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A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about what my typical day looked like when I was living by myself in DC.
Some of you have asked how I find the time to blog while working a full-time job and taking care of a toddler.
Instead of giving a general answer to that great question, I will document what I usually do in a day.
In this post, you will get a closer look at how I manage to publish three posts a week and be active on multiple social media platforms while holding an 8-5 job.
6:15 AM – Get up
My cell phone does its duty of ringing like there’s no tomorrow to wake me up. I drag myself out of bed and into the bathroom.
I tie my hair back into a ponytail and start performing the usual routine (i.e. washing my face, brushing my teeth, putting on contact lenses, applying moisturizer).
6:40 AM – Get dressed
Time to get dressed. Depending on my mood and the weather, I will choose my outfit accordingly.
Sometimes I feel girly and want to wear a nice dress. Sometimes I just don’t care what people think or how I look, so I pick out a top and match it with a skirt or a pair of pants.
I don’t have a huge collection of clothes, so it saves me a lot of time in choosing what I want to wear.
The maximum amount of time I allow myself to spend on selecting an outfit is five minutes. After that, I tend to get anxious and worried about missing the train and being late for work.
6:45 AM – Wake Baby FAF up
Time to wake Baby FAF up. I get a wet towel and wash Baby FAF’s face when he’s still sound asleep. Calling his name alone is not enough to get him to open his eyes. I change his diaper and outfit for him to go to school.
6:50 AM – Eat Breakfast
We all head to kitchen to prepare and have breakfast. I heat up some milk for myself and usually eat some bread or a croissant for breakfast.
I prepare milk, cereal, a boiled egg, and some bread for Baby FAF. Depending on his mood, Baby FAF will pick what he wants to eat that day. I also put the lunches I packed the previous day for Mr. FAF, Baby FAF, and myself in our respective lunch bags.
7:15 AM – Go to work
We finish our breakfast. I do a quick cleanup. I then take Baby FAF to an in-home daycare near our house and walk to the Metro. Mr. FAF heads out to work in his car.
While walking to the metro, I usually listen to podcasts such as Smart Passive Income, Bigger Pockets, and the Dave Ramsey Show. When I want to listen to something light, I turn to music. Some of my favorite songs are Beautiful by Mariah Carey, Sweet Dreams by Beyonce, and Cheap Thrills by Sia.
7:30 AM – Arrive at the Metro
I arrive at the Metro. Sometimes I hop on the train just in time for it to leave the station. Sometimes I have to wait for 8 minutes for the next train to arrive. However, once I set foot on the platform, I will turn off the music and read the new personal finance (PF) posts of the day.
I have a handwritten list of the PF blogs that I want to check out early in the day. I usually skim through and comment on about 5-6 posts during the 20-minute train ride.
7:50 AM – Arrive at the new Metro
I arrive at the Metro near my office. I don’t want to walk and read posts at the same time. It’s doable but a bit dangerous at the crowded Metro station. You never know when the train is coming or whether you will pump into someone if you’re not paying attention.
8:00 AM – Arrive at office
I arrive at the office. The first thing I do is turn on the computer. I then go to the restroom to check my outfit and wash my hands to get rid of all the germs I’ve accidentally carried from the Metro.
After that, I go to the kitchen to get myself two hot cups of water. My colleagues always ask me why I don’t drink tea, coffee or cold water. They’re also puzzled as to why I always get two cups instead of one.
The short answer is I want to stay away from caffeine. And according to Asian medicine (culture?), drinking hot water is better for your stomach than cold water. I have a chronic digestive problem, so I want to treat my stomach in the best way I can.
It always amazes me how my colleagues drink iced water even when it’s freezing outside in the winter. I know for a fact that I’d get a sore throat the very next day if I did that.
I get two cups of water also because I drink a lot of water in the morning. I’m just too lazy to get up for a second cup. Two is better than one.
11:30 AM – Lunch time
I go to the kitchen to heat up my lunch. I try to eat before noon. Noon is when the kitchen gets crowded although there are two microwaves. Sometimes I have to wait in line for 10 minutes to microwave something for 3 minutes.
I usually check my blog-related email and Twitter while eating. I also try to squeeze in some post reading for the day or check the news during lunch.
12:00 PM – Start working again
5:00 PM – Leave the office
I make my way to the Metro again while listening to the music. I just can’t wait to get home with my family after living far away from them for so long!
5:50 PM – Pick up Baby FAF
Picking up Baby FAF is the highlight of my day. I love to see his happy and excited baby face when he sees me at the door. Baby FAF always gives me a huge hug and a big smile to welcome me back from work.
6:00 PM – Arrive at home
When I get home, my MIL is in the kitchen cooking. I go to change while Baby FAF is playing with his toys. I usually go to the kitchen to help my MIL finish cooking dinner. I then get the bowls and chopsticks and start loading the rice for everyone.
6:30 PM – Dinner time
I’m usually in charge of feeding Baby FAF, a task that takes me almost two hours every day on weekdays. Baby FAF is two and a half, but he can barely feed himself.
