I was always curious what do people do all day long if they do not work!? For me it was frightening question. Since I can remember all my weekdays were preoccupied with important activities and rather strict schedule: first, school and after school lectures, then university and different kinds of part time jobs and later, professionally developing software for ten years.
Pretty much all the weekdays were predefined for me: wakeup in the morning, travel to work, work, travel home, yoga class, two-three hours of a free personal time, go to sleep. Roughly rounding: 11 hours work related activities and 5 hours of non work related activities and 8 hours for sleep. So what do you do 16 hours a day if you don’t work!!??
5 months ago I decided to leave my dream job and move to Seattle in search for even better one. So for 5 months I’m unemployed and have 16 hours of a personal time everyday in my possession. And believe me, from the day one of my unemployment I started getting this frightening “What do you do all day long” question very often.
Recently I’ve read interesting statistics on how do Americans spend their weekdays and decided to share my daily routine. Here is how my weekday agenda looks like:
7:00 Wake up
7:30 - 8:30 Brisk walk (I escort my husband to his office and come back home)
8:30 - 12:00 News & job search: catching-up with news and blogs on software development and management (mostly, via Feedly) or perform job search activities, such as: searching for new connections on LinkedIn, writing emails to recruiters, filling in job applications forms, etc.
12:00 - 13:00 Workout in a gym & short daily yoga class (while working out in a gym I try to listen to various podcasts)
13:00 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 15:00 Listening to lectures (currently it’s Princeton University Algorithms course provided by Coursera or MIT Open Courseware Computer Science lectures)
15:00 - 18:30 Programming (I decided to learn Ruby, so now I’m implementing various classic algorithms, data structures and solve interesting coding challenges using Ruby)
I will not say, that all days are the same, the energy level is high and I wish to do all these activities instead of procrastinating on the internet or doing something else.
But when these days come, I go out to work in some public place: either lounge areas in my building or some coffee shop in a neighborhood. This helps to overcome laziness and to stay focused on a task.
In addition to this agenda, at least twice a month I attend different Agile, Project Management, Software Development Management and similar meet-ups and gatherings in Seattle. From time to time my agenda changes because of webinars I chose to listen online.
I tried to achieve two main goals while planning my time:
- Make the day as similar to ordinary work day as possible
- Perform only professionally valid activities during daytime
With such agenda I feel that I do not waste my time and I am no longer afraid of the question “So what do you do all day long (if you are not working)?”.
Although I am happy with my unemployment days, I’d rather found a job sooner to fill my 16 hours of personal time with actual work.