Have you ever wondered what a typical day looks like for the Wealthy Accountant? Like most people, I have a routine that varies as personal matters dictate around a framework I prefer to follow. It is interesting to see how other people work. How they structure their day to get stuff done helps us decide how we want to compose our day.
Before we start I want to point out my typical day isn’t exactly what I do each day. The pattern I follow changes over time as I evolve. As I complete one project or start another, determines a large part of how I organize my time. Tax season is a different schedule than the remainder of the year. Even the seasons affect my work patterns. I tend to stay in bed later in the autumn than during the other seasons.
Many years ago I met a science fiction author, Mike Resnick, who did his writing late at night. He would start writing at midnight for three or four hours before going to bed. In the morning his wife would proof read the prior evening’s work and add suggestions. It worked for him. I decided this must be an awesome way to get the creative juices flowing. The experiment lasted exactly one night. What works for him did not work for me. That is the lesson before we start. Learn from example, but don’t copy. I have found what works for me. You will be different. Stephen King sits his tail in a chair each morning until 2,000 words of draft are out; it usually takes him until early afternoon. After writing, King goes for a long walk. The styles are endless. King’s style only works if it fits your schedule and personality.
It is fun taking a peek into a person’s life. It is natural to think what they do will work for us. It rarely does. Examples are just that, examples. My life is far from perfect. I venture most people would be shocked at my life if they stepped into my shoes for real. You can say the same. Over time we create rituals which are insane to the outside world. Our worldview, and life experiences, determines how we choreograph our life.
6:00 a.m. Sometimes I get out of bed at 4 in the morning, but normally it is between 5 and 6. During the autumn I stay in bed closer to 6, while 5 o’clock in more typical the rest of the year. In high school I milked cows before school so I got up every day at 3:30. Yeah, I still have nightmares.
The steers are gone, but a flock of chickens still grace the barn. I used to always take care of the animals. Now Mrs. Accountant decided to take over the job. I do the heavy work; she gathers the eggs and fills the water tanks and food trough.
Since barn work is not part of my morning ritual most days at this time, I start my day by either editing the previous night’s writing or continuing the previous night’s work. Today I am late so it will be afternoon before I publish.
Mrs. Accountant prepares my breakfast while I write. Most mornings are an egg dish in a wrap; other days are regular oatmeal and protein powder in a bottle. I’ll share the oatmeal story another day.
If time allows I go for a walk or read.
9:00 a.m. Since this blog started I check the stats and revenue before I head to the office. I am sitting at my desk by 9 or so.
Phone messages and emails occupy my morning. Prioritizing the emails is a must as over 300 show up each day in five different accounts. No more than an hour is allowed for emails.
If I did not get a chance at home, I open a book and read for 30 minutes. Many times I am reviewing Seneca or Marcus Aurelius, other times I read business books.
10:30 a.m. Mid-morning I work on client accounts and meet with clients. Depending on a client’s needs I make phone calls all day, sometimes into the evening and weekend.
Noon: I read while I take lunch. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I go to the gym in the early afternoon for a workout. Tuesday and Thursday I go for a walk or jog. One day each weekend I don’t do any formal exercise to give my body a break. The other days I jog.
Afternoons: Once lunch and the gym or walk is finished, I spend the afternoon working with clients. Phone calls are a big part of the afternoon.
5:00 p.m. I go home most days before 5, except during tax season when I live at the office. If my schedule is tight I may go to the gym at this time if I didn’t earlier.
Mrs. Accountant has dinner waiting for me when I get home; I read while I eat. I spend time with family after dinner.
8:00 p.m. By 8 o’clock I start writing or reading and continue until 11 or midnight.
Weekends, Holidays, Days Working at Home, Days Off
My typical day at home is pretty simple. I get up a bit earlier when I stay home and take a short nap (20 minutes) after lunch. I spend more time writing and reading on these days. Working from home starts at 10:30 a.m. and extends later into the evening. Before 10:30 is either family or reading time. I always have projects in process in the barn and garage.
At home, without road time I can focus on writing. Reading and writing are by far my favorite activities. The nice thing about working from home is I can call clients when they are available without filling in time at the office between calls. The best day is a productive day. Then there are days I do not want to talk about.
Only work phone calls and emails come home with me. Unless I need to use a really old computer to prepare tax returns from the 1990s or before, I always do that work at the office where security is tight. Phone calls from home are on my cell which leads to problems. People think my cell is the office phone or a direct line. So when I call from home I use *67 now to keep my number private.
Crazy Things I Do
Work habits differ amongst professionals. I have a favorite spot to read and write in the living room. I wear noise cancelling headphones contractors wear as a way of closing the door when I work at home. The kids can watch TV or talk without a problem then. My favorite corner of the couch is always covered in books and research material.
Normal people sit in a chair and relax when they read or write. Not me. With rare exception, I sit on the floor with the laptop on the seat of the couch as I peck away at a blog post. If I am reading I sit the same way for a while and then I am up and walking while I read. Sometimes I end up outside walking around with a book. If I sit too long, like a normal person, I dose off.
Personal projects are a great joy to me and the talk of the neighborhood. I built portable trombe walls for the SW corner of my home to cut the wind in the winter. They are stored in the barn over the summer. There is always something that interests me. As long as it doesn’t blow up I’m good to go.
Habits I Should Break
Starting a new blog is a sickness. Watching Google Analytics and the few monetizing resources on the blog is a time-sucking sickness. Previous blogs have taught me watching the numbers don’t change them. I’ll outgrow it. The time wasted watching numbers would be better spent reading other personal finance blogs and networking with those bloggers.
There is no such thing as normal. Normal is what works for you. My sleep patterns are all over the place. I might be up in the middle of the night reading and sleeping in the afternoon. My typical day is more a wish list than actual life for me.
As a business owner everything is work related. I live my business because it is what I want to do. I focus on family and family is a part of my business life. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have a family. Mrs. Accountant travels with me to most conferences and even local events. The junior accountants have daddy time every day. It’s important. I have two awesome daughters. They turned out well. Mrs. Accountant had to talk me into having kids because I always thought I would be a terrible daddy. Maybe I did okay. Mrs. Accountant did all the heavy lifting, however.
Now it is time to turn out the lights; morning comes fast in these parts. Tomorrow morning I will edit and then you can read.
And there is only one thing more pleasant than reading: writing.