We caught up with Michal Skula to learn what a typical day as a Senior Full Stack Engineer at Archlet looks like. Michal walked us through his morning rituals, how he structures his day and his favorite part of the job (which often has him playing detective).
I wake up and usually start my day with a coffee. We used to have a dog and I got into a habit of walking her around 5:00 or 6:00 AM, so I’m still in this routine of an early morning walk. I take a coffee, go by myself and walk up a set of stairs 100m high and look out over all of Lucerne and the mountains. It’s the starting point of every day and something I do just for myself. Then I do chores around the house. I think about everything that needs to be done before I sit in front of the computer so I can have a clear mind and focus on my work. That’s what grown-ups do - focus on things that need to be done. Especially when you have a couple of kids. Our son goes to school so one chore usually involves dragging him out of bed and me asking “are you going to make your bus?” and him saying “it’s in 2 minutes I can make it.” I also spend some time learning about what is happening in the world. Whether from newsletters, Facebook (yes, I’m a boomer), messaging apps or talking to friends. Sometimes you just need to look beyond what you are about to spend your day on.
Every morning we have a stand-up at 9:00. Before that meeting, I tend to go through our boards to see if anything needs to be updated, or if anything needs my urgent attention. After the meeting, I usually go for my second cup of coffee and try to create a list of everything I need to do that day and what steps I will take. That’s really how I structure anything I do, because I’m someone who can be distracted easily, especially when working from home, so I try to mitigate anything that could drag me out of my focus. I structure my code in the same way—I tend to make comments about what needs to be the next step because there are a lot of things on our minds and we could forget what’s going on.
Lunch is time for me to have a pause. If it’s sunny I take another walk, listen to music, read a book, or find another set of stairs to climb. It’s time to think and just be in a place. When you focus for a long time on one thing, I find it better to take a step aside—to let yourself drift away for a little bit so that you can look at it from a different angle.
In the afternoon, I often have several meetings where we discuss what needs to be developed on the backend and frontend. If there are no meetings, I get to work. I like to go through PRS, look at what has changed, and see if there are any tweaks we could make to the code. Otherwise, I dive into my projects or personally, my favorite kind of task is destroying old code and making it better. That’s a passion for me. I like fixing stuff. Writing a new piece of code feels easier for me than fixing because fixing requires detective work and I love the challenge. When you write new features or code you can write it within boundaries to be sure it works, but the bugs are the meat of the work.
Throughout the afternoon I also take little breaks to do the dishes and fill the washing machine. Again, it allows me to step outside my work and think about what I’m about to do from a different perspective.
In the evening, I shut off my laptop. I like to completely switch off and let go of all my ideas from the day. I don’t need the internet or anything. I don’t charge my phone throughout the day, and when it depletes. I just leave it. Every evening I play guitar. I try to practice for at least an hour. It’s like exercising: I start with a warm-up, then I play my own music. Other than that I try to get out of my surroundings, meet people, play music with friends, go for walks, or take pictures. And then I usually wind down and chill at the end of the night, watching a movie.