- What on earth could motivate me to get up at 6:45 every day?
- Some things never change
- Until a few months ago, I’d only done a few hundred pushups in my life
- The missing ingredient wasn’t food
- My office got more than a rowing machine
- Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…
- It’s just about time to call it a day
Six months ago, I wrote a “day-in-the-life” type of post about working as a freelancer. How times have changed! Some things have continued (I’m all about routines), but I’ve also had to create new routines. Things have changed so much for me that I decided it was time for another post about my typical day.
I wrote about getting up at 8 am and going through a morning stretching routine in that earlier post. Then I’d check email and a few websites before starting work around 10 am. A gentle start to the day, easing into work. No more!
I now get up at 6:45 am—every day except weekends. I’m required to ‘check-in’ at work by 7 am, which involves letting my team know I’m alive and kicking. On rare occasions, there’s something urgent for me to tackle right away. But more often than not, I chug half a liter of water, start sipping some coffee, check a quick website or two, and start work at 7:30 am.
What on earth could motivate me to get up at 6:45 every day?
It turns out that one of my freelance jobs has turned into a full-on 40-hour a week remote position. I need to be online and available for my team during regular office hours, so that’s my schedule every day.
It’s the same for all my team members. There’s a lot of back and forth with this team. And though we all live in different time zones, being online at the same time allows us to accomplish what we need to.
There was a mental switch I needed to make. It’s like when I first came to Korea. My plan had always been to stay in Korea for a few years. After a few years, I would return to Canada and start my ‘real’ life. I don’t remember when, but at one point, I realized that teaching EFL had become my career—whether I’d planned it or not.
It was the same with this job. I signed on as a freelancer, working a few hours a week. I was given projects and deadlines, and I had the freedom to work at my own pace. But as I took on more responsibilities, my role grew. This freelance job turned into a full-time remote position. Everything was good when the switch flipped, and I accepted that change. And everything’s still good.
Some things never change
I’m still only eating one meal a day, so there is no need for breakfast or lunch. From the time I wake up until about 5 pm, I only drink water and coffee.
I’m at my computer from 7:30 am–3:30 pm most days. I’ll take occasional short breaks. I still have the flexibility to take a few hours off when needed—like my son’s high school graduation this past Friday. As long as I give my team a heads up, everything’s good. It’s not a carefree freelance lifestyle, but there’s still a fair amount of flexibility.
I’m still meditating every day. With the longer hours, I find that even more important. Sometimes I’ll take a break from working to meditate and recharge my batteries. On other days, I’ll wait and meditate at the end of my shift.
To be 100% transparent, I end up falling asleep 50% of the time during my 15-minute meditation. But I still find it a good break in the day. It clears my head and helps me finish off the day strong.
Between 3:30–4:00 pm, I log off from work. If I haven’t meditated, I do that first before moving on to my stretching routine. While stretching, I still do some music/language learning tasks. But I’ve added a new element to that routine.
Until a few months ago, I’d only done a few hundred pushups in my life
In December, a friend of a friend on Facebook posted a pushup challenge. Pretty simple—start with five pushups, and increase the total number of pushups by five each day. Pretty easy for the first 10 days. But let me ask you—how good are your math skills?
Have you figured out what Dec. 31st entailed? Yup, 155 pushups. After day 10, I started breaking the pushups into sets. The last five days of 2021 saw me break my 135–155 pushups into five sets. But I completed the challenge.
In January, I decided to keep going with the pushups—but not 155 a day. I settled on 100 pushups and added four sets of 25 into my stretching routine. Between stretches, I smash out 25 pushups. And until recently, that was all the exercise I was getting—but it wasn’t enough. Though I’m breathing hard by the last pushup of my last set, it’s not nearly enough cardio.
The missing ingredient wasn’t food
Despite doing Keto and intermittent fasting for +18 months, I’m still gaining weight. This is due to my sedentary lifestyle. I sit at my computer all day and rarely venture outside due to COVID restrictions. I get next to no exercise.
I decided it was time to add some cardio to my routine. But with limited time, I needed something I could do in 30 minutes—at home. Despite being an avid cyclist a few years ago, I’ve never enjoyed exercise bikes or indoor trainers. And I’ve always detested running—on a treadmill or outdoors.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought a used rowing machine. It’s a magnetic rowing machine, but I wanted something quiet. I know an air or water rowing machine would’ve been better, but I just needed something that would give me a workout. The machine I got is quiet—and gives me a workout.
Also, when I start something new, I’ve never been one to go out and buy some top-of-the-line product. When I first started cycling, I bought a cheap bike before upgrading to a better one. I ended up with a road bike that I used to ride all over Korea. If I ‘outgrow’ this rowing machine, I’ll consider upgrading. But it’s doing the trick for now.
