When I was younger, I used to hate saying “no” to people. But now, I say no all the time. No, I can’t run that errand for you. No, I can’t do you that “little, tiny favor” that will take up an hour of my day. No, I can’t drop everything and hang out right this second. No, no, and no!
I don’t do this to be mean. I’m more than happy to schedule time in advance to hang out with friends, to lend a helping hand. But I’ve begun to resent the fact that most people seem to think that I don’t have a life outside of bowing to their whims.
It’s something I’ve heard other writers talk about before. You tell a friend or family member that you’re “busy,” only to be met with derision or, in more polite cases, confusion. Unfortunately, I get it in both facets of my life, because my “day job” is largely remote. And even though more and more businesses are turning to that, too many people still equate “working from home” to “not working.”
I’ve had people get genuinely offended when I refused to go out with them at 3 p.m., as if my career goals were nothing but a nuisance to them. I wonder if they’d get offended if they knew what an average day looked like for me.
And because it might be interesting to you folks who maybe are looking into either a.) writing or b.) going into business for yourselves, I thought I’d share it with you. Unfortunately I can't get too specific about my day job, because it changes so drastically from day to day. Some days I write press releases, sometimes blogs, sometimes social posts, sometimes media alerts, sometimes I edit some or all of those things, and sometimes I'm doing something totally different. But generally, things look a little something like this:
7:30-ish a.m. — Wake up. (I actually hope to get this up to 7 a.m. by the end of this quarter, so I can start working out in the mornings. I’m taking baby steps.)
8:30 a.m. — By now I’ve drank tea, eaten a little something, and am now to some level of functioning human being before facing my inbox. Alright. Time to go. How many emails could there really be . . .
8:30 a.m. — Holy shit. How are there that many emails.
9:15 a.m. — Okay, the email thing is more or less under control! And my to-do list is pretty short, only three items. I should be able to manage that. Let’s start drafting these tweets.
10 a.m. — Tweets are drafted and oh, look, an email with an urgent news alert. Well that’s fine, I can draft that.
11 a.m. — Phone meeting with a client. Wish I had time to pee before it started.
12 p.m. — Lunch! Is it weird to eat scrambled eggs for lunch twice in one week? Screw it, I’m eating scrambled eggs for lunch twice in one week.
1 p.m. — Somehow the to-do items on my list have multiplied. But it’s okay, I’ll still totally finish this stuff by 5!
3 p.m. — LOL JK, there’s no way I’m finishing this stuff by 5.
5 p.m. — I finished, somehow? Okay. Work is done, emails are answered. We put out a press release today so I have to make a note to promote it later, oh and also I need to check in on that social media report from last week, and oh we have a call with that client tomorrow, has the agenda been sent out? And . . .
5:30 p. m. — I need to step away from this screen or my eyeballs are going to fall out of my skull.
6 p. m. — Alright, ready to brave the laptop again. TIME TO WRITE!
6:30 p. m. — Writing has happened. Time to eat dinner and watch YouTube videos because I EARNED THIS.
7:30 p.m. — More writing. Let’s go!
8:30 p.m. — I really want to read but also, I should do some more research on authorly stuff, get ready for the book launch that I'm STILL NOT CONVINCED IS ON TRACK TO HAPPEN.
9:30 p.m. — CAN I JUSTIFY READING FOR FUN TO MYSELF NOW? YES? GOOD.
10 p.m. — Shower time.
10:30 p.m. — This is aimless scrolling through social media time. Aimless scrolling through social media time is sacred.
11 p.m. — Reading time, because what better way to go to sleep?
11:30 p.m. — Through some herculean effort, stop reading and go to sleep so that I don’t completely hate myself the next morning.
Now, keep in mind that this is just an average day. I have some days that are way busier (I have three calls on Thursday, RIP me), days where I don't finish my day job until 6 or 7. And my weekends look way different, more hours spent writing, plus usually some professional development tossed in, either more author-ly research or stuff on how to be a better professional in my day job. But even my “calm” days have an undertone of frenetic energy, a lingering desire to make the most of my time.
And honestly? I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because I know that if something is really important to me, I’ll fit it into my schedule no matter what it takes. That’s how I’ve been able to grow my business. That’s how I’ve been able to write my book. And that’s how I’ll be able to publish it.
Even if it means turning down last minute drinks. Somehow, I’ll survive. :)