My Daily Routine
A couple of people reached out after my last blog post to ask what my day-to-day looks like. In that post, I listed the various things I do for various clients I work with, and those folks wonder how I structure my day. It’s a good question. I constantly deal with competing priorities, unexpected fires and random requests, all of which could easily throw my schedule off track and derail an entire day.
To an extent at least. I think that when you’re accountable to several “bosses” you have to accept some amount of messiness. That might be one of the hardest things for me as.a bonafide neat freak who thrives on routine.
Adaptability is a key thing. Without it, I’d probably grow a little resentful each time I’m interrupted. But with a little perspective, I’m able to look at things not like a burdensome context switch, but as a chance to work on a new and different challenge. I get to look at disruptions as opportunities or mental breaks. Flipping things on their head like that is really what keeps me even partially sane.
I wake up at about 5:50am and get ready for the day. I sneak into our bathroom to avoid waking up Marcia. I’d say it normally takes me 15 minutes to do my thing. Recently, though, I chopped off my shoulder-length hair and now I;m able to get ready in like eight minutes flat.
I walk out to the kitchen, pour a half cup of black coffee, eat two handfuls of granola, then step outside to fetch the local newspaper. I take it to the back patio and read it cover-to-cover before heading back in, getting my second half cup of coffee, then heading over to my desk.
This is a small block of time where I try to do all the prep I need to really get my day going before I walk Harper to school. I hit Publish on the first article of the day for CSS-Tricks and generally try to knock out whatever landed in my inbox overnight.
If I never a little time before school, I start editing a CSS-Tricks article or moderate the site’s comments since CSS-Tricks is fresh on my mind.
You’ll catch me walking Harper to school. It’s just show of a half mile and we are brisk walkers. I love this time of the day because it’s built in one-on-one time with my oldest daughter. We usually chat about what’s up at school, which friends she’s currently playing with, or even what the next 10 years looks like. We both like to daydream like that. But if there’s a spelling test that morning, I quiz her on the words as we go.
I hang out with my younger daughter, Alice. She’s normally up around 8am and our nanny starts work at 8:30am, so I get to spend a little time her. We’ll sit and chat over her breakfast or I’ll brush her hair as she eats.
This is where things can get messy. But, if my “typical” schedule prevails, I’m spending this time knocking out 1-2 drafts for CSS-Tricks. I like to do at least two posts a day, but am happy to do one because it keeps me on pace with them editorial calendar. In general, I try to have two weeks of content queued up and ready to go That way, I’m never at risk of running out of juice if something crazy or weird is up and prevents me from editing.
Again, if my schedule continues to hold up, then this is the time I usually spend on The Events Calendar. I check into Slack, tie up loose conversations, then tackle whatever is in my backlog. It could be a little development, some design, maybe some writing, meetings or, yes, even more editing. I’m sort of a generalist on that team and try to use that to my advantage. It’s allowed me to do cross-brand work for other products in the Liquid Web family, including iThemes, Restrict Content Pro and KadenceWP, as well as the umbrella brand for all of those, StellarWP.
I use this time to check into any other client work I might have neglected so far. If there’s work for me to do, then I;lol do it; if not, I’ll try to work ahead on them. I also check back into CSS-Tricks around here to publish the next one or two posts, plus clear out the comments. I might also have some sponsorship stuff to do.
Oh, and this is when I try to leave the house and work remote. We’ll, I already work remote, so maybe remote-squared? I dunno. Whatever it is, I like to get out to a cafe within walking distance. That gives a change of scenery, a little breather, and a little exercise—how’s that for maximizing!
This is when I’d really like to be working on school stuff but, honestly, it usually winds up being spillover from other things earlier in the day. But if I can, I go through my curriculum, grade assignments, and answer student questions.
Dinner. I have to squeeze it in on evenings when I’m teaching, which starts at 6pm and goes until 9pm. Those are hard days.
It goes a little like this:
- Clean the kitchen and living room. It’s amazing what builds up in one day for a family of four.
- Water the garden and lawn, preferably with at least one kid.
- Help the kids get ready for bed. Harper is pretty independent but Alice still needs a little assistance.
I lay down with one kid; Marcia lays with the other. We read books up until about 8:20pm then turn off the light. Marcia and I usually swap kids at this point for a 10-minute goodnight.
Marcia and I battle it out (not really) for a shower. I might even watch a half hour of TV, or more if I can get away with it. Seriously, I hear everyone talking about what great shows are out there and I never leave enough time to invest in any of them. I’d love to!
But I’m pretty wiped out by 10:00pm. I wear sleeping headphones in bed so I can dose off to podcasts. (I’ve fallen asleep to talk radio dating all the way back to when I was seven.) I put those on and get into bed.\
I’m usually out by 10:30pm. Marcia and I might chat for a bit but we’re both ready to call it a day by this point.
Sleep. Maybe a little tossing and turning. Hopefully no snoring.
Do it all over again.
That’s it! That is my typical schedule on any given day. Does it always look like this? No. But I like it when things flow this way.