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Our daily routines

Jack and I (Paul) talk through how they’ve set up (and are continuing to tweak) their daily routines. Not just to get the most out of work and productivity but also to ensure they are enjoying their lives outside of work as much as possible too.

Above Board is more than just a digital privacy show

We may need to update the description of our podcast, as we talk about running Fathom (and the ins and outs of how we do it), much more than digital privacy. Yes, privacy is covered, but it’s only one part of the show.

The show is about the journey of starting and operating a small ethical business—in a world where Big Tech and corporations seem to dominate.

Paul’s daily routine

Not much has changed in my routine in the last 25 years since I’ve worked full-time.

  • I’ve always been a morning person, waking up early (without an alarm clock).
  • I’ve always valued sleep as the cornerstone of all other productivity (so that comes first, then everything else).
  • I’ve always enjoyed two shots of espresso with a touch of steamed soy or oat milk (made at home).
  • I’ve always valued deep, focused work above distractions or FOMO.
  • I’ve always worked from home (over 20 years) in a separate “home office” room.

The only thing that’s changed recently is that I’ve quit Twitter permanently instead of using it a little bit during work breaks. Which has been immensely helpful: it saves hours a week, but more importantly, it saves mental space of having to think about, “What’s happening on Twitter?”

I push any/all distractions out as much as possible, not due to JOMO, but due to a deep and burning hatred towards being interrupted by technology.

Jack’s daily routine

Starting from school, Jack’s attitude towards doing work was that he didn’t want to do it if he didn’t see the point in doing it. So he struggled with school assignments, not seeing the purpose in completing them.

This made him best-suited to work for himself and do work he truly wanted to do. Because when he’s able to harness a purpose in the work he needs to accomplish, he can have an excellent output.

He didn’t start to establish a routine until his work-life entered a phase of zero structure (i.e. working full-time with Fathom), as we didn’t have any regular meetings or calls or specific calendar events that were set in stone.

Both Jack and I can work whenever we want since we don’t have to personally watch servers (our infrastructure is set up to monitor this for us, or we pay a contractor to monitor them).

His routine used to be: wake up at 7 am with his kiddo and spend time together until 9 am, when he’d start work. From 9-3, he worked. But he wasn’t enjoying it, and it wasn’t working for both himself and his wife. He isn’t a morning person and hates getting up early. They were running on a routine that neither of them liked.

So he’s switched his routine up to be where he can sleep in (his wife is an early bird), then him being around for their child until 6 pm (so his wife can do other things), and then into deep and focused work mode until midnight until 2 am.

Jack is constantly experimenting with his routine, so this will likely change by the time we publish this episode.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all routine

As I said above, routines only work if they work for you (and your family, if applicable). If you’re a night owl, you can’t push yourself to be productive in the morning and vice versa.

The best part of working for yourself is you can typically have a bit more power over how you structure and schedule your day to take advantage of times when you can be more productive and focused.

We also need to remember that we can’t just be productive at all hours of all days since we’re not robots. Sometimes enough is enough.

Sometimes success is more about balancing life and work and not just an ever-growing MRR number.

Neither here nor there

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