Brian Parks


My New Schedule

During the week, I wake up at 5AM, hop in the shower, and then start working. I start off the day by checking and responding to any emails and Slack messages from the previous workday. I don't worry about whether someone is online to receive any Slack messages I send (I wasn't online when they sent them, and I treat Slack as an asynchronous form of communication like a short-form less-formal version of email); I assume they will respond when they get back online.

After responding to messages, I focus on whatever my project for the morning is for a good solid hour to hour and a half.

Around 7AM, I make breakfast, and, since it's a healthy breakfast smoothie thing, I take it back to my home office with me. If I'm going into the office on a given day, this is when I commute in; in either case I'm back at work around 7:15AM. I continue working on my "morning" project until about 9AM.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the day shifts to meeting/interruptible time. The number and frequency of meetings can vary depending on the week, but I don't plan or expect to get any focused ("deep") work done during this time. On Tuesdays and (many) Thursdays, this time is another continuous block of uninterrupted "project" time.

Around 11:30AM, I check and respond to messages again, after which I sign off and eat lunch.

The afternoon is what I've termed "creative" time; it consists of various activities that I feel advance myself professionally, creatively, or personally. The activities during this time range from a short walk both to clear my head and a bit of exercise (though the recent snow and cold temperatures, plus some other prior engagements, made that difficult last week), reading whatever book I am in the middle of, playing music, or working on a side project.

At 5PM (at the latest), I start making dinner. After this point, with few exceptions (like writing this blog post), I don't use a computer (other than maybe the occasional glance at my watch or using my phone to play some YouTube videos).

After about 6PM, Sara and I both switch to reading. I read for about an hour and a half, and around 7:30 or 8 PM, I switch to "winding down" mode, which means watching a few YouTube videos, the content of which ranges from fishing/crabbing to music (as in theory, not "music videos"), to code or engineering-related topics.

WIth this schedule, I'm able to focus deeply on several different activities and still be able to go to bed by around 9PM (or shortly thereafter) and easily get at least 7 hours of sleep.

On the weekend, I sleep in and, aside from a few chores, the entire day is essentially "creative" time, plus the occasional weekend activity.

This schedule, so far, seems to work for me and I would encourage everyone to take control of their time and find a schedule that works for them (i.e. you may find my schedule also works for you, but it all depends on your circadian rhythms, your activities, and other aspects of your work and workday). Don't try to adopt my schedule simply because I do it; find the schedule that works for you.

Time is your most valuable asset. Take control of it, don't waste it, and certainly don't let anyone else waste it!