Ask the Readers: Do You Need to Follow a Set Schedule or Routine?

by FI Fighter on April 4, 2016

in Ask the Readers

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When it comes to early FI, advocates of this type of lifestyle are typically those who you would also find more likely to: travel the globe, live nomadically, experiment with eclectic hobbies, and basically live a life that is anathema to the typical 9-5 structure that proliferates throughout the corporate workplace. In essence, it takes a sort of radical shift in thinking to embrace something that runs so drastically dissonant to the mainstream school of thought… something that has never been inculcated into our belief system. That is, unless you were kind of just born this way and have the audacity to challenge societal norms and their way of doing things.

These days, early FI has definitely gained momentum, as evident by the growing legion of followers and wonderful new blogs that are popping up every year. For myself, I really don’t feel like I’m doing anything unusual, and I’m now very much living the life that I always knew deep down that I wanted. But then again, I’ve always been the type of person who is comfortable living in their own skin and more than willing to march to the beat of my own drum, regardless of what anyone else is doing.

The early FI way of life simply works for me — Screw the rules!

Since I’m “only” 31, I feel like I checked out of the grind at just about the right time… In the past, I’ve talked about my own fears of becoming institutionalized, or dependent on “The Matrix”. In other words, if you spend far too much time getting used to something, over a long enough period of time, not only do you no longer dislike it, you grow to depend on it. That dependency, or “forced structure” is something that I’ve always vehemently opposed. For as far back as I can recall, I’ve been confined to the rules and regulations of others since I entered kindergarten as a young boy, and I very much stayed indoctrinated until I finally checked out of the rat race for good, most recently.

That’s a span of 25+ years drinking someone else’s kool aid!

And if you do allow me the chance to tune out the noise and peel back this onion, what I’m left finding is that I’m very much a person who hates the mundane, predictable life. It’s no wonder why I felt so bottled up and trapped in my previous life… That’s a long, long time to endure repression for, especially for someone who wasn’t cut out to play this type of game.

Now, I’m finally able to exist in my own “natural” state. This pretty much means: no fixed schedules.

For instance, I might wake up one morning and feel the urge to go jogging. If so, I’ll go and do that… Sometimes, I prefer to sleep in… No problem. For the times when I’m feeling really motivated and want to be productive, I’ll read a book, or write a blog post (like right now). When it comes to writing articles, recording podcasts, etc., I mean I try to be consistent with it, but if you’re going to force me into a regular routine, to be honest, I’m going to very much start to feel trapped again…

I just do not do well with set schedules and routines in my life.

Even when it comes to sleeping patterns, I don’t have one… Some days, I’ll sleep at 10:00 PM. Other times, I might be watching a movie or blogging until past midnight. My body feels most at ease, or loose, when I’m not commanding it.

Outside of the early FI community, you can probably understand why these type of thoughts aren’t things that I can openly share with anyone else… Can you imagine what my old bosses or co-workers would think? Everything that I’m describing is the antithesis of a well-run, efficient workplace environment.

So, I’m very much an outlier… Or so I used to think…

 

But am I really?

 

You know, prior to starting this blog and running into so many other like-minded individuals, I never really would have known that there were so many other unhappy worker bees out there besides myself… Quite truthfully, it was a revelation for me to stumble into this community, one that I’m so thankful to be a part of. However, having been around other engineers for almost a decade, I must say, my views are sort of still distorted at this point… It will take some time to filter out much of the “brainwashing” that I’ve been force fed for so long.

Anyway, back on topic — Most everyone I used to work with on a daily basis seemed to follow and embrace an extremely disciplined routine and schedule. I only did so out of necessity, but I had to suppress my own natural instincts greatly throughout my entire working career.

 

When it comes to routines and schedules, what are your thoughts?

 

Please share below! 🙂

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Income SurferNo Gravatar April 4, 2016 at 7:04 am

Haha Fighter, I need my routine….even without a day job. We’re off on our extended roadtrip, but when we get back home…..I’ll get back to my routine. When I’m in one that works for my body/mind, it feels really good. I haven’t used an alarm clock in about 5 years…..I just wake up rested and refreshed. I like to volunteer a couple days a week, to be sure and get out of the house. I do almost all of my writing and research in the morning…..which is when I’m most productive……and it leaves the afternoon to spend with the family. I also have gotten in the habit to reading while the Little Man is going down for a nap. It’s nice to lay by him and read while he is falling asleep. Ah, sigh

I hope you have a great week buddy. I’ll get in touch later today
-Bryan

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2 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 4, 2016 at 7:18 am

Bryan,

Rise and shine bud! I’m up unusually early this morning, which is fitting for today’s post.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can definitely see how having a routine makes life easier to manage, and for most people, it does increase productivity. It’s just not well suited for me.

Granted, I don’t yet have kids, and I’m sure that would alter things greatly.

Glad you’re enjoying the trip and feel relaxed and refreshed. These are the times we live for.

Take care!

