Ask Colin: Day in the Life

Have you ever done/considered doing a ‘day/week in the life of Colin’ story?

What I’d like to know is e.g. how much time you spend on reading, how you structure your day, how much time goes into a podcast episode etc.

Forgive me if this already exists somewhere and I just haven’t come across it.


Hey S-

The way we choose to spend our time is important. Our days are the atomic units of our lives.

That said, it’s important to recognize that there’s no right or wrong ambitions, nor right or wrong organizational method for one’s day.

A universally perfect day doesn’t exist any more than a universally perfect life exists. We’re all different, with different ideologies and goals, and thus, one person’s ideal day might be another person’s worst-day-ever. And the same is true of the guiding principles and formulae we use to create routines and habits.

That said, for my purposes, my goals, I find it’s useful to keep my days modular, with pieces I can move around based on my needs and wants at that moment, or during some larger period of time.

I try to organize things so that I can be sure to get deadline-delimited projects done, first, the rest of my day free for other, less time-sensitive pursuits, like learning, spending time with people I care about, and non-work-related habits I enjoy, like making music and cooking.

In practice, that means I generally aim to get my podcast- and writing-related work done in the morning, and my publishing-related work finished up by the late-morning or early-afternoon, leaving the rest of my day open for whatever else.

In between those work-related tasks, I’ll often insert a quick workout, a perusal of the news, a walk around the neighborhood, or something else that allows me to step away from the keyboard and to move around a little; which is good for one’s mind and body, but which I also find helps me think more clearly and focus on what I’m doing, when I get back to work.

Specific time-measurements are tricky when it comes to the work I do, as some podcast episodes take 10-hours in total, from outline to final edit, while others take twice that. The same is true with my writing: sometimes it just flows, and I’ll knock out a column in 20-minutes, but in other cases it’ll take a few hours to get it right.

This is part of why I like to maintain a flexible, malleable structure to my day, because it means I can allow a project to sprawl if necessary, but I can also introduce new efficiencies into what I do, and those efficiencies will immediately pay off as additional time I then have available to spend on whatever else.

A structured non-structure, then, with modular collections of activities I can move around and adjust based on what I’m trying to get done, where I’m located, who I’m with, what else I’m doing that day, works perfectly for me and my ambitions.

I know other people, though, who do great work and who are happy with their lives, who have far more rigid, strict systems in place. For them, things must get done in a very specific order and within a very rigid timeframe. For their personalities and preferences, for their ambitions, this sort of system is ideal.

And that’s okay. Again, there’s no wrong way to do this. Strict, loose, somewhere in between: as long as you’re fulfilled, and as long as you’re getting to where you want to be, it’s all good, it’s all legitimate.

I would suggest that if you’re in the process of establishing your own routines and rhythms, that you experiment with different models and paces and methods to figure out which most closely match your ambitions and predispositions.

Take the time to figure out who you are, what matters to you, and where you are currently, in terms of aligning you actions with your philosophy.

Take the pieces that make sense from other people’s methods and models, tweak things along the way, and over time, cobble together your own unique, à la carte, you-shaped routine.

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