A Hidden Gem

November 17, 2021
by: SMK
Wave Divider

A Day in the Life of SMK's Lead Designer.

We are passionate about delivering an unrivaled web design and development experience as we support our wide range of amazing clients. The pursuit of this has led us to source and build a team of designers and developers from across the world to complement our local team.

One such team member is Gem who is based in the Philippines. Gem is our Lead Designer and we have asked her to give us a little insight into a day in the life of a UX (User eXperience) Designer and what a normal working day might look like for her, enjoy!

I have been working remotely as a web and graphic designer long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit so when companies started closing offices to transition to working from home, it wasn’t a big deal for me. Most people I know assume that working remotely means getting to work wherever and whenever you want — in a coffee shop, a coworking space, or in the park. 

While I admit that’s the dream scenario, it’s not really practical these days. During social gatherings, I frequently get asked what it’s like working remotely for an overseas company. I get it — it’s always nice to know about other people’s lifestyles and how they fit everything they do in a day. So what better way to show my daily routine than writing a blog?

7:30 to 8:00 AM - Waking up, but not getting up.

I spend the first few minutes of my morning scrolling through my social media profiles to get updates on my friends and what’s happening around the globe. Before the lockdown, I would get up much earlier and go for a jog but these days, I just like staying in bed more.

8:00 to 10:00 AM-ish - Mornings are for coffee hot chocolate and contemplation.

“Netflix and Chill” hot chocolate

“Netflix and Chill” hot chocolate

As Hopper from Stranger Things (one of my favorite Netflix series) would say, “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.” Except I don’t drink coffee. So for me, it’s hot chocolate. Filipino breakfast usually includes rice but when I’m feeling lazy, I just make instant cup noodles and I would turn on Netflix while eating. Recently I’ve been catching up on the Arrowverse TV shows.

Tapsilog for Breakfast

Tapsilog (short for Tapa = dried cured beef, Sinangag = garlic-fried rice, Itlog = egg), a common Filipino breakfast

10:00 to 12:00 AM - Chores and “Me” time.

Around this time, I do any of the following: help with household chores; feed and spend time with my cats, Lili and Chichu (yes, I’m a cat person); or indulge in my hobbies like playing a video game, reading a good book or web comic, or learning something new. It’s also around this time that I wait for deliveries because I may or may not be addicted to online shopping.

Chores and “Me” time. Cat Lili


Chores and “Me” time Cat Chichu


12:00 to 1:30 PM - Preparing for work.

Before entering the battlefield, I must organize. I check my emails and schedule, then sort my tasks and priorities. At SMK, we strive to operate with fast turnaround times so making use of our time efficiently is crucial in our process. If I ever start feeling sleepy, I would simply make myself another cup of hot chocolate.

1:30 to 6:00 PM - Work focus mode.

Nothing really exciting going on around here except getting work done according to my schedule. My weapons of choice are Figma and Markup which I use to design and collect feedback respectively. I’ve been an avid fan of Figma since I transitioned from using Photoshop for web design. I work at odd hours due to the time difference between our team members, but I prefer it that way because I’ve never been a morning person anyway.

6:00 to 7:00 PM - Dinner time.

At this point, my last remaining brain cells are probably rioting so it’s time for a break. Dinner time is almost just like breakfast, but with my mom and brother. We would catch up, talk about our day, or do a video call with our close relatives.

Work From Home Area

In my “WFH” area using Figma. My workspace used to face a window but because it's very hot in the Philippines, I had to move it to avoid the heat of the sun

7:00 PM - Back to work.

After dinner, it’s time to finish off the remaining hours of work and make use of the remaining creative juice that I have for the day. I would usually turn on some white noise or nature sounds to keep me from being distracted.

9:00 PM - Take a shower and unwind.

After staring at the computer for so many hours, I take a few minutes to rest my eyes, then I take a hot shower. My idea of unwinding is enjoying a video game with my significant other so I boot up my pc, and play together while catching up on Discord.

11:30 PM - Head to bed.

When I start feeling exhausted, I head to bed and either read or watch a movie or episode of a show and wait till my eyelids start feeling heavy.

1:00 AM - Knockout.

This is how my day generally goes. It varies a lot depending on my weekly priorities. There are days when I have a lot more time for leisure and myself. Other days I would have multiple deadlines and have to work longer hours.

I can definitely say that working remotely has been a blessing for me, especially when I get to spend more time with the things I love most — my cats!

spend more time with my cats!

Working with SMK has been a refreshing experience for me because I get to work with a talented group of people who recognize each other’s strengths and make me feel supported. I am super excited to see what’s ahead for our growing team.

She is a purrr-fect fit fur our team.

Surviving a day in front of a screen without coffee - that surely deserves some kind of medal? We love Gem’s creativity and outstanding designs. She is a purrr-fect fit fur our team. (sorry, not sorry.)

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