By Yelena Sapin

Late nights and early mornings are a constant part of Jeana’s schedule but she makes it work.
Photos by Melissa Donald 

For Jeana Dunlap, director of Louisville Metro Government’s Vacant & Public Property Administration, there’s no such thing as a

typical workday. She’s just as likely to be found in the elevator of her downtown office building tracking down colleagues in other departments as she is to be at her desk or in a meeting. She might be in a different part of the city altogether, lending her expertise on a panel of urban planning specialists, moderating a community meeting in a neighborhood under development, or speaking at a school career fair on a moment’s notice. Many of these events take place in the evenings and on weekends, so Jeana’s position is more like a 24/7 lifestyle than a job. Want to know how she does it? Step into her shoes and find out…

She stands in front of the metro revitalization project map surveying the abandoned
properties in the Portland area.

Becoming a Morning Person
Jeana used to get into the office by 9am. This may not be considered late, but for many of Jeana’s coworkers, it’s well into their day. “A lot of my colleagues are up at 4 or 5 in the morning, and I know that because they send me emails at that time,” Jeana says. “I’m typically a night person, but the rest of the world is on a different schedule, so I’m trying to shift myself up by about two hours.”

Now, Jeana gets up around 5:30, checks her calendar for the day, catches the morning news, and gets into the office by 7am. “I kind of like the earlier start. It gives me time to organize my thoughts and ease into the day. And I don’t feel as guilty not working through the weekend if I’ve put in a 7am-to-7pm day. Whatever happens over the weekend will still be there on Monday.”

Jeana views the construction of the new Omni Hotel and Residences scheduled to open in downtown Louisville in 2018.

The flip side of becoming a morning person is that Jeana is exhausted by nighttime. But being tired can be a good thing when her mind is in overdrive. “I’m always thinking about work, even on my personal time,” she says. “I’ve had nights when I’m still up at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, wrestling with a problem or coming up with ideas, but getting up earlier helps with that.”

Work Hard, Play Hard
While Jeana’s work schedule is demanding, it’s also flexible and allows her to take time off whenever there’s an opening in her calendar. She loves exploring new places and will plan a roadtrip to see a favorite musician in concert in a different city. But she also appreciates what her native Louisville has to offer. “There are lots of cool things to do here,” she says. “I like to get out and about and see new places and experience their energy and vibe.”

Jeana reads the local papers to keep up with Louisville’s restaurant, art, and nightlife scene and is the planner in her circle of friends. “I’m usually the one generating the ideas and talking people into trying new things,” she says. She also spends a lot of time socializing with her co-workers. “We might discuss some work challenges or trade information over drinks in the evening. I guess we’re gluttons for punishment, but it’s also a form of stress-relief and venting that helps me stay sane.”

The Metro Diet
One area of her life that Jeana thinks she needs to work on is her eating habits. “Coffee and cigarettes is usually what I have for breakfast,” she says. “It’s kind of embarrassing.” She hits the ground running as soon as she gets to work and doesn’t always break for lunch. “I call it the Metro diet because we’re constantly working and on the go.”

When she does have time, Jeana usually takes advantage of the many restaurants that deliver in the downtown area and eats at her desk. Occasionally she takes a business lunch or goes out with a coworker. “For me and for a lot of my colleagues, it’s a luxury because the demands on our time are just too hectic.”

In the evenings, Jeana likes to grab dinner with a friend. “I don’t cook much,” she says. “I live alone, so there’s no one at home waiting for me to make dinner. But I’ve been thinking about hiring someone to cook for me since I’m probably not the healthiest eater. And I hate going to the grocery store.”

The first thing Jeana does when she gets home is change into her loungewear and a pair of Crocs or flip-flops. “I’ll put some time into not looking like a total bum when I’m at home because it makes me feel good,” she says. “And I’m very cold-natured, so I love all kinds of socks.”

After turning on the television and getting comfortable, it’s time to multitask. “Depending on how engrossed I am in what I’m watching, I’ll also be on my iPad, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, answering work and personal email, and shopping for shoes.” A Zappos VIP, Jeana loves her red Tsubo pumps, a favorite pair in her shoe rotation along with sneakers and Dansko clogs.

Jeana is also an amateur astrologer. “When my girlfriends have babies, I always offer to do the baby’s chart,” she says. “I get a lot of satisfaction out of that, and the parents appreciate it too. I might take time to do that whenever I’m not working or not sleeping — I do love to sleep!”

Jeana completes an astrology chart for one of her friends.