April 10, 2019

What does your daily routine look like?

Robert van Hoesel @robert

As independent entrepreneurs, we have very little natural structure. For many that might have been a main driver to go indie, but it also has it's drawbacks.

I've been struggling to build a routine and notice I schedule my work more around productive ups and downs (Apparently this is the Marie Kondo Approach than having a strict routine.

Which makes me wonder, what does a typical IH day look like? Is it structured? Strict? Early or late?

Eager to learn from yours!


  1. 3

    I don't have a routine that I stick to daily. Things are always a little bit different. But here's my best attempt to describe a typical day:

    1. Wake up naturally. I never set an alarm. Usually I'm awake between 6 and 8am, and I either get up immediately or lay in bed for an hour, resting or reading my phone.
    2. Get excited to go downstairs and work. I hop on my computer and immediately get pulled into responding to urgent-ish emails, Slack messages, DMs, etc.
    3. Once I regain some semblance of control, I look at my daily task list and try to organize it chronologically, then make sure to check my calendar. (I have a bad habit of missing meetings because I'm not used to living my life from a calendar.)
    4. Start working down my task list one item at a time. Attend any meetings I have. Occasionally get distracted or pulled into helping others with various things. Usually forget to eat lunch, or eat really late, or oder delivery.
    5. Late in the day, realize I have no chance of finishing all my tasks, and I reshuffle my tasks for the day/week accordingly. Then I either go do something fun or work all night.

    It's worth nothing that on Mondays I attempt to create a weekly task list, broken down by day. So every day when I wake up, my daily task list is more-or-less decided. The goal is to ensure things I'm doing every day connect to my weekly goals, and to ensure my weekly goals connect to my long-term goals.

    In the past I was a big stickler for only doing things when I had the energy to do them. Recently I've begun to appreciate exercising more discipline to do things when they need to get done, even if I'm not particularly excited to do them at that time. Otherwise I'm liable to procrastinate and mis-prioritize. I suppose it's trading away a bit of short-term happiness for long-term effectiveness.

    Anyway, this is a typical day for me!

  2. 3

    My morning routine is:
    Wake up at 4am
    Meditate for 10 min
    Journal for 10 min
    Work for 1.5 hours on the most important thing
    Go for a 15 min run
    Breakfasts and then start my day.

    It’s based on The Miracle Morning (great book!)

  3. 2

    I actually have a very regimented schedule and have for years, the only thing that changes is when I wake up, because I have poor discipline going to bed.

    But usually it works like this

    • wake up between 10am -12pm
    • work on Duolingo (currently learning spanish)
    • exercise 15-20 minutes (ab work, squats/pushups) while I listen to news podcasts
    • shower then grab a banana/cereal while I listen to podcasts
    • if I have a meeting or 2 (I schedule them all between 12-2:30pm). I stay home for the first part of the day.
    • if I don't have any meetings or calls head out to first coffeeshop about 11am or 1pm
    • either work straight for 8-9 hours at this coffeeshop or break in the middle for a quick lunch then go to coffeeshop 2
    • the last part of my day (3-8/9pm) is the most productive, thats when I get deep programming work done
    • head home, change, go to gym, go play 7v7 soccer or go for a run on my rest days (Monday or Wednesday nights)
    • make dinner, veg out in front of TV for a few hours
    • Duolingo again
    • usually go to bed about 3am, but these days since I'm heads down programming, I usually latch onto something I should leave for the next day and work on that till 3am-5am, when I force myself to go to bed

    I try to rest and stay away from work most weekends, but wind up doing some work on Saturday between 2pm - 8pm if there are no soccer games on tv.

    PS: I've been trying to get up early for 15 years, and by early I mean before 9am. I think I managed it less than 5 times in 2018 😂

    1. 2

      This actually comes really close to my current 'schedule', where there are days of 10-12 hours programming starting around 1-2pm and other more business oriented days with meetings, calls and emails, usually starting a bit earlier.

      Over a period of a month, do you have regular long cosign stretches, or more contained to some days together?

      1. 1

        wow Awesome, I thought I'd be super unique 😅

        I try very very very hard to make time in my day to at least have 4 hours uninterrupted just to work on code. So it usually works out really well to where I have pretty good stretches of time where I do just that, unless I have to do something else for a client or employer like product work with a PM, hiring interviews and writeups, documentation etc.

    2. 1

      I found a "simple" solution to getting up early: have a child.

