It’s kind of funny for me to be sharing my daily routine because it literally changes every time we move (so twice a year) and it’s barely a routine. You’ll probably finish reading this and think, ‘Wow, Abbey doesn’t put much planning into her work day,’ and you’ll be absolutely right.
I’ve never been the planning type. I’m a go with the flow, things will happen naturally type of person. I like to think it’s my creative, right-brain yearning for freedom and spontaneity, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a mix of laziness and not really caring to follow a schedule. So if you were thinking that this post would inspire you to productively plan out your day and get more work done because of it, I’m really sorry, I’m not your girl. BUT, if you want to get an honest look at my “routine” that doesn’t follow the cookie-cutter examples that we’ve all envied, then you’re in the right place!
Some mornings I set alarms, some I don’t. But regardless, I usually wake up around this time. I roll over, pick up my phone and catch up on news and social media before getting out of bed. This is a bad habit, I know, but it’s tough for me to break. Since we’re from the US but currently live in France, we’re 6 hours ahead of everyone back home and miss a lot of stuff while we’re asleep. It’s hard to not instantly check my phone when I know I’ll have texts from friends or updates on things happening back home. So for now, I’ll just live with my bad habit.
During this time I’ll cuddle with my husband a little, get up, shower, make some hot chocolate or tea with lemon, open my computer and browse through some of my favorite blogs. I try not to open my email just yet and only absorb inspiring things to put me in a good place before I start working. If there’s a personal project or something that I’m really inspired and excited about, I’ll jump into that so I can work on something fun and get the creative juices flowing before starting on client work.
After I’ve had a little bit of inspiration to get me going, I’ll open up my email and Asana to see what messages I’ve gotten, then make a list in Asana of the things that I need to work on for the day and get started. That list is about as far as my organization goes. From there, I’ll start chipping away at my first big task of the day until around noon.
Usually this is my lunch break, but when I actually start eating lunch and how long I take really varies on how much I’ve got going on and how much of a break I feel like I need. Right now, my lunches are either a shake (my go-to is berries, avocado, greek yogurt, spinach, milk and protein powder) or soup that I’ve pre-made and a baguette, of course. My lunches change every time we move based on what’s easier to get in our grocery store. It’s hard, but I always try not to work while eating lunch. I’ll usually catch up on more news or watch whatever US tv show that I missed the night before. This is also around the time when I’ll get together whatever I’m going to post on social media for the day. My early afternoon is when everyone in the US is waking up, so that’s my usual post time.
Back to work! I’ll try to tackle whatever else is left on my to-do list, make sure that I’ve sent out any emails that still need sending. But this is where my schedule gets a little spontaneous. If Tanner texts me on his way back home and says, “15 minutes, meet me outside, we’re going to do something fun,” then I’ll wrap up whatever I’m working on and go! If I’ve been working really hard all morning, I’m exhausted and my eyes hurt from staring at a screen for too long, then I give myself permission to go do something else for a while and rest. 90% of the time, the work can wait for a little while and it’s worth it to take care of yourself and enjoy real life. This has been a tough thing to allow myself to do, but it’s what freelancing is about, right? I make room for spontaneity, for real life, for the good stuff that drew me to freelancing in the first place.
One very European thing that Tanner and I have picked up is going to the grocery store nearly every day. It started in Denmark when we didn’t have a car and could only buy what we could carry in our backpack. It was really annoying at first, but we’ve kind of embraced it as part of the process of making dinner. So after I’m done working, I’ll make a quick trip to the store (either with Tanner or alone if he has practice) and pick up anything that we need for dinner that night. It’s also a nice time to be away from my computer and not think about work.
This is the typical block of time when I have client calls. Since most of my clients are in the US, my evening/their morning is the time that works for both of us. I don’t have calls every day though. On the days that I don’t, I’ll either work a little bit more or relax and start cooking around 6:30 if Tanner is still at practice. You might find me with a glass of wine in hand during this time as well. I’m so French, I know. 😉
Finally, I put all the work stuff away and enjoy my evening with Tanner. Every once in a while, I’ll have to schedule a call during this time if my client can’t do anything earlier, but other than that, I try my best to totally cut myself off from work. Earlier in the year, I was really bad about doing this, but I’ve realized how important it is to claim this time as my own and that I should never feel guilty for doing so. Tanner and I will eat dinner, watch a movie, talk about our days, and the night usually ends with me falling asleep on the couch before we actually go to bed.
So there you have it! I’ve given you a pretty good overview of what my typical day looks like, but the truth is, every single day is a little different. Overall, I would say that the biggest strategy to my daily routine is that I start doing things as they feel right. I start working when I feel prepared and inspired. I start eating lunch when I’m hungry. I take a break when I need it. I close up shop for the day when I’m tired and need to get back to real life. Because of this, my routine never follows exactly the same timeline, but it’s how I work best and what feels natural to me. I want to flow through my work, not force it.
If you’re working from home like me, I hope this post has helped you to not feel like you have to follow a strict work schedule to get things done. That approach doesn’t work for everyone. Luckily, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to daily routines, it can look however you need it to – structured and planned out or spontaneous and unorganized like me. Find what feels right and run with it.
What’s your daily routine like?