Colin Devroe kicked off a series of “My Typical Day” posts. He tagged Dan Mall (and Chris Coyier, Jeremy Keith and others) and Dan tagged Sara Soueidan (and Dave Rupert, Rob Weychert, and others) and Sara tagged me (and Cassie Evans, Anton Sten, and others).
Although I’ve never been a timeboxing champion or productivity nerd, I find it fascinating to see how other people structure their days and balance professional work and the private parts of their lives. It’s interesting to see how different our schedules and approaches often are, although we might do work in similar areas. And I particularly enjoy noticing those little details that might be worth trying out yourself. So I’m happy to play the game.
As is the case with almost all of us, my typical day has changed since last February. But then again, because I already used to work remotely a lot before the pandemic, there are things about my schedule that haven’t changed at all.
– I get up to make coffee for my wife and me. On regular school days, I have to get up a bit earlier, at about 6:30.
(pandemic schedule) – The kids are awake. I prepare breakfast for them and, most of the time, for the adults, too.
– I take a shower. Important: I end the shower with about 2–3 minutes of cold water. I know that this sounds very Tim-Ferriss-y. But I feel so much better thereafter and ready to start the day refreshed, that I don’t want to miss it. Also, I’m telling myself that it has positive effects on my migraines – but who knows. 😉
Between and – Work starts. It’s also time for the second (or third) coffee. Depending on the projects I have, I might start to do conceptual UX work, visual design, prototyping, or front-end development. If I can, I will start the day with smaller but more urgent or lighter tasks. For one, to get the feeling of having accomplished something early in the day. But it also helps to tackle the more demanding and time-consuming tasks with more serenity, because my head is freed from the most pressing stuff. This can also backfire, though, when there are a lot of smaller tasks and if, for example, even more “urgent” todos like bug fixes or client feedback roll in. When this happens, it is important to say “no” or at least to clearly communicate when you do not have the time to work on something immediately without sacrificing progress on other things.
On most days, I have a first high of productivity at about 10 am. And if I am lucky, I am able to do deeper, focused work until about . Let’s be honest, though: Getting into the “flow” with two kids at home and messaging and meetings with coworkers and clients in Slack, Webex, Teams, Hangouts, Trello, Jira, Confluence, Skype, Twitter, and email? Good luck. To everyone who did not work from home before the pandemic: This is not how remote work usually is!
– Lunch break. On most days, I prepare lunch for my family while listening to podcasts or an audiobook. And I deeply enjoy that we often extend the lunch break a bit to talk and recharge for the afternoon.
– Work continues. Again, it takes me about an hour to ramp up again and at about 4pm I am most productive.
– More food for the hungry mouths. And once again a lot of talking and laughing at the table.
– Time to put the children to bed.
– Leisure time. Well, kind of. I’ve almost completely stopped watching TV or Netflix. When I do, it’s usually football (aka soccer) or a movie together with my wife. I also don’t play games anymore. Instead, I might read a bit from the RSS feeds in Reeder, scroll through Twitter (and need to force myself to STOP IT AGAIN!!!), do some light research on a topic that interests me, or watch a few videos of talks and other interesting things. Sometimes, I work on my website or other small, “useless“ projects.
But most importantly, I regularly use the evening hours to write. How much I get done depends a lot on my energy on that particular day. But I try to sit down to write as often as I can, because I’ve found that it is important to start in the first place and to make this a habit.
– Bedtime. A few years ago, I used to stay up until two or three in the morning, but I feel like I’m too old for that now. :) I still can’t let go of my smartphone, though, and so I often fall asleep at about 1 am.
A few things worth noting:
For one, I am far from having a fixed schedule. I even think it is healthy, at least for me, to grant myself the freedom to deviate from a the schedule above. When life happens, when I am running an online workshop, or when work is just not fitting into a regular schedule, it’s important to be flexible enough to react to different circumstances – especially in the current situation. This flexibility is also one of the things I enjoy most about working as a freelance designer.
I envy people like Sara Soueidan or Dan Mall who get up really early to do creative, meaningful work in the calmer morning hours before the busyness of the day kicks off. And although I’ve always been a night owl, I am currently starting to enjoy going to bed and getting up a little earlier. Maybe, I am on my way to becoming more of a morning person while I’m approaching my forties? Who knows.
Also, you might have noticed that there is no time for exercise in my typical day at the moment. This is not good and something I want to change again soon.
What about you? Do you have a typical day you’d like to share? If you do, then let me know via Webmention, email, or Twitter.
I am also tagging Diana ilithya, Michelle Barker, Manuel Matuzović, Simon Collison, and Zach “CLI” Leatherman.