As with New Year, I use my Birthday – which is happily situated in the middle of the year – as a time to reflect on things past, and things future: What have I achieved? How is my health? Where have I been? Where will I go? Am I happy? Those and more besides, I’m sure you all know the drill.
Anyway, it’s bloody lousy all around at the moment.
A Typical Day
Upon reflecting, I feel that I spend a hell of a lot of time on my computer, and though I make a living online so a certain amount is expected, I find myself pretty much glued to the screen all day long.
Now that would not be that bad if I was productive, but this is not really the case.
I find that out of 12+ hours spent staring at the computer everyday, I probably only get three or four hours work in. So what of the other time?
Well a lot of it spent searching for something to do!
I’m sure you know the score, go to twitter open all the interesting posts that people of like-mind have written – being a member of the Dynamite Circle (DC) and following people such as Dan Andrews, Taylor Pearson, and the like, always gives me a good hour or so of reading (or procrastination) – especially when I start reading sources to the material written – and then on to Facebook, usually just for a few minutes; next to the Dynamite Circle, read every post –regardless of if it is of interest to anything I do – perhaps give a reply if I can be helpful. What next, shall I work?
Mmh, maybe see if there is a new tweet first, oh cool an article on how to live on the cheap in Chiang Mai – that is so relevant to me, I used to live there! Who knows I may live there again some day, though I feel that it past its prime a few years ago. Anyway I read the article, I know all that’s been written, but you know the author doesn’t seem to know half as much as I do, best add a comment or two. I mean, how the hell can they not know about that fantastic Basil chicken place on the corner? Why do they recommend a touristy place that costs twice as much and tastes half as good – this is gonna be a long comment; we are talking about Basil chicken here.
Strange, Basil chicken was something not anywhere near my mind before I started reading the post. Man, I’m hungry now; this Internet stuff is hungry work, staring at a screen all day, trying to earn a living.
I will just check up on the DC to see if anyone has replied to what I commented on, oh yes, great reply Travis, oh look, looks like David and Doug have just launched a podcast I will have to download that, give it a listen after I’ve had lunch. Oh, Corey has just got back from Japan and wrote a post about living there as a bootstrapper, always wanted to go to Japan. I will give that a read while I eat my lunch, damn time is flying today, best do some work.
Well, got about twenty minutes done on a growing guide to some obscure plant genus I’ve never heard of. MOZ gives it a keyword difficulty score of 35% and it gets a thousand visitors a month, so over a year it might make me a couple of quid. That’s the thing with making sites; you always need to be thinking long-term about anything you do, no instant payday in my line of work. I often think how nice it would be to offer SEO services, do some consulting. Mmh, maybe I’ll just put a spreadsheet together of how much money I might make if I was to take that route. I’ll do that now. Yeah, that looks feasible, wonder how to find clients…
Push the computer back a foot so I’ve room for my plate, read that Corey article while I feast. Mmh that Sushi looks good, why the hell am I eating a club sandwich again, I’ll have some BBQ fish later to make up for it health wise.
Well that hit the spot, carbs made me a bit tired, I’ll have a coffee while I listen to the podcast, do a bit of multitasking here browsing through Twitter and Facebook in case I missed anything important.
Podcast got me really motivated did a couple of hours straight installing this new plugin and customizing the site, still not added any new content to the WWW today. Oh well, Rome in a day was not built, three year plan and all that – 1000 days to the successful business they say – I wonder if that is full on everyday? Or is it three years like this.
Damn, I’m bored now, will repeat the twitter, facebook, DC cycle. I’m sure the web is bigger than this, yeah, I remember…
Techcrunch, ah start ups; I wonder why they don’t just call them small businesses anymore, not as cool I suppose.
I have an health related App, I wonder if that makes me a Start up, according to Bizspark it does, well they let me join and gave me loads of goodies. Spent about 200 hours on that project, the MVP made me about $20, I’ve not touched my ‘Start-up’ for a while.
I will return to it one day as an interest project, because it is useful to people, maybe I should just give it away. I tend to do that a lot, spend hundreds of hours on MVPs that seem good ideas but slump, still at least I’ve not spent thousands of hours on them – mmh lets check on Google Play, no, no more sold. Damn I really liked that idea. Maybe, I will use it as a learning project; – I’m learning to code for iOS now that I’ve got a Mac, piece of shit that it is, where’s my backspace button FFS.