My office got more than a rowing machine
The rowing machine isn’t the only addition to my office. Well, the entrance to my office, via the “corridor” behind the sofa to my corner living room office. I got my wife a pair of AfterShokz OpenMove bone conduction headphones for Christmas. She wears headphones all day, so I thought they’d be a little more comfortable. It turns out she quite likes them.
I’d been using Britz earbuds for my online meetings. The sound quality was fine, but the microphone quality was terrible. I resorted to using the earbuds for sound, but my laptop mic for voice—which also picked up a lot of ambient sounds. Like my dog barking or family members making noise in the kitchen. Not ideal.
I tried my wife’s AfterShokz headphones one day and was impressed with the mic quality. So impressed, I ordered a pair for myself. I wouldn’t recommend bone conduction headphones for audiophiles. But they’re comfortable and have excellent battery life. And they’re more than adequate for my multitude of daily Teams/Zoom meetings.
They also work great on the rowing machine. I slap them on, throw something on Netflix, and row away for 30 mins. It’s low impact, but I work up a good sweat. Cardio has been the missing ingredient in my weight loss—no surprise there. In just two weeks, I’ve already lost 2.5 kgs.
I can’t forget to mention the most important addition to my office—a comfortable office chair. I bought my former chair online with next to no research. I only needed it to teach one or two Zoom classes a day at the time. But as my days in front of the computer grew longer, that chair became more and more uncomfortable.
I bought a nice, comfy office chair with an extendable footrest. The chair even reclines to 180 degrees—not that I have the room to take advantage of that! Regardless, my new chair is more than comfortable enough for my long days in front of the computer.
Oh, and I’m still loving my browser, Sidekick. Thanks to the 10 of you who’ve signed up for Sidekick using my referral link! That’s given me six months of the pro plan. If ten more people sign up with this link, I’ll qualify for the forever-free pro plan. If you’re looking for a better browser, you can’t do better. I previously wrote about why I love Sidekick in this post.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…
Before talking about all my office upgrades, I was talking about my daily routine. After finishing work, if I haven’t done it yet, I meditate. Then I move on to stretching and rowing. When I finish working at 3:30, that usually takes me to five o’clock. After a quick shower, it’s time for my first food of the day.
Shortly after 5 pm, I drink a homemade chocolate & peanut butter shake and eat a handful of almonds. Then, it’s time for guitar practice. Unfortunately, my cover band still isn’t performing, but at least we’re back to practicing. I only manage 45-60 mins a day, but I play every day—though you’d never know it!
That usually brings me to sometime after 6 pm. This is when I’ll finally get to respond to emails, check my homepage stats, and check Facebook and Instagram. I’ll usually tackle a few odds and ends until my only meal of the day—between 7:00–7:30.
I take an hour off for dinner. I usually watch a couple of episodes of something on Netflix with my family while we eat. By 8:30, it’s back to work. This is when I do work for my other regular client. Aside from my main 40-hour/week job, I only work with one other regular client at the moment.
I’ll also tackle any small freelance jobs that I may pick up. This is what I envisioned myself doing, but doing it full-time is not in the cards at the moment. My current full-time remote position is very enjoyable and a great learning experience. But working around 50 hours/week leaves little time for much else.
Perhaps I’ll be able to transition to a full-time freelancer in a few years. But for now, those freelance jobs are on the backburner. I also work on my blogs, collect and organize Instagram pics, and write those Instagram posts at night.
It’s just about time to call it a day
Finally, around 11 pm, it’s time to unwind. Instead of the nightly glass of scotch I was enjoying six months ago, I’ve recently switched to herbal tea at night. It’s gotta be better for my liver, right?
My wife and I end the day with a show on Netflix (currently working our way through Ozark). Shortly after midnight, it’s time for bed. But only after I’ve tackled the day’s new Wordle puzzle at midnight!
Yes, I got hooked on this. But then again, I’ve been playing Words with Friends daily for years. These days, that’s limited to a couple of moves while brushing my teeth or lying in bed before falling asleep.
Pretty exciting, huh? And on the weekends? I catch up on any freelance work, blog writing, and Instagram stuff I didn’t have time to finish during the week. It ain’t glamorous, and even though I’m incredibly busy, I’m enjoying it.
I’ll never enjoy getting up at 6:45 in the morning. But I don’t dread going to work. I know I’m going to be busy. I know there are going to be challenges. But I’m enjoying it, I work with great people, and the days fly by.
I’m learning a lot about marketing while improving my copywriting and content writing skills. All things that’ll benefit me if I decide to focus on freelancing in Korea in the future.
I’ve been thrown more than a few curve balls this year. But I’ve adapted to each one, made the necessary adjustments, and to date, I’ve knocked them all out of the park. In a few weeks, I’ll update you on why my hours increased and my new role in my full-time position.