My weird routine as a creator-turned-entrepreneur and how it works for me.
We were waiting for dinner at a cafe by the sea when I took my laptop out to work.
My friends stared at me like I was crazy.
“What?” I asked.
“You want to work now?” one of them asked, exaggerating the motion of looking at their watch to emphasize the time.
“Um, yes. Just finishing up an article and then I’ll be done.”
They shrugged and let me work, but kept commenting how I was so sincere that I was willing to work beyond the “hours” as well.
This happened on a work vacation with my friends in Goa — the beautiful beach city of India and my favorite holiday destination in the world. Three college friends and I had taken a trip for ten days there where we were supposed to work and chill as our schedules permitted.
That was also when I realized the biggest difference between me and people who work in 9 to 5 jobs. They have fixed work hours. I do too, but mine are so unconventional, it shocks them every time I tell them I’m still working at 11 at night.
Before we begin, here’s a little insight into what I do: I’m a writer on Medium and a content marketer for two creator economy-related start-ups. I’m building a business by selling products and services. I also do a lot of public appearances, have a thriving YouTube channel, and write two weekly newsletters.
I only work for five hours a day, but half of that is after dinner
My work schedule as a creator-turned-entrepreneur is totally different from what one might expect. Yes, it was disturbed somewhat during the holiday, but the working hours remained the same. Here’s what a typical workday in my life looks like:
Mornings are for recharging
As someone who’s recently fixed her sleep schedule from sleeping at 5 AM and waking up at 2 PM to a healthy wake-time of 9 AM, mornings are the most precious part of the day for me.
Because I used to wake up in the afternoons, I missed the lingering chill of the bygone night in the early morning air. I missed the chirping of the birds and the way the sun plays hide and seek with the leaves of the trees overhead.
Now that I get to experience all that, I want to savor as much of it as I can.
I wake up at 9 AM and go for a thirty-minute walk with my dog (her name’s Lucy and she’s my first pet!).
From 10 to 11 AM, I take time out for myself to write what I want. Much of the writing done in this time frame is for my eyes only and not meant to be published anywhere on the internet.
Yes, you can call that “work” because I’m a writer and that’s what I do for a living. But I club it as self-care. I use the mornings to write the kind of things that make me happy, like poetry or fiction, which I know I can’t sell (yet), but they fulfill my soul.
From 11 to 12 PM is the time for my workout. I do ten minutes of yoga and about 20–45 minutes of Pilates depending on my mood. After that, I shower, make a breakfast smoothie, and have lunch at around 2 PM.
I work when other people take mid-day naps
Strangely, my peak productivity hours come after lunch, the times when my friends take a small mid-day nap. After spending a huge chunk of the day to myself, I’m usually in the best mood, and this helps the creative juices flow.
I’ve written about how I’m designing my dream 5-hour workday as a full-time writer. Two hours of the five are meant for deep work where I write an article, build something new, or plan my upcoming book. I do this usually in the afternoons.
Evenings are for fun
Once my 2-hour deep work session is done, I hardly spend any time with my computer on. Instead, I take Lucy on a walk, play some table tennis with my housemates, and spend time laughing and enjoying my time.
This is also the time to get some reading done (I read 10 books in last month. Now you can see how I get the time).
The night is when the work starts
Since all my clients are in PST, my client work (calls, podcast recordings, meetings, etc.) start after 9 PM my time (7.30 AM Pacific Time).
I spend an hour and a half working with clients. Then, I spend 30 minutes wrapping up work, which includes sharing on social media, replying to comments, scheduling content for the next day, etc.
The last half hour of the workday is to review all the work I did during the day, and then plan ahead for the next.
Routines aren’t meant to make sense
That’s the thing about routines. The only person in the world to whom routines need to make some sense is you. You don’t have to justify it to anyone else or even explain how this is beneficial for you.
During the Goa vacation, I made my friends jealous by chilling in the pool all morning and then heading off to a delicious lunch while they slogged through their office work.
They didn't understand how I could be so chill during the day, yet sincere enough that I work post-dinner. And I don’t understand how they could clear their head instantly off work the instant their last meeting of the day ended, while my head buzzes with ideas 24/7.
I can’t always shut down work when I shut my laptop down.
I’m a solopreneur. The more hours I spend working means the more money I can potentially earn. But to rid myself of the stress of having to constantly hustle hard, I’ve restricted my work to just five hours a day, for five days a week. This schedule has worked for me so far, and I hope to continue this for the foreseeable future or until my life takes a drastic turn.
My 5-hour workday means I don’t work until after lunch, and yet, my work goes on in full swing after dinner. My routine makes sense to me and has served me amazingly well so far. It doesn’t make sense to everyone else, and that’s alright.
This makes me curious: does every self-employed person feel the same? If you’re an entrepreneur, is it hard for you to shut your brain to the constant ebb and flow of new ideas? Do you also have a schedule that makes people marvel out loud? Let me know your views in the comments.