A Day In The Life 2017 Edition

It’s our blogoversary! Yes, it’s been 12 months since I started this blog, back in August 2016. I thought I’d celebrate by giving you a look at a day in the life of Mrs. ETT. I enjoyed reading Chónce from My Debt Epiphany’s DITL, and have wanted to do one of my own since. I figured that the anniversary of this blog was as good a time as any. Without further ado, I hope you enjoy it!

A Day In The Life of Mrs. ETT

04:50 – 5:30

The alarm on my iPad goes off quietly, as Mr. ETT doesn’t get up at this time. I spend 5-10 minutes laying in bed, enjoying the softness and warmth, thinking. This is often where I get ideas for blog posts, daydream about what I may want to try next, or think about what I want to achieve that day. I’m up by 5am. Once a week this will be to take a morning walk/jog, a habit that began by setting a goal on this blog. The other mornings I spend 5-15 minutes on my volunteer VA work. That’s followed by either watching a video from one of the many online courses I am enrolled in, answering blog comments, or editing/preparing my next blog post.

My computer and iPad on the loungeroom table.
This is actually pretty tidy for the loungeroom table!
5:30

Mr. ETT’s alarm goes off. I turn on the coffee machine to make my coffee, and open the cat door ready for the cats to venture out into the netted backyard. I say good morning to Mr. ETT, then let the cats out of their bedroom. Yes, they get put to bed every night. Sleep is precious to me, and having kitties thunder around at 3am makes for a very grumpy Mrs. ETT. I may or may not have a shower at this point – we no longer shower every day. Of course if I am hot & sweaty (or if I’m cold in winter), or if I feel particularly dirty, then I’ll have one. Otherwise, it’s only every second day. Maybe everyone else is too polite to tell me I’m stinky, but until I get a complaint, I’m saving water, soap and time!

Bedroom with cat bowls and toys.
The cat’s room. I can feel Pat the Shuffler’s blood beginning to boil…

 

6:00-6:30

I iron my clothes for the day. This is a personal “uniform” I created for work so I don’t have to choose what to wear each morning. I had work pants from my last job. I bought 5 tops (3 white, 2 navy) that are easy wash and wear. If you are going to do this, I recommend you buy 6. Sometimes when our washing cycle gets out of whack, they are all dirty at once. Then I have to make an actual choice from the rest of my clothes! I listen to podcasts while I’m ironing.

I brush my teeth and do my hair (a ponytail & clip back the fringe I’m growing out), then grab my lunch from the freezer along with a piece of fruit. Does anyone else have leftovers they’ve frozen and then forgotten what they are? My lunch is often a surprise.

During this time I download my blog posts ready for offline reading on the train, and new podcasts.

Mr. ETT gets up somewhere in here. He’s mostly out of bed before I leave. I only have a 5 minute drive to the station, but that’s enough to squeeze in more podcasts. I have a range of trains that I can catch. If I miss my first, there are 3 subsequent ones that will still get me to work in plenty of time.

Three work shirts.
I love not having to think about what to wear to work each day.
6:30-7:15

Travelling on the train, reading blogs. I can catch a slow train direct to my station (good because I have longer to read) or a fast train past my stop, then change to go backwards (good because it is quicker to get there, and I get to climb stairs at the station). This is where I miss having internet, because when I want to comment on a blog I need to write it in my Notes app, and paste it later at home.

Landscape through a train window.
A shot through the window of my train. Usually I miss this because I’m reading.
7:15-7:20

I pass several food outlets after getting off the train. The scent of coffee, freshly baked croissants or egg and bacon rolls is so tempting. I very rarely give in – it’s often the thought that I will have to record it in the budget and tell all of you that stops me!

Depending on what train I catch, there is an elderly man who walks in the opposite direction to me. We exchange greetings; it’s nice to start the day with a smile and a pleasantry from a stranger. Sometimes I also find myself walking behind a bunch of school kids. I envy their energy and enthusiasm, but boy they talk a lot of crap.

7:20-7:30

The 10 minute walk to my workplace is my favourite part of the day. Despite working in an urban area, it has a lot of greenery. There is one particularly old building that I admire every day. It’s surprising how the character changes depending on the weather. In the morning sun, it absolutely gleams. When surrounded by clouds or rain, the stark brightness means it looms out into the sky. I enjoy watching how trees and bushes change with the seasons too.

