I was having brunch with a couple friends this weekend when one of them lovingly asked what exactly it is that I do all day. I stumbled through my answer, realizing I’d never had to explain my day-to-day work schedule to anyone before. I thought that maybe you all would be interested to know what my daily life as a graphic designer and blogger is, too, so today we’re doing a little tour through my life. Come along for the ride, will you? 🙂
8:00-9:00am: Wake up! I love that working for myself means I can get out of bed whenever I want, but I rarely use this privilege anymore. I love mornings just as much as I hate waking up late and feeling rushed in the afternoon. Lately, I’ve been trying to wake up by about 8:30am. Since I don’t have to make a commute to work, I’m able to get started on my day shortly after getting out of bed.
This is usually my view as I open my eyes. Sometimes I pull him close and cuddle him against his will. It is really the best way to start the day. 🙂
9:00-10:00am: Take Monja outside for a brief potty break. Come inside to make coffee and breakfast and feed Monja. I’m pretty slow during this span of time, so I don’t rush things. Sometimes I shower (haha…sometimes…). I should also mention that I check my email and social media almost immediately, and especially while eating breakfast. I have no intention to respond to anything (because I’m a little dazed and sleepy), but I do it anyways. I’d like to cut that habit from my morning routine. Anyone else check email and social media in the early a.m.?
10:00-12:00pm: Check emails and respond to as many as I can. Sometimes I save lengthy ones for later. I also check social media again, but this time with the intention to respond to a few things. I also sometimes will respond to comments at this time. Basically, this is when I communicate with the internet world. 🙂 Oh, and if I’m super late, this might be when I write the day’s blog post. 😉 I try to write posts the day before, but need to work it into my nightly routine a little better. When I lived in Japan, the time difference was in my favor — I could publish a post at 10pm Japan time and it would go live around 5 or 6am US time, on the same day. This meant that I always saved my blog post writing ’til the end of the day and never scheduled posts, but now I’m trying to get in the habit of scheduling things so they’re published in the early morning. Do you schedule posts?
12:00-1:00pm: Take Monja for a 30-minute walk. Make and eat lunch. Sometimes this is when I shower. (Sometimes this is also when I decide not to shower). 😉
1:00-6:00pm: This is usually a grab-bag. It might be when I get design work done, run errands, or take Monja to a training class. Or it might be when I feel restless and clean my entire apartment, or take a break to do some art. It depends on the day — sometimes I’m not in the mood to sit at my computer at work, and other times I get a jolt of heavy inspiration. Either way, I am doing something productive and generally keeping busy. I don’t like the feeling of being lazy or stagnant, so I am always trying to do something.
6:00-10:00pm: I’m not sure how many hours I spend diligently working everyday, because I really scatter them throughout my entire waking period. It’s hard for me to tell myself that I’ll work 9:00am-5:00pm, and to be honest, I don’t think that schedule works well for me. I get surges of inspiration at random times and I usually take them when they come. This might mean that I’m designing a logo at 10:00pm or installing a new blog design right before bed time. Some people might think this is crazy, but I break up my day enough so that even if I’m working after normal hours, I’ve spent enough time relaxing or doing other things during the day that it seems to even itself out. Usually, I work during the 6-10pm block of time, but that’s because I spend the afternoon (when I am naturally not very productive) doing non-work things. I also take Monja for another 30-minute walk and cook dinner, which both slow me down in a positive way.
10:00pm-1:00am: Lately, this has been when I write blog posts for the following day. It’s also when I sometimes take a bath, read, practice calligraphy or some sort of art, plan out or create things for the shop I’m working on, or watch re-runs of Psych. Seriously, I’ve seen every episode of Psych about a zillion times. I should probably move on to a different show, but I’m afraid of getting sucked in (always happens).
1:00ish: Take Monja out for a quick pee break, get ready for bed and then SLEEP! 🙂
Some thoughts about my day-to-day:
– Like I mentioned, I’d like to not check my email and social media first thing in the morning. I find that answering emails is kind of draining for me. It really depletes the creative energy I’ve built up while sleeping. I’d love to try starting my day with either writing a blog post (for the next day) or jumping right into design work.
– This post is a general outline of what my day might look like, but really, it changes all.the.time. Some days, I’ll spend the afternoon buying and playing with crafts or picking out plants at Home Depot. Other days, I’ll skype with clients or work on a blog project, like my e-course. My day is filled with as much leisure as it is work, but I try to keep my “leisure” activities to things that help me grow or feel refreshed in some way. I don’t like to watch a lot of TV. I don’t even have a TV. My dad told me he wanted to buy me something for my new apartment (how nice of him, right?), and suggested getting me a TV. I asked if he’d buy me a table instead. A table. I can’t decide if this makes me really old or really boring, but I’m inordinately excited to get a new table. Anyways, this is a long-winded way of saying that everyday is new, unstructured, and fun in its own way.
– I love the flexibility of working from home. When I told my friends about my schedule, they both said that they’d never have the discipline to “be their own boss.” It really does take a LOT of self-discipline and it’s easy to get side-tracked. I’m getting better about this though. I also feel proud that I can do all of these things and push myself to complete work without someone forcing me to do it. It’s not always easy, but it helps that I really do enjoy what I do.
Recently, I was letting my to-do list pile up because I had this thought digging into my mind that there just “wasn’t enough time” to finish everything on my list. So, next to each item, I wrote down how long I expected the task to take. I thought this would help me schedule different projects into my day so that I could finally finish them. What I found was that when I actually did the task, like revising a logo design, I finished it in about a quarter the amount of time I had expected it to take. Every single task was like that and I finished my to-do list in much less time than I thought I would. It actually kind of blew my mind how quickly I am able to work, since I’ve always fabricated these incorrect ideas of how long it takes me to do certain things. I think that experience helped me to realize that I should just get started, even when I feel unmotivated, because the difficulty and length of my to-do list is probably not as bad as it seems in my head.
Anyways, that’s what my day looks like! What do YOU do all day? 🙂