One of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received at the age of 40 was when a colleague of mine said to me: “You live like a retired person.” While the word “retired” pisses me off to no end, I knew exactly what he meant so I was ultimately pleased. Most people think that living the retired life is doing virtually “what you want whenever you want” because the pressure of working is now gone (assuming you don’t have to work anymore or have any financial stress). I agree with that to the extent that doing “whatever you want” can in fact include working. I don’t see working as “work.” I see it as a crucial part of my day to keep my brain moving. It’s a way for me to stay sharp, challenged, and focused. I personally see no reason why that part of my life should ever go away which I assume is in contrast to the millions of financial services “gurus” giving you pictures of sitting on a beach and relaxing until you’re dead. While I’m not trying to create some insane F.I.R.E. movement or anything like that, I do fully support living a life that you want, and it doesn’t have to be at 65 or older. In fact I wish I were doing this in my 20s. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite smart enough back then to get it all going from a financial perspective. Then again, that I’m almost living the life I pretty much want at 40 is pretty awesome. So if you’re interested in seeing what my typical day is like, read on:
From 6:30-10:30 I go hard
There’s no rhyme or reason as to why I wake up between 6am and 6:30am. I just do. It used to really piss me off if I ever got up this early but now, with two kids and barely any windows to work uninterrupted at home, the earlier I wake up the better. So basically from 6:30am until 10:30am I am far and away the most productive. I will do as much as I can in as focused a way as possible. It’s at this time I try to bust my ass, focus intently on what I’m doing, and use my brain power to the point of exhaustion. I still believe a human being doesn’t need to work more than 4 hours to get done most of the things that need to get done. But in any event, this is my main work time where I’ll assign content, edit content, do any kind of outreach, write for this site, you name it. I try not to let anything bother me here. Oh yeah, I also fit in breakfast during this time.
From 10:30-11:30 I’m in the Gym
No explanation needed here. I work out Monday through Friday and try to do this every week without exception. Am I able to accomplish this all the time? No. Sometimes I’m just a lazy shit and don’t feel like working out but like I said I try. Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Friday are for weights and Wed’s are for boxing.
From 11:30-12pm – Email catch up, completing loose tasks
When I get back from the gym I like to “keep things clean.” What that means is that I don’t like to leave any articles that need to be edited in queue. It means I don’t want any emails unanswered. It means that whatever accumulated when I was at the gym has to be eliminated. Why? Because I’m anal and that’s just how it is. This usually takes no longer than 10-15 minute so I’ll usually eat lunch here as well.
From 12pm-1pm I’m napping
I consider this to literally be one of my more important times of the day. I don’t mess around with napping. I’ve written on this before and I’ll likely mention how much I like naps in the future. If you’re anywhere near me from 12 to 1pm then prepared to be slapped in the face.
From 1pm-3pm I’m unplugged from work and doing leisure or hobby activities
This is an equally important time in the day for me. To be honest I’ve only been doing this for about a month. I never realized just how hard it was to stay off the computer, email, or anything work-related. Notice I didn’t say I’m not watching TV or using electronics. If it’s a 30 minute show then that’s part of relaxation in my opinion. For the most part during these hours I’m playing with my son and spending time with my wife. However, during the school year I’m going to have to fill these hours with something interesting. It could be reading. It could be playing piano. My goal is to fill up each weekday with this stuff, stuff that I like. This is going to be trial and error but I’ll get there.
From 3pm until my kids get home – Loosely working slash whatever else
This is another “completing loose tasks” session like you see up above. Between 12pm and 3pm a decent amount of emails usually accumulate and some work comes through. So that’s what I tend to most (in fact I’m writing this exact sentence at 3:38pm). If I finish all of this stuff before 4:30 or so then I’m doing leisure stuff like watching TV or being with my sons/wife, etc etc.
From 4:30pm – Kids are Asleep (usually 8-8:30pm) – Be with my children as much as I can
Unlike most parents I get to be around my kids a great deal. Do I love every minute of it? Absolutely not! In fact I have an entire article on the subject. However, I know that the more I’m around them the better off they’ll be and it feels good to not take it for granted. I think as they get older, assuming this schedule remains the same it’ll be awesome. There’s no doubt I’ll be teaching them everything I do now so they don’t have to rely on anyone to make a living or create interesting lives for themselves. Right now they’re 7 and 3 so it’s video games, toys, playing outside, dinner, whatever the hell it is those crazy little dudes want to do.
From When Kids are Asleep – 10:00pm – Usually time with the Wife
This is usually a 2 hour block of time where me and the wife just hang out. Often times it’s watching a movie or TV show together. But there’s also “other activities” we might engage in at this time. Depends how awake we are but usually we are not very awake. The wife falls asleep in whoever she put to bed that night’s room and I’m just horsing around reading articles on my phone. But when it’s just me and the wife and little to no electronics it’s important time together and it means a lot to me.
10pm – Lights Out
I rarely if ever go to bed past 10pm and that includes weekends. I’m a firm believer in consistency in not only schedule but sleep. Of course there are tons of exceptions like events, parties, going out, what have you, but even then I’m super pissed if I’m not asleep by 10pm.
Do I Love My Life?
I think I’m getting there. I don’t take for granted the life I have but it’s also work. You might be reading this thinking I have it made but you’d be surprised how hard it is to create structure for yourself without having it created for you. When you work 9-5 or whatever your hours, you know where you’ll be, who you’ll be around, what’s going on, etc etc. It’s all laid out for you. When you have no one telling you where to be or what to do, while you think you’ll do all this cool shit in your life, you’d be surprised how often you kind of find yourself sitting on your ass bored as all hell. It takes discipline to create a “life” when you don’t have to be consumed by work or people telling you what to do. Having your own choices is liberating but most people actually find it to be quite scary because in the end they have no clue what they want. However, I will say this: I’ll take this life over the one I had (working full-time for others on a set schedule) any day of the week. Go out there and create your own life.
And you can do this too if you only give me $99.95 and follow my course! Just kidding. I have no course.