My Typical Day, Productivity Wise

A lot of productivity related content creators have a my typical day runthrough; I wanted to do the same, but also use it as an opportunity to discuss the evolution of my routine, the whys, how I did trouble shooting, so on, instead of just showing the current result (and it’s always a work in progress). This is just an insight into what currently works for me; it’s not meant to be prescriptive in any way. 


I decided that waking up at the same time every day, and at 8:10, is best for me. I’ve experimented with not setting an alarm, but found it to not be enough structure. I’ve tried having a designated day to sleep in, but it just threw me off, and seemed to encourage allowing a sleep deficit to build during the rest of the week that the one day didn’t actually compensate for. It’s not that I never break schedule, but it’s not, well, part of the schedule.

I chose 8:10 because of it’s relation to the next important time—9:30. We selected 9:30 for brunch because, at the time, it was shortly after my wife’s weekday morning work call/meeting. She doesn’t have that job or meeting anymore, but it still works out pretty well, so we kept it. 8:10 lets me do everything I want to do in the morning before brunch, before 9:30. 

I also experimented with waking up about an hour earlier to have an hour of writing time in the morning. But it wasn’t a super productive time for me—I was too sleepy, letting my sleep med wear off, to get much done. So I rearranged how I plan for writing, and decided to try following my natural sleep rhythms—fighting your natural energy cycles isn’t very useful in productivity, even though productivity oriented people tend to romanticize the early morning—which, incidentally, led me to about 8:10. 

Once I’m up, I do all the bathroom things, wash up, get dressed, etc. See to health basics like flossing and SPF, but I keep it simple, not wanting to devote more time to it than necessary. I wear the same thing every day, so there’s no decision making (or decision fatigue) involved. I take a 100mg caffeine supplement, since I found caffeine helps me, but I’m not big on coffee/tea/etc, and I don’t want something I dump a bunch of fat and sugar in, anyway. It’s fast and measurable, a small, healthy dose. I take it first thing in the morning to help wake me up, and so it has a long time to wear off before bedtime.

Then, I bring my water bottle downstairs to refill it. Making sure water is convenient is the number one way I’ve found to keep hydrated. Tracking water intake is a pain for me, and I eventually tune out any reminders/notifications. But just making sure I always have water nearby works well enough. 

Then I go for a one mile walk around the neighborhood. It gets me some fresh air, sunlight, exercise. I bring my phone mostly for safety reasons, but I leave it stored; I don’t listen to music or anything, preferring a more internally focused, productively meditative experience. I like music, but I found that it affected my thoughts too much. I also leave my laptop off until after brunch, and I don’t really have anything worth mentioning on my phone, trying to keep digital boundaries. Sometimes I run for short stretches—this is newer, and I’m working my way up—and sometimes I don’t. I keep my route simple, so I don’t have to focus on that instead of on what’s going on in my head. I’ve increased it up to a mile and three quarters before, but I feel like I get most of the benefit I’m going to get every morning within a mile, with steeply diminishing returns after that, so for now, I keep it to a mile. 

When I get back, I turn my focus away from caring for me and towards caring for the house and other things. I make the bed, turn on some lights in high traffic rooms. Open the blinds and windows if it’s nice, for some sun and fresh air. Spritz an energizing linen spray in a few places. Tidy up. Make the house nice and in awake/morning mode. See to the plants and the cats, the living things getting first priority. So on. If I have a few extra minutes, I might throw in some extra exercise, other chores, or make lists and such in my notebook. 

Then, I make us brunch. Simple, small, healthy enough—usually an English muffin with butter, and fruit for me, more water. Anything too heavy often makes me crash these days. I might mix it up sometimes and have pancakes, or add bacon, maybe sausage or an egg for my wife, who usually has a bagel. We eat together, no TV, no phones, and talk. Having brunch—and dinner—and doing many other things, at the same time each day adds structure. I clean up right away after—I’ve found it’s easiest that way. 