I’m entertained each morning by a bevy of birds (that sounds a bit risqué, actually!) I regularly see and hear:

  • Magpies carolling their iconic morning song.
  • Crows strutting across their territory in sleek, dark feathers.
  • Crested pigeons fluttering in pairs.
  • Indian mynahs rummaging in bushes.
  • Noisy miners exhibiting little bird syndrome with their brazen attitudes (Are you looking at me?! Walk on by, buster!)
  • Sulpher-crested cockatoos playing chicken with traffic; those birds can turn on a dime.
  • Galahs nuzzling each other on the light poles.
  • Rainbow Lorikeets congregating so high in the gum trees their colours are hidden, though their voices aren’t.
  • Corellas clowning around, acting like a two-year old sidling up to the power point they’ve been told to leave alone three times already.
  • For a rare treat, I may get the chance to hear or see a kookaburra.
  • Even more rarely, I see the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, sounding for all the world as if someone had stepped on the dog’s squeaky toy.
Cockatoo perched on the overhead wire for trains.
A cocky waiting for the train.
7:30-8:00

Arrive at work, put my lunch stuff in the fridge, and turn on my computer. I don’t officially start until 8am, so I might choose to continue reading blog posts, or do a bit of work-related self-study, or some mornings just start work. It contributes to give and take. I don’t want it to become expected, though, because I don’t work for free.

Get my first glass of iced water in a beautiful handmade porcelain cup I picked up while on a conference in Adelaide. I top this up throughout the day – it is one trick to help me eat less (another goal from the blog).

Ceramic cup from Just Jane
The colours and texture remind me of being at the beach.
8:00

Begin work. I quickly check my email for anything urgent, and my calendar for the day. There are routine tasks that I need to complete daily to keep on top of. I also have small projects that I work to progress a little each day at the moment – spreadsheets for those open automatically when I log in. If I need to do solid work on a task to progress it, I block the time out in my calendar. While I’m doing project work, I then close my email while I complete each task, because I don’t want distractions.

None of the above applies if it is Tuesday. Tuesday is meeting day. Ugh. I have a minimum of 2 regular meetings each Tuesday, which can stretch to 3 or 4 depending on how the 4 weekly or monthly or bimonthly or quarterly meetings fall. In all honesty the meetings aren’t directly related to me, but it gives me access to certain groups of people in the business that it is important I maintain relationships with. It’s also essential that I have a feel for how those teams are progressing. For example, knowing that one is 50% understaffed means I may need to find a way to reduce the tasks or work I need from them.

Workspace for Mrs. ETT.
Where I spend the bulk of my days.
8:15-8:30

My chronically tardy colleague arrives. Can you tell that this irks me?

8:00-9:30

Have breakfast somewhere in here. I am in a desk job, so I can have brekky at my desk. I usually eat one of the following:

  • Smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers on multi grain toast.
  • Vegemite and a microwaved egg with baby spinach on multi grain toast.
  • Seasoned chicken loaf from Aldi with tomato, cucumber and baby spinach on multigrain toast with hummus or chutney.
  • Baked beans on multigrain toast (sometimes with Vegemite, sometimes with an egg).
  • Smooshed banana on multigrain toast. It’s like a banana sandwich but for breakfast!

If I don’t have much time, or I’ve forgotten to stock up, I will have a single porridge sachet with added sultanas. Sometimes I bring in some decanted cereal from home to keep in my drawer as well, and have that with yoghurt.

When I’m doing concentrated work, I put on my headphones & listen to music I’ve uploaded from CDs to my computer. When I’m doing repetitive data work that doesn’t require thought, I plug earphones in to my iPad and listen to podcasts. Even though I am completing necessary work, it feels like I’m getting away with something when listening to FIRE during work hours!

Hopefully I’ve had a request to pull some data for analysis. This is the favourite part of my job. I love taking what’s granular and inaccessible, hundreds of thousands of rows of data, then bringing it all together to dive in deeply and find the stories that it tells, in the hope that it will make a difference to people. This is the type of task where I find my flow – I can look up and realise that it is lunchtime already.

