A Freelancing Introvert Versus Workflow

Other bloggers I follow will update with “DITL” (day in the life) posts once in a while. I don’t know how often I’d like to share those here myself (my days are kind of repetitive), but at least one is theoretically interesting, right?

7:30 – 8:00 AM

I usually wake up somewhere in this window. I roll out of bed and (if I remember) put on the kettle for the two of us. While the kettle is warming up, I catch up on email, blogs, and Twitter. I browse a few hashtags I like to participate semi-regularly in to see if anything interesting happened while I was asleep; email always includes news digests from The Guardian and The Correspondent, two news sources that I support with monthly subscriptions. I like to care of work emails in the mornings as well, if I have any. I like the work that I do, and I’m privileged to have extremely warm and kind clients, but I’m still averse to writing emails in general, so I try to apply the “eat a frog first thing in the morning” principle here.

8:15 – 9:00 AM

If I remembered to put the kettle on when I woke up, I pour myself a cup of tea. Otherwise, I put the kettle on now.

Then I meditate for around forty minutes: a twenty-minute guided meditation, and then twenty minutes of zazen, a technique I studied (somewhat shallowly) when I lived in the US. When I first studied zazen, I knew little about the possible health benefits; I just knew that it helped me be less anxious. Last year I finally hit critical meditation mass–it seems like every book I was reading or MOOC I was taking was pushing meditation–and started up a daily habit. I miss the trappings of meditating in a zendo, but nonetheless I feel that I reap the benefits.

9:00 AM or thereabouts

I enjoy my by-now room temperature tea (I like it that way!) or pour a hot cuppa, put on a special playlist I have for work, and get down to brass tacks. Depending on how I’m feeling and what my work schedule looks like, that might mean warming up with a blog post, jumping right into an editing project, or lesson planning. Recently, this is when I sit down and try to write a blog post or two, which I’ll either post immediately or schedule for later as a bulwark against dry periods. Other times, I use this time to work on my own writing projects. Sometimes I spend all morning on that kind of work; other times I only spend half an hour or so on this before I shift gears to editing.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

I take my first big break of the day sometime around here. I use the Pomodoro technique during the first work block (with one or one and a half hour working sessions and then ten or fifteen minute breaks). This break is longer, maybe around an hour. It’s when I have lunch and check in with my sambo (who studies from home). This is usually the first thing I have to eat all day; I’m not typically hungry enough for breakfast to be worth it (and whatever small appetite I have is probably dampened by all of the strong black tea I drink, thanks caffeine!). I make up for all of this with a big lunch, and I relax with some TV.

In addition to my freelance work, I run an Etsy shop on the side; I also have a network of friends around the world involved an informal tea exchange. Between these two, I have a lot of mail coming and going, and so this is when I might also take a walk to the not-a-post-office to pick up a package or mail one. Other times I have a library book to return or check out, so I’ll head into town.

2:00 PM or thereabouts

This is the second round of work, and it’s almost always editing. I’m awake, alert, and warmed up; this is my peak time for attentive and detail-oriented work. It’s also when I’m most likely to get sucked into the black hole of the comma mines and completely forget the time. Sometimes I punch out early, at around 4:00, because I have a social engagement in town and I need to look halfway presentable, or because it’s a run day. Other times it starts later than 2:00 because my errand in town took longer than expected, or I had a daytime social appointment instead of an evening one.

6:00 PM or thereabouts

I call it quits and go to the store to pick up whatever we might need for dinner. Then I check social media again while my sambo prepares dinner. If I have a lot on my plate (I mean editing, not dinner), or a deadline coming up, I might take one more trip into the comma mines. Otherwise I use my evenings to blog (casually), write, catch up on Facebook, or read. I should also confess to being an on-again, off-again gamer (some in the community might refer to me as a “filthy casual” and they wouldn’t be wrong), and my evenings are also when I’ll get sucked into a game. At the moment it’s Diablo III.

There you have it: my editing day, more or less! It is somewhat idealized, I have to admit, but it’s a pretty good rough outline. What does your schedule look like? I’m curious!

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