Company Shutdown (Early FI Schedule)

levin

My company is issuing a mandatory shutdown during the next two weeks. Offices across the globe will be closed, and operations will come to a screeching halt (for once). Since I haven’t had much of a vacation this year, this is just fine in my book! As a matter of fact, I am so burned out right now, I would even volunteer to take two weeks off with no pay, had this mandatory shutdown not been imposed. That’s how bad I want to get away from the office!

Early FI Week

This is the longest time off I’ve had in a number of years. With my desire to reach early financial independence now on the forefront of my day-to-day-thinking, I thought this new opportunity would provide a great window to try some experiments.

For the next week, I will be mapping out my daily schedule. This schedule provides a gateway into my current thinking on how I want to live my life in early FI. At the end of the week, I will provide an update on the outcome of this experiment. This “early-FI trial” will help me determine if things are actually ever as good as they might seem in your head. Specifically, I want to determine if my “ideal day” is really, in fact, my “ideal day”. Is there enough excitement? Will I be bored? Will I actually miss work (I’m 99.99999% sure this will not be the case)?

Monday and Tuesday are Christmas Eve and Christmas. I’ll be spending a lot of time with family, so decided that the day after Christmas would be a better day to start the early-FI experiment.

Wednesday

Here is my schedule for Wednesday, December 26:

5:30 AM: Wake Up

I’m trying to force myself to become a morning person. My plan is to wake up at 5:30 AM so that I can get an early start on the day. Upon waking, I will do some light stretching, and medication. This will help get the blood flowing, and ease my mind. After 20 minutes or so, I will fire up the computer and start reading the morning news. I’ll check out the pre-market opening headlines, and read/comment on some of my favorite blogs as well.

6:30 AM: Market Watch

Wall Street opens up at 6:30 AM. At this time, I will tune in and fire up my watchlists/wishlists. If any particular stock looks intriguing enough, I’ll log in to my brokerage account and place an order. Otherwise, I’ll probably just monitor for about 30 minutes or so, and read some Seeking Alpha articles to get me the most up-to-date news on the companies I follow.

7:30 AM: Eat a light breakfast

I will eat a light breakfast, probably some cereal and milk or an egg omelette with a banana. I’ll have a glass of orange juice or some hot water. I just need something quick and simple to get me prepared for my morning cardio. I don’t really enjoy doing cardio on a completely empty stomach, so I’ll try to get some carbohydrates and protein into my system. For this particular morning, I plan on doing a hike, so I need to fire up the car.

8:30 AM: Arrive at the Mountain

I arrive at the mountain at 8:30 AM. By this time, the sun is now fully set, yet there is enough mist in the air so that it still feels like the early morning. Most people don’t hike this trail so bright and early, so I should be able to do so in relative solitude, which is what I am going for. The complete hike from top to bottom is about 3 hours in duration, but I plan on making frequent stops. Stopping allows me to catch my breath and catch up on my thoughts. During the hike, I’ll think about: my future, early FI progress, investing goals, this blog, topics for future articles, relationships, and so many other things. But, I won’t allow work to enter my head. No, that topic is forbidden!

12:00 PM: Finish Hiking

The hike should only take 3 hours, but I am allowing myself some extra cushion, since I plan on moving at a slow pace. I want to enjoy my day, not rush through it. So, I’ll do my best to enjoy every step of the morning workout. I’ll stop to smell the roses, so to speak. I’ll admire nature and all of its beauty. And I’ll even look out into the distant skyline, which will give me a greater appreciation on how small and minuscule my life really is, in comparison. During the hike, I’ll fuel up on some cliff bars, or nutrigrain bars. I’ll sip on some Gatorade as well. Finally, I’ll arrive back to my car at 12:00 PM. I’ll feel reassured, knowing that even after a good time hiking, I still have a full day ahead of me! That’s awesome!

1:00 PM: Lunchtime

I’ll get back home, shower, and start preparing lunch. I keep my meals simple, so I’ll probably just have a grilled chicken sandwich with fresh veggies and some fruit. Normally, I would prefer to have some potato chips on the side, but I’m going to try and keep things a little more on the healthy side. After lunch, I’ll probably just surf on the internet for a little while again.

1:30 PM: Naptime 

The long hike and lunch have me feeling a little tired. Since the day is still so young, I figure now is a good time to get some rest. So, while the rest of the world is mostly slaving away in a cubicle or lab somewhere, I’m off to bed! I fall asleep quickly and easily since my body is so relaxed and my mind so carefree!

2:30 PM: Play Guitar

I emerge from my nap refreshed and amped up to do something! Since we are in the heart of winter, the weather outside usually isn’t too conductive to doing things outside. But that’s just fine with me. There are many indoor activities I like to do as well. So, I pick up my guitar and start warming up. I go through a list of songs, licks, and techniques I already know to get my loose. After about twenty minutes, I’m ready to learn something new. I’ll look for a new song/lick/technique to play on Youtube. I’ll even make time to work on ear training, and music theory. Now that I actually have time to play, I’ll be able to improve as a guitarist.

4:30 PM: Clean the Car

Next, I’ll spend some time cleaning the old ride. With my busy work schedule, I tend to neglect my car and not do a good job of taking care of it. I’ll clean the interior and wash the exterior. Then, I’ll rotate the tires and refill the air. I’ll change all the fluids, and recharge the backup battery. I need this ride to last me until I retire, so I’ll do my best to bring everything up to date.

6:30 PM: Dinner

Dinner will be something simple, like the rest of my meals. I usually just have some rice and protein with vegetables. Again, simple but still relatively healthy.

8:30 PM: Reading

After dinner, I’ll spend some time reading. I have a bunch of books that I’ve collected through the years, but never made time to actually read. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham is a good example of this. I’ve been meaning to start this for some time, so now is as good a time as any. My favorite novel is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I want to re-read this again, at some point as well.

