Designer Duncan has been with Blueleaf for a whopping 10 years, and we've spent all that time trying to get him to agree to do this feature. Well sort of, he has done a bit of design work too! 

Over to Dunc to tell us about a day in his life...

My standard day goes one of two ways - I'm either working from the office near Chester or I'm working from home in Wales, which I normally do once or twice a week.

Very early: I get up. I have the same start time whether I'm in the office or working from home, mainly due to my twin daughters' wake-up time being set to 05.45! I have to be up and showered before they wake then head downstairs for breakfast, Mr Tumbles and nappy changes (the girls not me). 

07.00: It’s Monday - I’m in the office so I set off on the 70-mile commute to get into the office for 08.30. Or if the office tuck shop needs stocking-up I leave ten minutes early to grab chocolate and crisps. Yes, we have a not-for-profit office tuck shop - it even has a till, which was my Blueleaf Secret Santa present last year. I always work in the office on a Monday as it’s when we get together for our team meeting and it gets the week off to a good start.

08.30: Start work. Check the emails or messages on our new system 'Slack' and enjoy the first brew of the day - white with one sugar if you're asking, Vicky!

I tend to keep Slack and my email open on my second screen, unless I really need to shut myself off;  in which case it’s close off all non-essentials, put my headphones on and listen to iTunes or Spotify. 

09.00: Monday morning meeting. We all get together (London via Skype) for a catch-up about what everyone's been up to over the weekend and what we have on this week, as well as a general update on how things are going at Blueleaf.

09.35: Scheduling - Traffic Manager, Sarah checks I’m OK with the schedule for the week. All looks good to me - it's a bitty day which is good for a Monday to keep things moving. I have time for general Laura Ashley issues, Red Bull X-Fighters development and some time to update LJMU wireframes and the new Laura Ashley project (which I shall refer to as Project X - shhhhh). One of the things I love about what we do is the diversity and general randomness a day holds. Soft Furnishings AVA wire frames in the morning, followed by design to promote crazy stunts on motorbikes, with a few responsive prototypes for a university thrown in and then design to help promote other soft furnishings.

09.40: General Laura Ashley issues. I spend the next hour working through the JIRA issues (another system we use to track issues and projects), for Laura Ashley. This means checking that issues I have raised or been involved in, to see if they can be closed to need more work. Generally, a couple of the issues need assigning back to developers for amends or deployment and a couple raise questions to fire back to the team at Laura Ashley. One of the issues is about the scale of a fabric on some made to measure shades - I double check the measurements and discover some need amending so this goes on my schedule for tomorrow.

11.00: Red Bull X-Fighters development - I'm working on some ongoing developments for the next phase of the X-Fighters site, suggesting new content and ways of using existing content to help showcase the sport and events to newcomers. I’m really enjoying looking at one little area of the site and seeing how we can really push it. We have already looked at the content and worked on the initial design and I'm just developing this based on talking it through with the Project Manager Andrew and Chris, our User Experience Director. Just need to make a few minor amends and improvements to make sure it is ready to go through with Red Bull on Wednesday.

12.30: Lunch is here, mmmmmm! In the office I normally have lunch at my desk, check my personal emails and Whatsapp etc. 

13.00: Back to Red Bull. More of the same for X-fighters - I've finished the changes and passed these back to the team here. Time for a brew - think it’s my round and this, as per usual leads to several complaints about the quality of the drinks I make.

13.30: LJMU (Liverpool John Moores University) wire frame updates - a few changes to the Axure prototypes, nothing major, just a few additional bits of content that need adding to a few pages. As this is a responsive prototype we are updating both desktop and mobile version.

I’m fairly new to Axure, but this looks good so far; just would like it to update a little faster on the live prototype.

14.00: Laura Ashley Project X...are you intrigued? 

To be honest this is not really a secret, just trying to create a little interest. We are looking at ways to adapt the new responsive site to work better in-store. This is a massive growth area and bridging the gap between online and in-store experiences is a key area to help drive sales and improve customer experience. I am on this for the rest of the day, working up visuals in Photoshop to show the team at Laura Ashley.

17.00/17.30: Finish for the day. If I am in the office then I’m normally home about 6.45pm just in time to put the girls to bed.

If it's Tuesday

Very early: I’m working from home. As mentioned before I get up the same time if I am in the office or at home; my daughters don’t seem to care I don’t have to drive to work! If I am working from home I take the girls to Nursery about 7.30am and I'm back before 8am to get set up for the day.

08.30: Start work. Check the emails and Slack with the first brew of the day. When I am at home I have to make my own brew using instant coffee - none of that nice filter stuff we get in the office. 

OK, so the rest of the day follows a similar format. Except lunch is with my wife and girls rather than with Woody and Tom Maddocks in the office. 

17.30:  Finish for the day. As I'm working from home I help with feeding the little ones as well as bath time and playtime before bed.

After I've downed tools for the day I tend to check emails and Slack notifications so I'm ahead of the game for the morning. That is unless there is something really good on telly...like Mr Tumbles. 

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