Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: Daily schedule
52 points by anemecek on July 10, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 54 comments
There is a lot of interesting people on this website who are nothing short of my idols (and I can imagine that I am not the only one who feels that way). Without a doubt, one way to mimic the successes of these people is to do what they do. So I was just wondering if some of you guys cared to share what does your normal day schedule look like.

Sorry if this is a repost, I tried to find if a similar topic had been done before but I did not find anything.

  6:00 am: Rise from bed.
  6:15 - 6:30: Dumbbell exercise and wall-scaling.
  7:15 - 8:15: Study electricity, etc.
  8:30 - 4:30: Work.
  4:30 - 5:00: Baseball and sports.
  5:00 - 6:00: Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it.
  7:00 - 9:00: Study needed inventions.

I'm pretty sure this is from The Great Gatsby -- I remember the dumbbell part. Am I right?

Yes. I remember the "practice elocution" part.

How does one "Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it?"

Where have I seen this before..? :P

  11:00: wake up, shut off alarm
  12:00: wake up again, shut off second alarm
  13:00: phone rings/roommate knocks on door to actually wake me up
  13:30: stumble into shower, check email, catch up on RSS
  14:00: lunch (or breakfast)
  14:30: actual work, prepare for product launch
  19:00: dinner
  20:00: more work, TV on in background
  05:00: go to sleep

It goes all over the place, but here's what my best days are like:

8:30~9:00 wake up, stumble into shower

9:15 turn on computer, check email, do non-work

10:00 work begins

13:00 lunchtime!

15:30 shouldn't have brought a book! work resumes

17:30 ~ 18:30 creative impulse dies, work ceases for day

+ 1 hour go to gym

+ 2 hours eat dinner

+ 2.5 hours evening plans

22:00 ~ 2:00 AM read/game/movie/etc, check email, maybe write some goals down for later, go to sleep

This is my perfect schedule that I do when everything goes right. Sometimes I deviate from it. Also, I'm a single man living in NYC, so YMMV.

9 AM: Wake up, go to the gym

10 AM: Shower/shave/etc, get dressed

11 AM: Arrive at the office

- As soon as get to the office: check my goals for today, do the most important thing (before checking emails)

- Lunch at some point

9 PM: Finish work, get home, dinner, relax

11 PM: Go out/socialize

1 AM: Get home, answer some emails, write down goals for tomorrow

2 AM: sleep

As a married guy in a small, sleepy town I must say I envy your schedule a bit.

I wish I had that kind of flexible work schedule.

one way to mimic the successes of these people is to do what they do

Disagree. Thinking like that is a common logical fallacy. Suppose you find a relation "isHacker?" <~> "schedule type". Then you have NO evidence at all that that these are related since your whole sample are hackers. Also you don't know anything about the causality.

Even if there is some relation (which I doubt) probably there are some other reasons and "reasons" ~> "isHacker?" and "reasons" ~> "schedule type"

~ is for probability.

You are not the first person to point it out. See explanation below.

I've been using an app called Infinity on the iPhone to track and optimize my time, and I learned a few things that surprised me. For example:

- I was spending almost 2 hours a day on chit-chat with friends at work. This time is usually counted as work, but it really isn't. So now I stay in the office less, and go out with friends more. Same productivity, more fun.

- I was spending way more time than I thought on email, facebook, and reading news. Now I use a tool called StayFocused to limit my email/facebook time to 1.5 hours a day.

- I spent way too much time on technical support, so I went ahead and hired an intern to handle that.

Overall, I now work less and get more done, which is great.

Slightly all over the place too, but recently it's something like:


5:40 wake up and drive my girlfriend to some networking breakfast event

7:00 crash back into bed


8:00 Wake up, breakfast, browse HN, catch up on email, etc

9:00 or so, real work begins

13:00 start to get uncomfortably hungry, locate some nutrients, and absorb them orally. Usually about half an hour or an hour.

Between 17:00 and 20:00, varying depending on the day brain begins to emit SIGHUP signals and I end up doing something else, whether that's going for a run, watching some brain-dead TV, reading a book, or even spending the evening with my girlfriend.

Rarely, I go out to networking events or other social functions. Most of the time, though, I stay in, and go to bed by about midnight.

