Anna Post: A day in the life of an author and media personality
Today I woke up at 6:30 to feed the cat. Then snoozed until 7:05.
The first thing I did was make breakfast: steel cut oatmeal and earl grey tea.
My morning ritual includes making oatmeal (started the night before so it’s quick) and tea for me and my husband. Then I pack up my husband’s to go and read while I have my breakfast. Get dressed and tidy up anything left from the night before so I have a clean house to work in.
I started working at 9:10 am. Today was a client day, working onsite. When I work at home I usually start around the same time.
My biggest challenge was… Today, not much. Everything went pretty much as planned. In general, it’s making sure I stay focused each day. I do it, but it takes care and feeding, so to speak. I always thought I would be terrible at discipline when working on my own from home. I’ve found the best thing is to schedule something (preferably a meeting or coffee with someone) outside the house every day—or at least log some time working at the coffee shop up the road. It makes me focus my time before I go out, and I always feel motivated after meeting with someone else, no matter the topic, so that then drives the rest of my day.
I celebrated figuring out a process for the project I was working on. I was researching and analyzing potential business leads for my client, as well assessing their current digital presence and search results. Once I decided on the structure for how I wanted to write up my report, it was fun doing the research and filling in the blanks. Plus, I may get to take on the recommended actions as my next project for them.
What I love most about my work is strategizing how to organize and present information, especially creative content. I love that mix of bringing an underlying order to something that is itself rich and diverse and multifaceted.
My favorite part of the day was (at about 4:30 pm) when the light hit the magic golden hour. When that happens, especially on a Friday, I get hyper motivated. I love the way the light looks, and I want it to last. But I know it’s fleeting, so it makes me work extra hard while it’s still there. It’s like if I can squeeze just one more thing in, I can wrap up and get to walk outside while the sky is still all gorgeous and full of long rays of light. (Which I did!) It doesn’t hurt that the sun here sets across Lake Champlain and behind the Adirondacks.
Least favorite… I didn’t make it onto the treadmill. Winters here in Vermont are long and cold and dark and cold, and I’m not one for running in the cold. I’ve come to really miss the days I don’t have (make!) time for it.
I am so glad that I get to set my own schedule. I was more or less able to do that at my old job, and I really value ordering my day the way I want.
I wish I had more clients! But I’m still very new to working independently, so if I keep meeting new people, I know it will happen.
Something that surprised me was… Not one thing, but overall, since becoming self-employed I end the week having learned so much more than I started it with. That could be a lead, a sense of direction, a better understanding of something new I took on to do. There’s a deeper sense of urgency to “figure this out” now I’m on my own, so I think I pay much more attention to any gains (or set backs).
Did you have a plan for your day? Did it go as planned? I did, and it did—except for missing my run. I usually add and order tasks I want to accomplish the next day to a list on my phone’s notes app before bed.
I want to recognize my clients, for giving me the opportunity to work with them. We define ourselves so much by our work, and when I stepped away from a clearly defined and very public role to begin articulating a new one on my own, it was more bewildering than I realized to lose that sense of affiliation. As someone who hasn’t been without a job since high school, it has been an important lesson in how to define my sense of self and self worth. My current clients heard my new definition of profession, saw value in it, and offered me business. I am hugely grateful; not only for the work, but also for the validation that brings me.
How did you commute? I drove.
For lunch I picked up some butternut squash, roasted beets, and kielbasa with sauerkraut from the hot bar at the local co-op.
A personal activity I do just for myself is wooden jigsaw puzzles. I grew up doing really old ones, and we’d write our names in the box with the date we did it. Some of them date back to the fifties when my dad was a kid! The images were of oil paintings, and the piece shapes were crazy. Now there’s a new company that makes them, still with all kinds of famous paintings, and still with wild piece shapes. I’ve gotten some friends into it, and we trade around.
I most enjoyed spending time with my clients. They are super creative, interesting people.
For dinner I… Fail! I rarely ever say that about food, but the force was not with me Friday night. A friend bought tickets to a comedy show for my husband and me, and we figured we’d have a snack at the bar there and dinner after at a new restaurant upstairs from the club. The comedy was great, but the food in both cases was just awful.
My favorite technology that I used today is… Just the basics today—iPhone and laptop. Some days I spend a lot of time on the backend of WordPress, which I enjoy using.
I am inspired by flowers, gardens, the weather (good and bad).
Did you meditate? Did you exercise? I did not meditate, and I did not exercise.
One strategy I use to make my time more effective is listing and prioritizing what I want to accomplish each day.
I am passionate about things that make daily life beautiful and enjoyable such as cooking, baking, and gardening. I’ve studied as a master gardener, and am in the process of becoming a licensed home baker as a sort of super hobby (though the cumbersome method required for washing dishes sans an industrial sink may put me off it). I’ve also always been passionate about reading for pleasure, and after several dry years when I was too busy and burned out, I’ve very happily reconnected with reading daily.
Something I wanted to get done but didn’t get to do was running.
A dream I am currently focused on fulfilling is writing a solid business plan for a flower shop. Even if I decide to shelve it for the future, I want to have a clear picture of what it takes. I’ve gotten started on research, and add more every week. I plan to enroll in a ten-week business plan course this fall that is known locally for turning out proper, successful businesses.
I can’t live without my awesome cat, Toro.
Today I felt… Useful, satisfied.
I went to sleep at midnight? Not sure. I think I fell asleep reading.
Tomorrow I am looking forward to supper! A close friend who is an outstanding chef is making roast pork with cherry port reduction, creamy polenta, and shredded Brussel sprouts. So that should put paid to Friday night’s disaster of a dinner.
After a successful nine-year stint as an author and spokesperson for The Emily Post Institute, Anna is now a solo practitioner who eloquently wrangles content into communication streams that connect organizations with their audiences, with an emphasis on social media and websites. She is known for thoughtful writing and engaging public speaking.