Work Style Profile: Marie Poulin
Welcome to the next profile in our Work Styles series! In each profile, we highlight one person’s untraditional workday. You’ll get an inside look at alternatives to the traditional 9–5, Monday-Friday schedule (and maybe pick up something new to try).
Today, we’re featuring the lovely and talented Marie Poulin! Marie is the co-founder of Oki Doki and creator of Notion Mastery. At 37, she was diagnosed with ADHD and is passionate about helping folks customize their workflows and workspaces to meet their unique needs.
In this profile, we get an inside look at how she themes her workdays, schedules around low-energy mornings, and runs a successful business while having ADHD. Let’s dive in!
What does a day in your work life look like?
“Every day looks a little different, but generally speaking, I like to theme my days of the week.
- Mondays tend to be focused on planning and administrative work, including team meetings
- Tuesdays are teaching-focused
- Wednesdays are for content creation and deep work
- Thursdays are for marketing-focused activities and connecting with my network (podcast interviews, connection calls)
- Fridays are buffer days.
Mornings always begin with coffee, sometimes with my husband, depending on whether or not he has any early morning meetings.
Then I start the day with quick wins, smaller administrative activities, and any tasks that help my team move forward on their work. Afternoons are when I’m able to focus on deep work.
Since I work with my husband, we often take a lunch break together, followed by a short walk. Most real work happens in the afternoons. Sometimes it’s hard to break away for dinner because I’m usually just hitting my stride!
We’ll eat dinner together around 6 or 7pm, and we try to coordinate that based on our evening activities (sports, volunteering, studies, etc). My husband and I both sometimes struggle to ‘shut it down,’ and we’ll sometimes continue tinkering on projects in the evenings a few days of the week.”
What approach did you take to optimize your work schedule for you?
“Figuring out my schedule has taken many years of trial and error, along with diligent journaling to notice patterns.
I have ADHD, which can make many aspects of my work challenging. I was only diagnosed in the last year, and I now realize how much of my scheduling, planning, and task management has been influenced by my ADHD unknowingly.
My days are entirely designed based on my energetic needs and personal preferences. It’s taken lots of experimentation to understand what ‘just enough structure’ looked like for me.
I also used to have many more different products and services, and streamlining everything toward one product has made my schedule and attention much easier to manage!”
Why did you choose to go against the standard 9–5 schedule?
“I always knew a 9–5 schedule didn’t work for me. It never did, and it likely never will. Getting to school on time was always a challenge. Getting to the office when I was employed was a challenge.
My sense of time was always distorted, and it was always a serious struggle to be “functional” in the morning, no matter how good my sleep hygiene was!
It takes a very long time for my brain to fully “wake up” in the morning, so nothing of any creative substance happens before lunch. My energy begins to peak in the late afternoon, and even moreso in the evenings.
It took a long time to stop feeling shame around this area of my life, but once I embraced that my body seems to have a different circadian rhythm and preferred work habits than the traditional 9–5 working world expects, things became so much easier. What is the point of running my own business if it isn’t supporting my needs?”
What’s one area you’re still looking to improve?
“I’m still always looking to improve the consistency of my output, to even out the extremes of my working patterns! I’m very ‘all or nothing,’ but that’s not ideal when you work with a team, so I do my best, but there’s always room to improve!”
What is your top tip for someone wanting to transition away from the standard work schedule?
“Track your time and activities. Pay attention to what works.
Where is there friction? When do things feel easy? What gives you energy, and what takes your energy?
Consider how you can take steps toward shifting your focus toward energy-giving activities and reducing work that steals your energy. If you pay close attention, your body and spirit are giving you feedback all the time.
Consider what your ideal working scheduling would look like, and work toward taking tiny steps toward it. The transition may take time, so be willing to make those changes iteratively, and you’ll have an easier time.”
Big thank you to Marie Poulin for giving us an inside look at her workday schedule!
Highly recommend following Marie on Twitter and checking out her Notion Mastery course. I bought and completed the course earlier this year and highly recommend it to anyone interested in upgrading their Notion skills!
I’d love to hear from you! What did you find interesting about Marie’s workday? What could you potentially try out yourself?
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