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Discussion on: Full-time, side projects, learning, and staying sane

danielkiedrowski profile image
Daniel Kiedrowski

Really good post! Thank you. And I agree 100%. Especially, till I had the same life before and figured out the same rules helping me. It works!

Two things made a big difference for me:

  1. wake up at 5AM and go to bed at 11PM as consistently as possible. Waking up at 5 PM gives me a solid 3-4 hours (depending on whether I don’t or do remote work this day) ! This additional time I currently use to learn a new language for one hour and work on my side project(s). After work there is still enough time to have some quality time with my friends or girlfriend or go to the gym.

  2. don’t work from a todo list. The internet says there is a study that 41% of all items written on todo lists get never done. I haven’t checked and it is not really my key point here. A todo list tells you what you think you need to do, but not when. A Calendar does. Having a long todo list for me, started making the feeling of having not enough time even worse. So what I do now: I use the todo list as a tool to clear my mind of reoccurring thoughts. To ease my anxiety that I might forget something important. And then I use my calendar to plan out my week. I use time slots and plan the time from 5AM to 11 PM for each day of the next week on Sunday. Weekends are not planned. This helps me to calm this feeling of not having enough time, because the calendar clearly shows me what is possible in the coming week and gives me the feeling that every aspect of my life will get touched during the week.

that__anna profile image

Love the advice on number 2 but number 1 really does not apply to many people who are more productive and energetic at night. When left to my own devices without a schedule, I go to bed at sunrise and wake up in the afternoon. I am really happy and full of energy at around midnight. I feel ready to take on the world.

simoroshka profile image
Anna Simoroshka Author

It is amazing how different people's brains work! I am the opposite: not a morning person at all, and calendars give me huge anxiety because I can never stick to the time slots and it takes too much effort to constantly adjust. So todo lists are everything to me. I keep them short for the current stuff and stuck away the long lists of what I will have to do later. I gladly remove those 59% of things that I won't do (not everything HAS to be done).
But my partner is the same as you: he likes doing most of his work in the early morning and keeps his google calendar so full it gives me anxiety just to glance at it. :D

kevinhooke profile image
Kevin Hooke

I think the key for everyone to understand with these recommendation lists are to try a few different approaches (getting up early, working late, todo lists or no todo lists), and find what works for you. We're all different, and what works for one person (like getting up at 5am) would be the worst approach to get anything done at all for another person.