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3 NewbieNo Gravatar April 4, 2016 at 8:59 am

hey there. love the analogy with the Matrix and ‘forced structure’. Like you, I’ve also been saving like a madman these last 5 years, focusing on rental properties (maybe time to diversity , though). I am not an engineer . I got my MBA and have worked in quite a few industries. I also felt a certain indoctrination back to high school (like, why in the hell did I join the school chess team, to get the crappy status badge on my uniform… in return for doing stuff I hated). Lately, the insane hours + weekend work, the hunger games environment, the jaded faces, the conference calls at 10pm every few nights a week, and a controlling boss with bi polar tendencies. Yep, Ive been plugged into the matrix structure. In the last few weeks I guess I started to wonder about “retiring” . I was wondering what early retirement could look like. There’s been no concept of it, in my social circule. I found a few FI blogs helping to clarify FI, helping connect me to “fighters” like yourself. it’s a bit like discovering the Oracle in the Matrix. Thanks for that! By the way, I fully relate to the underdog role. the clarity that an engineering background brings to the topic is refreshing. cheers.

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4 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 4, 2016 at 5:57 pm

Newbie,

Thanks for commenting! I hear you on the hectic schedule and long hours, I still remember those days, although not fondly.

For many of us, early FI is the salvation and ticket out of the system. It takes some time, but it’s worth the effort. When the time comes, and maybe you don’t want to check out b/c the “steak tastes so good” it’ll be your choice.

So, win, win.

All the best!

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5 Midwestern LandlordNo Gravatar April 4, 2016 at 9:24 am

Jay,

I think one of the key advantages of becoming FI is not having to adhere to a set routine or schedule. I find myself all over the map. Sometimes I sleep in late and other times I get up early. Sometimes I am productive and other times I am not. Sometimes I have a planned agenda and other times I do not. And if things don’t get done that day it is OK, there is always tomorrow. It is the beauty of being your own boss. And I believe, it keeps one from getting run down because you can back off the pedal at any time, whereas if you work for the man you have to keep going even if the work seems unnecessary or you need a break.

I would embrace differing schedules and routines. You have earned the right to do so. It is all about flexibility which is what we really want. The boss now is looking right at you in the mirror. That is the only person that can judge now.

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6 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Midwestern Landlord,

Very nicely stated! I agree with every word and my thoughts are exactly aligned. With FI you run at your own pace and can stop anytime. There are no bosses, clients, or anyone else to disappoint.

Right now, I’m really enjoying freelancing. I submit as many or as few articles as I want in a given day, or week. If I don’t feel like writing, I’ll go do something else. To me, that’s priceless.

Cheers!

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7 TawcanNo Gravatar April 4, 2016 at 12:05 pm

It really depends. I need my routines here and there but I also don’t like to set a schedule. It really depends what I’m doing. 🙂

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8 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 4, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Tawcan,

Yeah, it does depend. For instance, if I’m playing in a sports league or garage band, well, then I would push hard for a schedule otherwise we would never build rapport or consistency… But I’ve also been in those situations where too much schedule creates tension and stress, exactly like how works does…

So, it’s all about balance, as always in life. The problem with corporate is almost none of us have the option of pushing back and negotiating a more balance/flexible schedule. It’s on an employer’s dime so they’ll always demand maximum productivity and effort from you.

It’s just how things are… If you want out, you gotta fight for FI.

Take care!

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9 JC @ Passive-Income-PursuitNo Gravatar April 4, 2016 at 5:29 pm

When I had my taste of FI I kind of did a combination of both. The general outline of my day was the same most days but for the time that I allotted as free time I would vary my activities a lot. It could be reading one day, or working something around the house, starting my blog/writing.

It’s always interesting to see the differences between people though regarding routines/structure or winging it. Whenever my wife and I travel as just the two of us we’re very laid back. Usually we’ll come up with a list of certain things we want to do at our destination and a rough guideline of what days to do them usually 2-3 things each day but there’s not a real structure to our adventures. But when we travel with family there’s some family members that are extremely structured type A personalities that will have the whole day planned out. The differences are so funny.

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10 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 4, 2016 at 6:05 pm

JC,

Haha, yeah traveling can be super tough if you’re with the wrong crowd. When I went to Japan, I enjoyed every moment of it b/c it was just me, myself, and I, going about things unscripted. When I got to Rome, I met up with my brother and some of his friends. Although it was still tons of fun, the dynamic was different and I had to adjust to whatever other people wanted. If everyone is laid back, it usually goes well… But we all have friends and family who always have to have their way… I don’t travel with those people anymore 😉

Take care!

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11 George @ ProperlyNo Gravatar April 7, 2016 at 3:22 pm

When I worked a corporate job, I hated having a set schedule so when I left that job to pursue my own business, I decided to not set a schedule at all.

How did it work out? I actually found that I did need some sort of a schedule to be more productive. Nothing rigid like every task laid out for each hour but planning for what I needed to get down each day and how much time to spend on each task helped me a lot.

So here I was going from hating schedules to not being productive without them. I’m still working on finding a spot in the middle that is optimal.

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