Whenever people write posts about their daily schedule, I’m always fascinated. I love reading about the intricacies of people’s routines. Something about it feels oddly intimate, like dumping out the contents of someone’s purse and going through it all. Despite the mundane details, it always feels revealing to me. I know rationally that how someone starts their day or divides their work schedule doesn’t really tell me anything about who they are, but those small nuances in how we all live life still feel important. When someone has an unconventional career or life, these differences are even more interesting to me.
When I was thinking about moving and going freelance, I devoured content from other entrepreneurs and writers about their daily schedule. I wanted to know what someone did when they woke up in the morning and how they decided which days to shoot photos versus write stories versus promote their personal websites. I liked reading about how people fit in exercise and when they ate breakfast and whether or not they took breaks throughout the day. Something about reading all of those stories and recaps made it seem like it would be possible for me to build my own schedule, too. Sure, most of the details were mundane, but it still inspired me. So today I’m sharing what my day-to-day schedule looks like in the hopes that maybe it inspires someone else, too.
Monday – Thursday
If I’m not heading to New York for something (I go into the city every other month or so) and don’t have a meeting with a publicist or brand in Philly, this is pretty much the general breakdown of my M – Th schedule (Fridays are different, but we’ll get to that). Every day is a bit varied, but if I had to boil it down to a consisted schedule, this would be it.
7:30 // WAKE UP
When I first went freelance, I had the brilliant idea to just not set my alarm anymore. “I will just trust my body clock to wake me up,” I said to myself. This, however, (and unsurprisingly to probably everyone who knows me) did not work. I rarely slept past 9, but I was on a completely random schedule, and it made me feel a little out of sorts. Now I try to set my alarm for 7:30 every day, though I usually get up between 8 and 8:30 a.m. if we’re being honest. I do usually get up around 6 a.m. on the days Jake leaves early to commute to the city (he does this once a week), but that’s my only early day. I would love to train myself to wake up a bit earlier, but I’m not there quite yet. I’m also frankly sick of the bullshit narrative that everyone running their own business is up before dawn meditating in the their basement. I’m not doing that. Also, my basement is terrifying.
8:00 – 9:00 // COFFEE, BREAKFAST, LIST-MAKING
Sometimes I’ll dive right into work as soon as I wake up, but usually I take it easy for about an hour and tackle coffee (important), making breakfast (also important), and making my daily to-do list, if I didn’t get to it the day before. I also usually hang out with Winnie and Jake on the couch during this time, which is a nice way to start the day.
9:00 – 11:00 // ONE STORY + IMPORTANT EMAILS
I had grand plans when I first started freelancing that I would get ready each morning and then start my work, but it just hasn’t worked out that way. What I’ve found works for me (after trial and error) is to get one story or big task out of the way and then get ready for the day. This way when I’m getting ready I’m not thinking about every deadline I’m up against on that particular day, but rather focusing on the fact that I’ve already accomplished something. It makes me feel much less stressed and much less rushed. I try my best not to schedule more that two story deadlines per day on M-Th, but some weeks are busier than others. This week, for example, I had 15 stories due between Monday and Thursday. I also use this time to respond to any pressing emails.
11:00 – 12:30 // GET READY + DAILY CHORES
I usually put on a podcast or some music and use this time to either shower and get dressed for the day or put on work out clothes if I’m planning on going for a jog later in the afternoon. I also use this time to make the bed and tidy things up in my bedroom/bathroom.
12:30 – 2:30 // ANOTHER STORY
After I get ready I usually have another story to write, which I like to get out of the way before lunch if at all possible. Sometimes I use this time to shoot photos, though, or do something else for a brand partnership I’m working on. Ninety percent of the time, though, I am writing another story during this time period.
2:30 – 3 // LUNCH BREAK
I make a point to make a quick lunch every day (I do not miss my daily $12 mediocre chopped salad at all, let me tell you) and take a 30 minute break or so to watch or read something.
3:00 – ?? // OTHER STORIES, SHOOTING PHOTOS, EMAILS, ETC.
If I have a particularly busy week like this past one, then I use this time to write more stories. If it’s a lighter week, I usually use this time for emails, research and outreach for upcoming stories, or invoicing. Sometimes this means I’m working until 7. Most days I’m done by 5 or 6, though. Sometimes I’m done by 4 and I go run errands. It totally depends.
About a month ago I started adopting a new rule that I would try my very best to not have stories due on Fridays. Generally I suggest due dates to editors and not vice versa, so this is easy to manage most of the time. It’s one of the best choices I’ve made so far on this freelancing journey. Now, Fridays are my favorite because it gives me a break from writing on deadline, which can be draining sometimes. Typically on Fridays I have slow morning and breakfast at home and then head to a favorite coffee shop or cafe to treat myself to lunch and coffee. I then work most of the day (usually until about 4 or 5) on the following, in whatever order I want: Pitching (I try to pitch at least 10 stories on average per week), emails, my newsletter, this blog, and scheduling my articles to be shared on Facebook throughout the next week. I don’t always get to all of the above, but scheduling my week like this means that my Fridays are always flexible, which is great for travel and gives me a scheduled time to work on projects I usually neglect throughout the week (this blog, for example).
I’ve been freelancing full-time since the end of March, now, and I can say I finally feel like I’m into a work rhythm that feels really good to me. It took a bit of trial-and-error, and I can’t say I don’t have days where I feel like switching it all up and meditating at dawn (just kidding, I never feel like meditating at dawn, I’m not a monster). But for now, this feels good to me. I’m also writing this on a Friday and as you now know, I love Fridays, so I’m feeling particularly positive about the whole thing.
Any more questions about my daily schedule? You know where to find me.