I do not work a regular nine to five schedule. At all. Most days, I get up around seven and check my email. This serves as a quick, “is anything burning down that I need to deal with right now” check. If so, I have at least an hour to get in front of it before most people have started their day. This head start can be great. That being said, if nothing is pressing, I’m pretty likely to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.
My Daily Schedule
Most week days I’ll get up at nine, check email, and do some work. I’ll take a break around 11AM to make breakfast and maybe spend some time chatting with my roommates, or someone at the office. All told, when 5PM rolls around, I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do that day. So, if I’m working from home, I’ll take an hour break for dinner. Most days I complete the daily work between 7 and 8PM. If necessary, I’ll start something up again around 10 or 11, and try to wrap up everything before midnight.
My point with this is, my work day is incredibly fluid, but also disjointed. With that many gaps, it’s really easy to let something fall through them. I have to take serious strides to ensure I don’t miss anything.
- Write everything down: This was the first one for me. I immediately realized if everything isn’t written down, I forget it. Personally, I’m very fond applications like these. They let you have a sticky note on your computer, either slightly transparent and on top of other windows, or just in the background. This lets me quickly check to see if I’ve missed anything. At the end of the day, if the list isn’t empty, I know exactly what my priority is first thing tomorrow.
- Budget blocks of time appropriately: This is a big one for when I have large tasks to finish. I find it’s important to work on these type of things start to finish in a single block. I set out to make sure that they are designated a time when they will be my sole focus until they are complete.
- Don’t count on the later blocks of time: So, I mentioned above that I’ll work from 7 to 8 occasionally. I never assume I will absolutely have this time. Procrastinating work with the expectation that you will complete it in that late block is foolhardy. You never know what might come up. For me, it’s usually friends wanting to go to a restaurant that I haven’t tried. If you always plan to use the late time blocks not only will you burn yourself out, but you’ll fail to get things done.
Overall, the disjointed work schedule works for me, but it isn’t for everyone.
You have to be prepared to be typing away late at night, and for some people that just sounds awful. On the other hand, if you appreciate being able to spend an hour in the middle of the day reading on your porch or in the park, I recommend giving it a try.