• Jacob Turk

The Daily Routine of a Writer

Updated: Jan 9, 2019

Ever wonder what a day int he life of a productive writer is like? Well, me too. That's why I crafted my ideal daily routine, designed with the sole purpose of increasing productivity and happiness. 4/1/19

If you want a productive lifestyle, you need a lot of good habits.

Habits are the cornerstone of every successful person. If you do things like wake up earlier, eat healthy, and exercise routinely, you’ll set yourself up in the best possible way to have a fantastic day. Healthy habits are how business kingpins like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Marissa Meyer breed so much productivity and success in their everyday lives.

And what’s the best way to turn something new into a habit? Repeat it. Keep doing it. Incorporate it into your daily routine to make sure you do it over and over until it becomes second nature to you.

Before I dedicated myself to writing, I had absolutely no healthy habits. I had plenty of unhealthy ones, mind you. Any days I wasn’t working my 9-5 I went to bed whenever I felt like it (often later than 2 A.M.) and woke up whenever I felt like it (seldom earlier than noon). When I did have to go to work, I would still go to bed at 2 or 3 A.M. knowing I had to wake up at 7. Then I would be tired for the rest of the day. I didn’t watch what I ate, I never exercised, and I played a lot of video games and watched movies to distract myself instead of pursuing something more meaningful.

Recently, I decided that enough was enough. I wanted to become a successful writer. But first, I had to craft a daily schedule full of healthy habits that would allow me to thrive in my work as my day progressed.

Here’s that daily routine:

6:30 A.M.: Wake up, buttercup!

I used to laugh in the faces of people who told me that waking up earlier in the morning meant your day would be more productive. I mean, come on! You still had the same number of hours in the day no matter when you went to sleep and woke up, so what did it matter?

Then I tried it, and it changed my life.

See, the difference isn’t mathematical, it’s psychological. There’s something motivating about waking up early; about knowing you’re getting work done before anyone else is. The earlier I wake up, the more productive I feel, so I set a reasonable rise time of 6:30 A.M.

Once I’m up, I make myself a cup of coffee and sip on it while watching some motivational or educational YouTube videos to give me an extra boost for the day.

7:00 A.M.: Drag my groggy ass to the yoga mat

The next thing I do is exercise. Yes, I’m tired and I don’t want to do it, but the aftereffect of a good workout is a mood and energy boost that contributes to more productivity and happiness.

If I complete my workout for the day, I feel better about myself. I also feel healthier and can subsequently take on more stress, whether physical or mental as I go through my day. So, I made it a habit to push through a 20 or 30-minute workout each morning, no matter how tired I am, followed by a quick shower.

7:30 A.M.: Learn important stuff

Once my blood is madly coursing through my veins and to my brain, I do my learning for the day.

This first consists of an hour of reading a book of my choice. The book will fall into one of three categories (usually):

1. A horror/thriller that I can study to improve my own writing in the same genre

2. A self-improvement book to help me develop insight about my own life

3. An educational book about a subject I’m interested in, like math, philosophy, or writing

After my reading, I spend half an hour on learning a new language. Right now, I’m learning Portuguese, because my fiancée and her family speak it, so it would be cool to be able to converse with them in Portuguese.

9:00 A.M.: Start my writing (with another cup of coffee)

Now that I’ve done my workout and my learning for the day, it’s time to get started on my work. This could be anything from working on my novel, to writing blog posts, to working on videos, to completing administrative tasks. But whatever it is, I wouldn’t dare start it without cup of coffee #2.

12:00 P.M.: Lunchtime + refresher walk

At noon, I take a break from my work to have lunch and watch a few YouTube videos to relax my mind. I also like to take a walk around my block to get a bit more exercise, some fresh air, and get myself refocused for the rest of the day.

4:00 P.M.: Post about my boring life

Around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, I’ll take another break to make a few social media posts. I’ll make a post for Instagram and Twitter for sure, and occasionally for Facebook as well. I also sometimes make posts on writing forums I’m a part of and have yet to post on LinkedIn (though I should really learn).

One of the most important things to do as an upcoming author is to build an audience. This is best done using social media platforms to provide interesting, good-quality, free content. Well, I’m only writing my first novel now, plus I haven’t launched my website or YouTube channel yet. So, I don’t quite have the free content yet. But I’m still making the posts.

Why? Because I want to make it a habit. I want to ensure that once I am consistently making blog posts, writing poetry, and filming videos, that posting about them on my social media is second nature.

6:00 P.M.: Dinner with the fam + boardgames

My third break of the day comes at 6 P.M. for dinner.

I’m a broke-ass MF that just finished paying off a $20,000 school debt and is about to take on a new debt once I go back in September. On top of that, I just switched from full-time to part-time work at my day job to be able to work on my writing during the week, so I’ll be making even less money than usual.

That’s why I still live with my family. Happily, I should add; they’re kind and amazing people. So, we have dinner every night around 6, during which we usually play some sort of game, be it Scrabble or Gin Rummy.

My dinner/game time usually takes around an hour, after which I head back to my office to squeeze in a few more hours of work before bed.

10:00 P.M.: Prepare for bed

At 10 P.M. my work day ends because I need enough sleep to be able to wake up at 6:30 the next morning. I would love to be able to thrive on 5 hours of sleep a night, but I just can’t. I’m unfortunately a person who needs a little more sleep than average to be fully functional, so I aim for 8 hours a night.

In order to ensure I get that 8 hours, I need to start winding down half an hour before bed. I take a quick shower (or sometimes a nice bath) and do some easy reading to relax.

10:30 P.M.: Beddy-bye

This is when I aim to be asleep every night, so that I’ll be able to get a full night’s rest and therefore won’t be tired the next day.

The #1 factor that determines my daily productivity is my sleep. Hands down. If I miss my workout or afternoon walk, or don’t get my reading hour in, I can still get a lot done. If I don’t get a full-night’s rest, however, I can be next to useless. So above anything else, make sure you get enough rest.

And boom, that’s the daily schedule I crafted for myself and have been trying to follow for the past month. Honestly, it’s been going well. Yeah, sometimes I miss a workout and sometimes I stop my work at 4 to spend time with my fiancée or hang out with a friend. Other times I sleep a little later than 6:30 because I feel like a zombie, and sometimes I need to squeeze a short nap into the middle of the day. Nobody’s perfect.

But it’s the effort that matters. That’s what makes you feel good about yourself and keeps you motivated about your life goals.

If you want to make a schedule like this for yourself and start following it, I would suggest slowly adding things in one at a time. First, pick your rise time and only focus on doing that for a week. Then throw in your workout. Then focus on your reading time, and so on. Soon, you’ll find yourself easily following a day of regimented activities that make you feel good about yourself and what you’re pursuing in life.

And that’s all that really matters in the end.

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