Spreadsheet on row 185,000
This is what I like getting my teeth into.
11:30 – 2:00

Lunch could be any time in here, depending on how engrossed I am in what I’m doing, or what meetings I have. 99% of the time lunch is frozen leftovers from our dinners. I sit in our tiny lunchroom and read blogs or books or my Big Issue magazine. This is the time that I complete my Duo Lingo lesson for the day. I could find others to have lunch with, or head to a bigger tea room, but I prefer to spend the time by myself. We get half an hour, usually I find I’m done in 20 minutes or so. Some days I’ll stay reading, some days I’ll head back to my desk.

Three frozen lunches.
Mystery lunches. I was sure the one on the right was cabbage soup. Turns out it was potato and leek soup. Still yummy!

The afternoon is a repeat of the morning. I’ll either tackle something big and solid, or work on my daily tasks. I’m also responding to emails and calls for me to do stuff throughout the day. This does mean I get to leave my desk and visit other parts of the building, which is important to me. I would struggle to sit at my desk for 8 hours each day.

Occasionally I may need to do some offsite work in one of the other offices. I love doing this, because they are both closer to home! They are also longer walks from their respective train stations, so I get more exercise in, and I get to see real sunlight during the working day. I haven’t had to travel when it’s been bucketing down though. That would be pretty miserable.

15:30

Afternoon tea consists of a piece of fruit, and/or some yoghurt. If I want something savoury, I have some miso soup. I love miso soup.

16:30

Home time. I need to walk out the door right on the dot to catch my train. 2 minutes late here means 15 minutes late getting home, and I value those minutes. I can enjoy the walk back to the station while waiting at crossings for the lights to change, but other than that, I’m in a rush to get to the station, so it isn’t the same as in the mornings.

There are no direct trains when I finish, so I catch one in the opposite direction to home, before changing. I don’t mind, though, because the trains home are fast ones. They also have quiet carriages, so I know I other people’s music or conversation won’t distract me. This is the time I write my blog posts. Sometimes I really just want to keep reading, but if I force myself to open my notes app, I find that the writing tends to happen. In fact, this is where I crafter this post.

Decorative curlicues on an old building's roof.
I think more buildings should have these type of little touches.
17:10

Usually I will head straight home, but if I need petrol I will top up, as there is a station the way. I occasionally stop into the local Woolworths to look for half-priced meat, but I don’t remember to do it often enough that I’ve been able to identify a pattern.

17:30

Mr. ETT gets home before I do, so we catch up and download our days when I walk in. I also spend a few minutes fussing Frank and Jelly. Usually it is then on to my to-do list of chores or bill paying or writing/blog tasks. I try to accomplish 3 things off it each night. If I can do more then that’s great, but if I can’t then I’ve finally learned that it will be there tomorrow, and I can still feel content.

If it is cold or dark or one of us is particularly hungry, we will begin cooking dinner. More often than not we try to do it together these days. We can talk more while we are cooking.

We watch an hour of TV while we eat dinner sitting on the lounge. I know I will get called out for “wasting” a whole hour (every single night! gasp!), but I enjoy it. On Thursday nights, we watch Buffy. I started us way back at the beginning and the rediscovery of characters I never stopped loving has been a wonderful experience. My memory is poor, so it’s like I’m watching some of the episodes for the first time. If I have a blog post due, or I feel like things are getting on top of me, then I will not watch telly for the night, but most nights it definitely happens.

Apple Notes To-Do List.
Fairly productive. Of course, this is on top of cooking dinner and cleaning kitchen etc.
20:50

My iPad tells me to go to bed. I usually stay up an extra 10-20 minutes just to spite it. Then I say goodnight to Mr. ETT and the cats, clean my teeth and go to bed. Depending on how tired I am, I might try to read a few pages from a book. Mostly I set a story on my iPad to play for 10 minutes, then fall asleep before it ends. It’s a lovely way to go to sleep, but it takes SO long to get through stories!

To paraphrase the soapie I used to watch with my Nan, “these are the days of my life”. Wonder what they will look like on my second blogoversary? I’m not expecting any big changes in the next year, but you just never know what will happen, because… life.

Have you ever written a “Day in the Life” post? Or do you have a favourite from another blogger? Please share below, I love reading them!

