough then I get bored pretty quickly!

What about the least enjoyable?
Not exactly un-enjoyable, but there’s definitely a bit of pressure to get things right – we as a company are trying to scale and we need to get the right combination of things going in order to do this. In saying that, this is exactly why I chose to join a start-up. The right amount of pressure is good pressure, although there are definitely days where I feel a bit of weight on the ol’ shoulders!

Do you have any side hustles you’re juggling alongside being an entrepreneur?
Over the years I have tried and failed to set up a successful side hustle. I have come to the conclusion that if it’s going to happen, it’s best for it to happen organically. Starting a venture of any size can be stressful, so I think it’s important for people to evaluate why they are trying to start a side hustle or business. Life is about finding the right balance between different types of achievements – starting a family or having successful relationships can be just as much of an achievement as having your own business. My main side hustle will always be making sure I’m happy! 

What’s your best productivity hack?
Plan out what your goal is, whether that’s at a high or low level and break it down into actionable bites. If you’re not working effectively enough on something, you either don’t want to be doing it, or you don’t know what you should be doing.

Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it?
I think if anyone said they were never stressed, they’d be lying. It’s a normal human feeling to feel stressed in certain situations – to me it’s about how you deal with it. This comes back to what you can and can’t control – if there’s nothing you can do about it, then there’s no point in stressing. I always try to evaluate why I’m feeling stressed and think of a way to figure it out. If there’s nothing I can do about it, then I’ll try to let it go. If there’s something I can do about it, then I’ll do the best I can to deal with it, until it’s either solved or there’s nothing more I can do. 

I don’t necessarily intentionally practice mindfulness, but I feel like it’s important to know how our brains work and how we can train our brains to think in certain ways. Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl were two books that really helped me change the way I think.

A little reminder to take a moment for ourselves. Photo by Georgia de Lotz / Unsplash

What is your evening routine?
Nothing exciting! I like to switch off in the evenings; I’ll usually watch some TV and I’ll often take the chance to do some tidying or cleaning if I’ve been putting it off.

Any food and drinks that help you throughout the day?
Literally just whatever I feel I need (or don’t need) at the time – e.g. coffee, sometimes I can go weeks (or even months) without it, but sometimes I’ll have it every day for a whole week.

What time do you go to sleep? How many hours sleep do you aim for?
I’m usually in bed by 11pm, and I try to get at least 8 hours sleep. The more the better! If I’m working from home then I can easily get 9 hours. 

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