My Typical (Annotated) Week Day

Okay, so I’m doing this post for two reasons: (1) because I want to keep putting content up here and driving traffic to the website—more eyes on that equals more eyes on my writing and editing work, and (2) because I want this blog to be an honest accounting of the freelance experience (warts and all) as it relates to me.

So, without further ado, I wanted to provide this look at the schedule I drew up before starting my Monday-Friday freelance routine. As with any schedule/plan of action, there’s a whole lot of good intentions meets cold harsh reality here…

Oh, and before I dive in, I should mention that I more or less employ a variation of the Pomodoro technique to my work day. 25 minutes of the assigned/selected task, 5 minutes of rest0

6 A.M. to 8 A.M.1: Morning time2/Breakfast and Coffee3/Get kids to daycare4

8:15 to 8:455: Correspondence6

8:45 to 9:45: Freelance Editing7

9:45 to 10:15: Free-time8

10:15 to 10:45: Exercise9 / 10

10:45 to 11:15: Correspondence

11:15 to 12:15: Freelance Editing

12:15 to 12:45: Lunch/Chores11

12:45 to 1:15: Writing12

1:15 to 1:45: Correspondence

1:45 to 2:45: Freelance Editing

2:45 to 3:15: Writing

3:15 to 3:45: Free-time

3:45 to 4:15: Correspondence

4:15 to 5:15: Freelance Editing

5:15 to 8:15: Pick up boys/family time/dinner/kids to bed13

8:15 to 9:15: Writing14

9:15 to 10:15: PBJ Time15

10:15 to 10:45: Read/Bedtime16

0: Usually that "rest" comes in the form of reading short stories or screenplays or something similarly s-titled. Unless, of course, it's before I'm on a writing shift. Then it's time to bullshit around on Twitter or the like.

1: This has evolved into something more like 6:10 to 8:30. And will likely change again in September when my oldest starts Pre-K.

2: What can I say? I’m a Morning Person. I don’t think I ever really got over the habit from high school and the ungodly hours they put teenagers through in that meat-grinder. I fell out of practice a bit in my college and early-mid 20’s days (Thanks, bad lifestyle decisions!). But even before I had kids who’ve never NOT seen at least the 8 AM hour, I was back in the practice of getting up early and kickstarting the day.

3: Mmm, coffee. 3 cups a day. Usually done between 10 to 11 AM. Peet’s French Roast is my poison/power potion of choice.

4: Do you wanna know what it’s like to listen to the Moana and Frozen soundtracks on repeat in 5-10 minute increments 5 days a week? Because I can definitely tell you ALL about it…

5: This "shift" really gets short shrift thanks to the increased commute time for dropping off the kids at daycare. It's now more like 8:30-8:40 to check my personal (and writing) email and my editing email. Then, it's on to the next one...

6: Correspondence = email checking (for freelance editorial work, writing/submissions updates, and personal correspondence, also includes checking Twitter and Facebook and limits checking both to this time period (definitely still working on sticking to that). Note: if Correspondence finishes early, I do try and roll into next activity (which currently tends to be Freelance Editing, but can also end up as housework).

7: Freelance Editing: My broad strokes term for any work that’s not creative writing. Editing/project management work, any other editing/writing work-for-hire. I do the editing work in hour blocks (25 minutes, 5 minutes, 25 minutes, 5 minutes)A

8: I feel like free-time doesn't really convey what I use this time for. Perhaps a better way to describe it is "media research"? I prefer to use this time to watch TV/movies, read, do online class work, etc. Okay, so, yeah mayyyybe it does kind of look just like free-time. But I think I more than make up for it with the next shift...

9: SEE?!

10: Since we live near a park and a lake (it's Minnesota after all) and because it's not yet arctic deep freeze time, I usually take my exercise in the form of a walk around the lake. This has done wonders for me physically and for my photography of birds, turtles, and other woodland critters. Once it gets colder, I've got an exercise bike waiting for me in the basement. Will have to hang a bird mobile from the ceiling though to get the same effect.

11: In the interest of wanting to use my freelance work time FOR freelance work and not as an excuse to do household chores, I decided to give chores their very own bucket (albeit one they also share with me feeding my face—which is what takes absolute precedence).

12: Given the realities of where I am with my writing and the professional goals I have for it vs. the day-to-day realities of bills and raising 2 kids and such: my current "work" week (40 hours, my fellow laborers) is currently divided into ROUGHLY 30 hours of freelance/work-for-hire editorial work, copywriting, etc. and 10 hours of writing (short stories, novellas, comics, screenplays, etc.—pretty sure I've got a audio drama podcast idea or 2 in me...). My aim is to eventually increase the amount of writing time and decrease the freelance "other" time. But until that becomes more financially feasible, this is the arrangement I'm working from...

13: I'm usually the one cooking dinner these days, and there's probably a blog post there about the advantages of taking on a hobby/task apart from editing/writing and how it's helped me as a writer and as a person. Plus, food...yum!

14: An hour (well 50 minutes) of writing at the end of the day. This is the BIG push.

15: My name is Patrick Barb. My wife's name is Jenna. PBJ...get it? Get it??? You know what, YOU'RE GROSS, okay, buddy? Annnnnyways, we usually watch TV for about an hour. We're at the point in our lives now where we average about 1 show marathoned 1 episode at a time.

16: I'll be honest, there often tends to be more sleeping than reading going on during this chunk of time. But I am trying...!

A: Often, especially when we were just getting settled into the new house and freelance work was slow to come, I would find myself using this time for unpacking the many, many boxes, doing chores, etc., etc. It's an easy trap to fall into, because it's like, "When ELSE are these things going to get done???"