12 thoughts on “A Day In The Life 2017 Edition

  1. I loved reading this post. It was so nice to see how you live (minus all the cat stuff).

    I usually end up eating lunch at my desk, but I don’t tend to work during it, so that’s something. I usually catch up on the news or a blog post. Our tea room isn’t very welcoming, so I don’t want to sit in there. It is a bad habit though, so I should work on getting out of the office.

    Lovely getting to know you a little better 🙂

    • Thanks, AwP! I think it’s important to have a mental break at least. I don’t mind my desk, so as long as you can be there and not get sucked in to working, then why not? Sometimes I will take myself for a walk outside the building, just to see some real, actual sunlight 🌞

    • I’m a morning person, so I like getting up this early. Some mornings I’m awake at 4:30am, so I get up. Unfortunately I’ve had a few days where I’m wide awake at 3:30am, and that is NOT OK.

      I admit that on the non-Buffy nights I sometimes get restless if the shows go for an hour, so I may occasionally have my iPad or laptop with me at the same time. I’m constantly “on” these days, so TV is like permission to stop moving and thinking for a short period.

  2. I love reading about other people’s lives!
    You do get up extremely early. My day usually starts with my alarm going off at 6:30am and me turning it off and going back to sleep (or reading this blog post) until I can’t delay getting up any longer….
    It sounds like you have a good balance though between work and leisure time – don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t watch tv if you want to be successful 😉

    • I get up early out of necessity to get to work on time. Then, because I want to “do stuff”, I get up even earlier. I can’t lay in bed after the alarm has gone off, because as soon as I open my eyes, my mind is full of everything I want to do. It’s interesting that it comes across that I have a balance. I don’t feel that way. I really want to work less so I have more time for everything else. It’s not possible yet because I’ve committed to work, but in a couple of years I will seriously be pursuing it. I was so jealous of LadyFIRE’s 9 day fortnight!

  3. Oh how fun! I loved this post. A little window into your life. I kinda want to write one too now. #copycat.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending an hour in front of the telly. Esp if you are eating dinner while you are doing it. You are already multi-tasking! We need to unwind and if telly is your way then that’s fine too. We tend to do an episode of whatever we are trying to watch every night. There’s nothing we are watching right now so no telly for us. But not so long ago we were catching up on all six seasons of Offspring!

    Thank you for sharing. I would love to read more posts like this!

    • Definitely do one! I copied Choncé. She has one before freelancing, and one after. It’s fascinating to see the difference. I wanted mine to mark a point in my life too. I’m expecting next years to be pretty much the same, but you never know!

      I’d love to read yours. I do think day to day life is interesting.

  4. Happy blogoversary! This was a great read, I love how detailed you were. I’m kind of jealous at how structured your day seems to be, and how nice of a start you get. (At least, it seemed rather calm to me!) My cats also have a little outdoor area, and I let them out in the morning. I wish there was a second bedroom for them to be in… I’m with you on selecting outfits to wear beforehand so there are less choices to make in the morning. And also with you on the coffee!

    I think I’m most impressed with your dedication to things like going through courses, listening to podcasts, and reading blog posts. You manage to fit so much in! I miss being able to do that at work (while getting work done). I can’t listen to much while working these days, otherwise it distracts me. (If I’m writing, I’ll start writing whatever I hear someone saying/singing. Oops.) Not that you need permission from anyone, but I think it’s perfectly fine to unwind in front of the TV if you enjoy it. TV isn’t for me, but I’ll game instead. =P

    I think it’d be a challenge for me to write one of these because none of my days ever look the same. My life as a freelancer has been FAR less structured than as a 9-5 employee…for better, or worse. I keep trying to get into a routine, but forcing it to work has unsurprisingly made it not work. 😉

  5. Great job on the 12 months blogging! I’ve got quite a while till I get to that milestone.

    I really enjoyed this post, very interesting! Especially I liked the birds and the surprise lunches. In our area we also get the rare kookaburra, love to see or hear them 🙂

    Maannnn, I really don’t miss getting up that early! We’ve gotten pretty lazy sleep-wise since reaching FI, getting up at like 830, it’s almost embarrassing. It’s only cos it’s winter tho, in summer we’ll be up when it’s light… at least that’s the plan 😉

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