Actually, there is a lot I like about the Mac, even though I spend far much time looking for ways of doing things such as finding out how to find my hidden .htaccess files, oh I need to alter something via command prompt, I thought people liked macs because everything was easier, let my right click have some useful options FFS, I’m a big boy now I promise I won’t format the hard drive or delete iTunes…
Finish up, check emails again, didn’t mention that before, tend to delete them straight off my phone nowadays. Star the important ones, expect a reply within a week, can’t you see how busy I am.
Check the Internet, as above
At last, do what I want to do now, just check the DC, two hours later, watch GOT/Fargo or similar. I only watch quality TV shows, cause watching TV is such a waste of time and I seem to have so little of it…
Wow, been on the computer 14 hours now, three hours work done. Oh, got a freelance editing job coming in, there’s the next three days gone, won’t be able to get work done on my own stuff for a while
Still at least it brings some pennies in, my stuff doesn’t seem to anymore, don’t know why? – I spend all day working at my computer…
The Future: Making Changes
It never used to be like this. I’ve always been an hard worker, when I was doing my PhD I thought nothing of doing 14 hour plus days; when I was working in a factory saving up to go travelling for the first time, 12 hour shifts seven days a week were not a problem; when I first started doing my own websites and making Apps, 12 hours plus days of solid work were routine. But nowadays, I find a lot of the things I need to do are so repetitive and dull that it is easy to slip into the procrastination cycle waffle that I described above.
Anyway, if you managed to get through that waffle, which is similar to quite a lot of my days nowadays, then you will realise that something needed to change. To get myself back on track. Here is my new schedule.
Wake up, snooze, get up, bathroom duties, 10 min exercise.
Go to the café, order a coffee. I have until exactly until 8 o’clock to browse the Internet.
8 – 12 WORK
This is mainly writing at the moment, there are key articles that need to be done, that should bring money in.
I start by writing an article for one of my sites, usually about 1200 words, takes about three hours including research. Feels good to add some quality content to the web each day.
I then do some code-editing, site-enhancing, SEO etc. for an hour or so.
(Ok, it’s 12 of the clock, and I have done as much work as what I previously did all day long; that is it, I’m not going to do anymore work, I want to do four super-productive hours, if I do (much) more then I am pretty sure I will slip into days of procrastination, because the things that need to be done to make money are not the most interesting things on Earth TBH).
12 – 1 LUNCH
I relocate to the place by the beach, a 10 min walk, it’s 38 degrees outside, any further would bring on a sweat. Order food, listen to music/podcast/browse the web on the iPad (not the computer).
1 – 5 LEARN
I love learning new things. At the moment my main focus is on objective-C and iOS development (yeah I know about Swift). Now I’ve got a Mac I want to put out some IOS apps, hopefully they will make money, but to be honest this is more about the intellectual challenge.
Other things can go into this ‘learn’ time-period, maybe its time to learn Japanese, improve the guitar skills, go take some photographs. Anyway, the main thing is that I’ve set aside a chunk of my day specifically for this.
5 – 6.30 WALK
The temperature has normally dropped to about 30 by now, great time to walk down the beach and reflect on life.
6.30 – 7.30
Do that pointless computer browsing that I used to spend all day doing, shoot off an email or two.
7.30 onwards, DINNER/Out with Friends
Usually take the iPad with me, read a book as I eat. Depending where I am, meet up with friends, go to the cinema, or just eat, read, then return home.
From this point on the computer is not allowed on other than for watching TV/Movies, SKYPE calls home, or listening to football.
Of course this is my schedule at the moment. I am currently at a quiet spot in Vietnam by the beach.
When I’m in the cities, I will often meet up with friends for co-working or just for a chat. The first one usually stimulates work so is ok, the second one doesn’t involve me staring at a computer screen so although not productive is also ok.
I was thinking when the last time I had more than three days off work. Two years ago. I quite often work or work/procrastinate (as described above) for days on end, then do intense freelance editing, then get burnt out.
This has got to change, I will probably introduce ‘no computer days’ once a week; I’ve done that in the past, works better if it is not a zillion degrees outside and you can go outside and do a hobby, go walking, cycling etc.
Will have to see how that fits into my new schedule. Anyway it’s time to turn the computer off….