We eat dinner at six, which means I start making dinner anywhere from 4:45 to 5:25, unless maybe I threw something in the crock pot or sous vide that morning, and it doesn’t need anything else until 5:45. Usually my biggest and most complex meal of the day, usually protein focused, with a carb and a veggie. More water. Again, we eat together without technology or what have you, and I clean up quickly after, and at some point shut down the downstairs—locks, blinds and windows, lights—and go upstairs for the night, after refilling my water one more time and such.

As far as my daily schedule is concerned, I have open time in here, as I do for the middle of the day, though my weekly schedule and calendar again may say otherwise. I fill in other recurring tasks as they fit, and occasional miscellany. Calendar events include teaching webinars and running Las Vegas TNG. Generally, I fill time writing and doing butler school coursework. At some point in the middle of the day, I usually grab a snack or light lunch (I like to leave this unofficial, as I go through phases with it). Might have company or run errands, take breaks, etc. 

But, evening. Upstairs, at 9:35, I start getting ready for sleep. This gives me enough time to do my things, wind down a little, and have lights out by 10:10, giving me about an hour to fall asleep—my current average—to be asleep by 11:10, nine hours (the amount of sleep I’ve determined I naturally need in an average night) before my 8:10 morning alarm. 

I turndown the bedroom for nighttime, which helps signal to my body that it’s almost time for sleep. I write a brief journal entry—including habit tracking, to see how things are going, and a daily tarot reading, to reflect. My journal also has weekly, monthly, etc. reviews to easily be able to reflect and look back. I take my Seroquel, set my phone alarms as reminders for the next day—any recurring tasks or calendar events assigned to the day, then maybe a few additional things I want to tackle. I find that placing everything as alarms—even those that aren’t time bound—keeps me realistic about how much can fit in a day. I wash up and change for bed, make sure all of my electronics are charging—don’t want a low battery to get in my way—and then shut my laptop entirely, to remain off until after brunch. 

And then, it’s pretty much time for sleep. 

Privilege in Productivity

There’s this thing about accomplishing things (especially when you’re young): people love to tell you about how you got lucky

Really, though, this isn’t about how you got lucky, this is almost always subtly about how they got unlucky. They could have accomplished X, too, you know, if they had better luck. 

And don’t get me wrong: I’m very lucky, in a lot of ways. But there’s more to it than that—like work—and in other ways, I got unlucky. (And, a lot of people do recognize that—I’m just trying to address a specific point here, not complain.) 

So, privilege in productivity: let’s unpack my case.

Ways in which I am frequently told I got lucky (and the reality): 