      Since my son gets up usually between 5:30am and 6:30am, my day now starts early. I usually manage to be in bed by 11pm, having worked school hours, and then another couple after his bedtime.

      The 3am finish just doesn't work when you have a kid ...

  4. 2

    I suppose it depends from a person to person.

    Since I got a child, my day is more structured to optimize time I can spend with my family.

    I start early at 8am, go through my priorities for the day and then work with 30min focus time using Pomodoro timer.

    My big break starts around 1pm where my productivity usually falls down when I have launch and break for 1hr. At 2pm I start again and finish at 5pm.

    How do I cope with no focus or lack of motivation at certain time? I go on my to do list, look at the task and try to explain to myself why it is good to eat that frog first. :)

    1. 1

      I like that last part :)

      I have a bit of the seem but I also feel like I sometimes pick the less urgent and important but easier tasks in favor of more difficult but more impactful work. Any tricks on that?

      1. 1

        I do that sometimes too. If it makes me feel better and it is a short <10min task, I don't see anything wrong with it. Sometimes it gets you into flow to start shipping the hard tasks.

        Maybe you can use Eisenhower matrix and just see how important task makes you feel move forward more than others. :)

  5. 1

    My routine has been pretty irregular, as I'm still on the developing part of my product.

    2~3pm wake up
    4pm go out to buy food and eat
    5pm code until 11pm~2am, generally until I get tired
    11pm ~ 2am go out for a run, I enjoy running in the dawn, usually my mind is exploding with too much thinking and running is a way to slow down
    Then code until I get sleepy

    I'm trying to get a more balanced routine, sometimes I stay too many hours awake and It hurts my next days.

  6. 1

    With a family and a day job, my indie hackering happens from 4:30a-6:00a. It's not much time so I try and make those hours count.

    That means that during IH hours:

    • make a realistic todo list of no more than 3 or 4 tasks (better done the day before), prioritize, and attack the first thing on your list like it's the only one.
    • no social media (not many people on anyways) or any other media (news, etc.)
    • no food until after (I find clarity of mind if I don't have food in my stomach, especially first thing in the morning)

    I try to remember that some mornings aren't as productive as others even if I do the above and that's ok.

  7. 1

    Often up multiple times in the night (young kids)
    Up at 6am
    Prep kids for stuff until 9:30
    9:30 - 5pm work (though often with a nap or run in between that time somewhere, and sometimes I need to take kids to things)
    5-9pm - kids stuff
    9pm - 11pm - work/personal time

  8. 1

    Before kid: wake up at 8am, breakfast, work, work out mid day, work more, dinner, work on personal stuff, sleep.

    After kid: wake up at 6:30, change diapers, feed kid, clean, eat breakfast, work for an hour, feed kid lunch, play with kid, go for walk, play, change, watch kid, work for a few hours, bath kid, feed kid dinner, eat my own dinner, night routine, put kid to sleep, clean up, work for 2-3 hours until 11ish. Then decide how much I want to suffer the next day and either go to sleep or work until 12-1am, hit the sack. Repeat but super tired. I’ll likely drop dead in 10 years.

    1. 1

      I found that somewhere around 4-5 years old, the overwhelming time sink of having a kid started to level off. By that point, I'd become more efficient at the required tasks, and some of them (like diapers, and a lot of the house cleaning) went away.

      Of course, you can also have more kids ...

      1. 1

        That's the thing, as one grows up and another enters the picture, I'll probably run a negative time balance, haha.

  9. 1

    I always find that I can do work, and so my most important daily things are non-work related. Exercise being the main one, I've built myself a home gym and follow a program religiously - home gym keeps it quick and the program removes the cognitive load. Even if I have a great work day, my mood is more closely related to my physical activity... all in all, an hour a gives me productivity overdrive.

    1. 1

      I love this! I definitely aspire to build a home gym when space allows. What kind of setup do you have?

      Do you follow a strict schedule on when to start exercising or is it more routine based?

      1. 1

        I tend to exercise at around 1pm, but sometimes I get the urge for an early workout. My last-resort is a late-workout which sometimes happens on hectic days. Regardless, it gets done.

        Equipment-wise I have:

        • Adjustable dumbbells
        • Adjustable bench
        • Bands
        • Pullup-bar
        • Various kettlebells

        Might not seem like a lot, but it's enough to do the Athlean-X AX1 and AX2 programs (which I love).

        I recently made a stand for my dumbbells which I'm pretty proud of:


        In due course I'll buy an olympic-bar, plates and a power-rack. But I've pegged them as rewards for gaining traction with my product.