10:30 PM: Down Time

I try to go to sleep by 11:00 PM, so that I can wake up early. Before calling it a day for good, I’ll probably spend some more time browsing the web, and checking e-mails. Nothing too strenuous. If I am able to do all the above, I am sure I’ll be able to say, “today was a good day.”

Thursday

Here is my schedule for Thursday, December 27:

5:30 AM: Wake Up

6:30 AM: Market Watch

7:30 AM: Eat a light breakfast

8:30 AM: Work on the Blog

Today, I have a bit more free time since I won’t be attempting a 3 hour hike. Instead of driving off to the mountain, I will start working on the blog at around 8:30 AM. This will consist or coming up with new topics and writing/revising articles.

11:30 PM: Light Jogging

I’ll do some light jogging around the neighborhood. This will get the blood flowing after sitting down for 3 hours and blogging. I’ve always enjoyed mixing in some physical exercise after spending a lot of time sitting still. Unfortunately, I’m seldom able to do this while working. For this week, I make my own rules!

1:00 PM: Lunchtime

1:30 PM: Naptime 

2:30 PM: Play Guitar

4:30 PM: Gym

Since I only engaged in light cardio this morning, I will have more energy to lift weights today. I’ll hit the gym and do some medium/heavy lifting.

6:30 PM: Dinner

8:30 PM: Reading

10:30 PM: Down Time

Friday

Here is my schedule for Friday, December 28:

5:30 AM: Wake Up

6:30 AM: Market Watch

7:30 AM: Eat a light breakfast

8:30 AM: Learn Home Repair

Today, I’ll shadow my uncle, who spends a lot of time repairing homes. He is currently working on a bathroom remodel project. Since I’m a new landlord, it would be a good idea for me to learn more about home repair. I’ll follow him for a day, and pick up some new tips along the way.

1:00 PM: Lunchtime

1:30 PM: Naptime 

2:30 PM: Play Guitar

4:30 PM: Date Night

The girl I am currently dating gets off of work pretty early. 4:30 PM is probably a good time to meetup and spend some time together. Since I’m frugal, we’ll probably keep things simple. Maybe watch a movie, or walk around the park or something.

6:30 PM: Dinner

8:30 PM: Band Practice

My friends and I are attempting to play in a band again. No, not any live shows. Just for fun, in a garage band kind of setting. It’s another cheap hobby that gets a lot of return on investment. It’s also a great way to socialize with friends.

10:30 PM: Down Time

Summary

I’m really looking forward to the time away from work over the next two weeks. I have plenty of hobbies and activities to keep me entertained and fulfilled. This is an early schedule of what I hope to accomplish next week. I’m really big on self-improvement stuff. So, all the: reading, playing music, cardio, weight lifting, etc. are the things I most look forward to doing in early FI. On paper, this looks like the perfect life for me! I am very certain that the reality of doing these things will be even more awesome than I anticipated. But, we’ll find out soon enough.

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Highyieldsoldier
Guest

Good luck on your time off, seems you have busy days scheduled:} Dont overdo it. I like days where I have nothing at all planned, because I am sometimes a lazy slob. Is the time off at work normal thing, or a bad sign of business declining?

Executioner
Guest

Wow, you lost me at the 5:30 AM wakeup. My goal in life is to never set an alarm in the morning, workdays included. If you’re not already a morning person, why force yourself to be one?

By the way, the 6:30 AM Wall Street opening just seems weird to me. I guess you sort of have to be a morning person to follow the market open if you live on the west coast.

Executioner
Guest

I have to say, though, the hike sounds like a lot of fun. Nice that you have that so close by that it won’t take you long to drive there.

Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin
Guest

Nice schedule. You should take pics during your hike and post them I’ve never been west of Arizona it would be interesting to see some of the geography out that way.

Pauline
Guest

Nice idea! I hated company shutdowns as they imposed the dates that I had to take my holidays, but it looks like a cool experiment for you. I enjoy early mornings too, even though I am not a morning person, I get so much done by 10am I can enjoy the rest of the day free

Progress Trap
Guest

This is a really good idea – defining your perfect day and see if you can make it happen. I do have a fear that if I had a completely open schedule, I’d lack the discipline to reach my goals. It’s almost scarier to stick to your own schedule than the usual passive schedule: eat breakfast, drive to work, do some stuff someone else tells you to do, drive home, try to unwind, eat dinner, etc.

Just a thought – it may be helpful to actually schedule some unscheduled time where you can do whatever you want (not just the late night down time you have in there). I think it would help to allow yourself to be spontaneous.

Dividend Mantra
Guest

FI Fighter,

You are certainly more ambitious than me, my friend. A 5:30 a.m. alarm clock sounds like pure torture to me. In fact, one of the biggest reasons I’m marching down the path to FI is so that I can permanently throw away my alarm clock. I despise waking up so early as it is, and that’s only at about 6:15 a.m. Of course, I’m more of a night owl….so that’s just just me.

I’m highly interested in what my “ideal day” will look like once everyday is a Saturday (or Sunday). I think I’ll put something like this together once I’m closer and have a great chance to to really give it a go.

Have fun on your extended break! I’m actually in Michigan right now, visiting family. I took the week off and do not go back to work until the 31st. I, like you, was extremely burned out. I was going out of my mind, so this holiday break is wonderful.

Best wishes!

Dividend Growth Investor
Guest

I read through your schedule, and thought it reminded me of Ben Franklin’s schedule:

http://www.mymoneyblog.com/benjamin-franklins-daily-schedule.html

I myself usually find that I wake up at the same time with or without alarm.. Haha even of weekends.

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