  • Told: I have rich parents. Reality: largely untrue. My father died with a negative net worth, and my mom is a now retired public school teacher. My mother seriously helped financially support me until I was twenty-one, though, yes. People really like pulling this one out when you accomplish things young: it’s not really you, it’s your parents (and their money). There’s another way they do this, too: 
  • Told: I had good parents, throughout childhood and to guide me in young adulthood. Reality: largely true. My parents took an interest in my education, nurtured my talents, gave me rides to a million extracurriculars, paid for those activities and a few years of private school, plus school supplies and gas, helped me with my homework, met with my teachers, volunteered, gave me a nice space to do homework in, all of that. But things weren’t just idyllic: my parents divorced when I was sixteen, my father probably also had some kind of psychotic disorder, I didn’t speak to him for several years before we reconnected—and he passed on when I was twenty-one. Parenting is a lot, but it isn’t everything. Say, my sister and I are very different people, who were (largely) raised by the same parents. 
  • Told: I got lucky with my inheritance. Reality: largely true… though it’s hard to call my father suddenly and traumatically dying young lucky. Still, I did financially benefit from this, inheriting a house (though, in need of some major repairs/still with a hefty mortgage) and his life insurance policy. There was some skill involved in handling things to get the best of the options with that, though (and I had advice from my mom, my wife, and friends). 
  • Told: I married rich/my wife takes care of me. Reality: somewhat true. Granted, my wife doesn’t come from money, either; she’s self made. She’s also not a millionaire or anything. She also quit her job earlier this year, and right now, our primary source of income is my projects. I also contributed to buying our house with the life insurance money, and all of the rent from (and money from eventual sale of) my father’s house went into our shared budget. I’m also the housewife who handles basically one-hundred percent of the domestic side, on a full time level schedule; she actively doesn’t want me to work outside the home (and I don’t either). So it’s not like I’m a total freeloader here. Still, there’s some truth in this one. But money—whatever it’s source—doesn’t inherently make you productive. It might give you more resources and control over your time, but money alone can’t do all the work for you. Money can give me time to write, but money can’t publish six books if I don’t use that time wisely. My wife had supported previous partners, too, and found the results to vary wildly. 
  • Told: it was easy for me to find such a spouse because I was young, female, conventionally attractive, etc. Reality: I’m not so sure. I was honestly less conventionally attractive when I met my wife (and I’m still not a model or anything)—I was overweight, had blue hair, wore sparkly blue glasses, and overall had an interesting fashion sense—and I’d been actively seeking a partner via the group we met through for over a year; I had to put myself out there repeatedly. Age was actually more of a barrier than anything, given our age gap: she got a lot of skepticism over my age. (We also met through a group specifically for eighteen to thirty-five year olds, so everyone was within a certain range). As far as female: I think being queer might balance this out (plus, we’re both on the down side of the wage gap). I also came with some hefty health issues (like being recently out of an involuntary psych hold across the country, then dropping out of college and coming home), and she was in a long term, open relationship with someone else at the time (which ended soon after). It wasn’t just that the stars aligned for us. 
  • Told: I am young, and therefore healthy and abled. Reality: untrue. I have symptoms of chronic pain and fatigue, I required surgery to finally be able to breathe vaguely like a normal person (at twenty-one), I have paranoid schizophrenia among other mental illnesses (anxiety, autism, PTSD, anorexia?), I likely nearly died of toxic black mold poisoning when I was twenty, and my spine goes in multiple directions on multiple axes. Could it be worse? Sure. But did I get seriously lucky in this category? Eh. 
  • Told: I’m White, I’m cis, (so on). Reality: true. I do have a few definite positions of privilege that affect my life, if they are not responsible in themselves for everything I’ve done. 

As far as using privilege and productivity for good: I try to keep my works accessible, I run many free events and classes, I donate regularly, I volunteer regularly, I write and teach on topics I think need more awareness. A few specifics:

  • All of my writing is available online for free. I publish paperback and ebook versions people can purchase if they choose, and offer early access via paid subscription, but all of my primarily written content is available for free. I write nonfiction on mental health (particularly psychosis), productivity for those outside the typical mold, alternative sexuality educational content, and fiction in which I commit to exploring important themes and representing diverse characters. 
  • While my classes and class content is currently paid, I ran all of my self hosted webinars for free for the first year (over twenty of them on eight different subjects). I still frequently teach for venues and conferences for free. I also pledge half of all income from my schizophrenia related classes to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I still don’t turn anyone away for lack of funds. I teach on productivity, mental health, and alternative sexuality topics. 
  • I run a local group for young adults interested in alternative sexuality. All events (usually three per month) and online participation are completely free/donation based. I’ve also hosted/run such events/groups in the past. 
  • I volunteered once a week for the local library district for most of a year before the pandemic (and have a long volunteer history before that). Volunteers were then laid off. (They’re welcome back again, but due to taking up the above, I have not gone back—yet, at least.) 
  • Upcoming plans: starting/being a steward for a Little Free Library, becoming a regular plasma donor.

Privilege doesn’t equal productivity. But it’s a factor we should all examine for ourselves—how we got lucky and unlucky, unpacking our privilege and educating ourselves. We should all examine how we can use our position to accomplish good things and help others. 

Trying to throw away our privilege, claiming we don’t have it, or sitting around just feeling guilty about it doesn’t help anyone. 

We should also be open minded when evaluating the privilege of others, considering how they use it as part of the picture, and realizing that we may not have the full picture—not jumping to conclusions.

Privilege is something, but not everything. 

We have to do the rest and close the gaps ourselves.