If we just leave him with his food, he will just eat a little bit and want to go play with his toys. I have to spoon-feed him while he’s watching cartoons or the alphabet songs on Youtube. We’ve been wanting to wean him off of electronic devices, but it’s been a challenge.
I finish eating and start to pack lunch for the next day. I also start cleaning up the kitchen, the dining table, and doing the dishes. I do all of that while continuing to feed Baby FAF.
After dinner, Mr. FAF and my MIL usually go for a walk for about 30-45 minutes in the neighborhood. My MIL doesn’t have a lot of friends where we live, so Mr. FAF wants to spend time with her to keep her company.
8:15 PM – Shower time for Baby FAF
Baby FAF is finally done with his dinner and dessert (usually fresh fruit). I take him to the bathroom to brush his teeth and give him a shower.
8:40 PM – Shower time for me
I hop into the shower and wash off all of my worries and stress during the day. My relaxing evening won’t start until I’m done with two big tasks: (1) feeding Baby FAF and (2) taking a shower.
9:30 PM – Family time
After everyone is done with their shower, Mr. FAF and I like to talk to each other and play with Baby FAF. Sometimes I will start blogging at 9 and watch Baby FAF play with his toys while Mr. FAF talks to my MIL.
We recently started showing Baby FAF how to write and recognize the alphabet and numbers 1-20. He really enjoys it for the first 10 minutes or so of the practice.
These days, my MIL usually watches her Chinese movies while Mr. FAF reads the news online, watches his favorite TV shows, or works on his code. Baby FAF likes running around the house and hangs out with each of us for a little while.
10:00 PM – Bed time for Baby FAF
My MIL helps put Baby FAF to bed. I will continue blogging while Mr. FAF watches soccer online or does his work.
10:30 PM – Bed time for Mr. FAF
Mr. FAF usually goes to bed before me.
12:00 AM – Bed time for me
I used to go to bed at 10:30 PM and get up at 6:30 AM (~ 8 hours of sleep) when I lived by myself. But now that our family is reunited, family duties take up a large chunk of my free time. I can’t technically add more hours to a day, but I can make my work time last longer by going to bed later.
I know lacking sleep might have a bad impact on my long-term health. Yet, I have no choice but to sleep less in order to keep my blog going at the rate that I want. Sometimes I go to bed at 1 AM depending on how much blog-related work I want to get done for the day.
My activities on the weekends vary depending on whether we hang out with friends or if there are interesting activities in DC that we want to go to.
I usually help my MIL cook on the weekends. I also do the dishes, feed Baby FAF, clean the house, and do laundry. I try to blog early in the morning, when everyone is taking a nap in the afternoon, and when everyone is sleeping at night.
7:30 AM – Get up
I get up, eat breakfast, and feed Baby FAF breakfast
8:15 AM – Go for a walk with Baby FAF
I take Baby FAF for a walk in the community. He likes certain areas of our neighborhood such as the playground and wants to stay there for a while.
9:00 AM – Get home from the walk
After we get home from the walk, Baby FAF starts playing with his toys. Mr. FAF and my MIL go grocery shopping while I blog and watch Baby FAF at home.
11:00 AM – Time to cook lunch
I start making lunch while watching Baby FAF. Our family used to go grocery shopping together, but we got hungry afterwards and always ended up eating out. We decided that I would stay at home to prepare food for everyone.
12:00 PM – Lunch time
I start eating lunch while feeding Baby FAF. Mr. FAF and my MIL will have lunch when they get home.
1:00 PM – Cleanup
I start doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen while feeding Baby FAF.
1:30 PM – Blog time
Baby FAF usually gets up late on the weekends, so he takes a nap when he feels sleepy in the afternoon. I’ve tried to put him to bed a couple of times before, but it didn’t work.
I start blogging at 1:30 while watching Baby FAF. He usually starts his afternoon nap at 2:30 or 3. I will then do the laundry.
4:30 PM – Making dinner
It’s time to make dinner. I’m learning how to cook from my MIL and always help out in the kitchen on the weekends. If we finish making dinner early, I will start cleaning the house. If not, I usually do it after dinner.
6:00 PM – Dinner time
The rest of the evening looks like that on weekdays. We usually squeeze in an-hour family trip to Costco, the nearby mall or the grocery store. I can normally get 2-3 hours of blogging at night.
With Baby FAF and Mr. FAF back at home in DC, I’ve found my free time cut short by a couple of hours a day. While it’s tempting for me to spend less time on my blog, I want to challenge myself to keep at it.
Staying up late makes me feel tired during the day. But seeing the readers’ amazing feedback and the increased blog traffic on my site reminds me that hard work does pay off and that I just need to keep moving forward.
As you can see, there is nothing glorious about my life as a personal finance blogger. To some people, it might sound a bit boring, and I do feel that way sometimes.
But I always have to remind myself that this is the family life Mr. FAF and I have been fighting for for the past 3.5 years. It’s not glamorous, but it makes us happy and gives us strength every single day.
How about you? What does your typical day look like? Sometimes I try to improve my efficiency in doing housework, but it usually takes longer than I’d like. Do you have any tips on how to do housework quickly?