My typical day

I was recently tagged by my friend Sara Soueidan to describe my typical day. It’s a trend going around on Twitter, but I enjoy reading these kind of posts from other people, so perhaps some of you will find this interesting too. You can read about Sara’s typical day, Dan Mall’s, or Chris Coyier’s.

As much as everyone - especially freelancers - like to say they don’t have a typical day, I think I need to preface this post with some context. I think most people have a “typical day” in one way or another. As humans, we’re always looking for structure and familiarity, so no matter what we like to think of ourselves, we have days that would be “typical”. That said, the last year has seen me going through a divorce, moving into an apartment in a new city, and meeting someone new. For the first time in a very long time, I’m living by myself and also working from home. I’m also currently on a project where we have team members in Europe, US East coast and US West coast so that certainly affects my planning for the day. Needless to say, it’s not that I don’t have typical days, it’s just that I might not really know what they look like quite yet.

6.30 - 8.00 AM - Around this time is when I usually get up. I’ll make my breakfast and start the day pretty slowly. I’ll have some coffee and just ease into the day. If it’s summertime, this is when I do my workout, but during the winter, it’s usually later in the day. At this time of the year, it’s still pitch dark outside in Sweden.

8.00 - 11.30 AM - First work session. I’ve noticed that this is when I do my best, most focused work because there’s usually no distractions at this time of the day. This is when I attack tougher problems or tasks that need more detailed structure.

11.30 AM - 12.30 PM - Winter workout time. I like breaking up the day into segments and this allows me to sort of reset my brain for the afternoon. If the weather is nice, I’ll go for a run, but when it’s not, I’ll likely use my Waterrower or dumbbells at home instead.

12.30 PM - 1.30 PM - Lunch. When there’s not a pandemic roaming the world, I like to meet people for lunch. I think it’s far nicer to eat with others.

1.30 PM - 4.00 PM - Second work session. I’ll review my own work from the morning and reply to emails, Slack messages, and start engaging with my team as collaborators in Europe and US East coast are starting to come online. This is where I do work that’s less affected by me being pulled into other directions.

4.00 - 7.00 PM - Meetings. This is the overlap time that I have with my peers on the US West coast so there’s usually at least one meeting per day, but more often than not that slot is pretty filled. I think it’s generally fine though because it allows me to recap my day too.

7.00 - 8.30 PM - Dinner and chill. My girlfriend works late evenings too so we’ll generally not catch up until around this time. We’ll cook together, have some wine, and talk about what not.

8.30 - 9.00 PM - Answer Slack / Figma / Notion comments that come in so they’ll have a chance to respond again ahead of my day tomorrow. I’ll keep this time to a minimum.

9.00 - 11.30 PM - Movie or just hanging out. I’ve found that there’s a huge benefit to my mental health, sleep, and general mood when I hardly use my phone after 9.00 PM.

11.30 PM - Bedtime. I’ll generally fall asleep within < 10 minutes.

The tasks for each day is heavily dependent on two things:

  • the “remind me” feature in Slack (I use this a lot) to remember to come back to specific tasks or messages that was sent the previous evening.
  • Things. I have projects setup for all client projects, but also private projects (from grocery shopping to long term goals). I then use the ‘When’ feature to assign dates for everything so I know each morning what I have to accomplish during the day. Once the ‘Today’ list is all taken care of, I can head into a specific project to cross of additional tasks if I’m on roll. The list isn’t definitive though, I’ll keep my days flexible enough so that most days, almost any of the tasks could be moved until the next day.

    Typical day in Things

    Closing thoughts

    I’m curious to see how my typical days will change over the coming months. Transitioning into my new life will surely come with new routines. Hopefully the pandemic will also have less of an impact on all of our lives. Less restrictions will certainly allow me to travel and engage in more social situations.

    What does your typical day look like?

Sign up for updates

Join designers from Amazon, IDEO and IKEA and get my latest writing bi-weekly.

Sign up on Substack