I think the most important thing I learned about working from home was that you have to act as if you had work hours, and protect that time so you don't spend it doing stupid chores like laundry or shopping or whatever. I do my shopping in the evening, like everyone else. I do my bills in the evening, like everyone else. Daytime is reserved for real, productive work.

All these schedules make me feel quite lazy, but it is what it is (these times are very approximate and subject to change):

11am: Wakeup, check e-mail/stats/missed IMs, water/hydration

12pm: ~30min of running, shower/cleanup, protein shake or small meal

1pm: Review ToDo list, usually 40/60 mix between reading/research and coding/implementation

~4-6pm: Get food, eat, watch some TV (but mostly read RSS/HN/Reddit/etc on my iPad), possibly gym/workout

7:30-8pm: Continue working through ToDo list

2-5am: When I'm ready to fall over at the keyboard I head to sleep. If I hit a really good stride I might keep going through to the morning, which wrecks my schedule for the next day.

On weekends or other nights that I go out (~3 nights a week), I usually stop working around 8-10pm.

P.S. if you couldn't tell, I work from home.

Nice the HN community wake up early. Here's me:

03:00-PM Wake up

03:15-PM Eat something (lunch, breakfast, drink {soda, coffee})

04:00-PM Watch TV (Aljazeera, BBC, RT)

05:30-PM Go to coffee and meet with friends, discuss useless things

08:30-PM Back to home. Dinner and shower and TV.

12:00-AM Open Computer. Check email, currencies, stocks, read HN, forums

02:00-AM Start Work

03:30-AM Finish Work - Read HN, Facebook, TC and RSS

05:00-AM Close Windows - Open Ubuntu - Learn WordPress

06:30-AM Close PC and Sleep

Not joking, my real daily schedule.

So you are actually working 1h30 a day ? What do you do in life ?

Medicine Student. I forgot to tell that I have an Intern that I don't attend.

I hope you get plenty of sunlight! :)

> Without a doubt, one way to mimic the successes of these people is to do what they do.

Careful with that thought. If someone creates their own path, following in their footsteps after the fact will be an entirely different journey than the one they took.

That said, I'm curious as well. With the crowd that HN attracts, personal anecdotes can get pretty interesting.

A few specific habits that could be more important than the right routine:

- Learning how to get yourself into a creative state - Automating non-creative, repetitive tasks - Discerning when one should delegate or seek help from others and picking the right way to do that for the situation. - Taking the time to learn principles/foundational material for a new tool. In other words, RTFM.

Sure but that is dependent on how low-level your definition of "mimic" is. I did not mean that I would do the very same thing. This might not be the most instructive example, but for example if someone said "I work hard all day long", you can certainly get successful as well by doing that. I guess I should have said "get inspiration" instead of "mimic".

Totally agree. Just figured I'd put that out there since some people waste too much effort trying to take on the superficial mannerisms and habits of successful people as a distraction from the more difficult task of actually getting things done.

Similar discussion here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=634986. My schedule is still similar, but I would be less social if I was trying to bootstrap. ;)

6:30AM Wake up, shower, eat breakfast, make coffee

7:30AM Catch the bus to work

5:00PM Finish work

5:07PM Catch bus home

6:00PM Get home, make more coffee, change clothes, eat dinner

6:15PM-10:00 Program or socialize. So far this has been a 50/50 split.

10:30PM Sleep

On weeekends I try to get up early and hit a coffee shop from 9:00-3:00. I get somewhere between 15-20 hours of programming in per week (outside of my job).

I'm not sure if you want to do that (I'm not THAT interesting) but here it is. Oh and I'm 27, in Paris, single, C++ dev. (I think it's important, most of the schedules here, I think, depend on the age !)

9:30 wake up, brush teeth

9:40 leave my appt, ride my scooter

9:55 arrive at the coffee shop near the office : take my coffee outside, with first cigarette of the day.

10:00 login to my computer, check emails, review todo list.

10:05 start working

13:30 eat a sandwich at my desk: check HN,Reddit,google news,specialized french newspapers, watch "le zapping of canal +" (a mini video of 5 minutes with funny tv cuts from the day before)

14:00 work

16:30 coffee with my 2 coworkers

19:00 leave the office

Then either I go to have a drink somewhere with some friends, or go&eat at some friend place.

If I go directly to my place, then it's

20:00 switch the TV on to watch the news while cooking (If I didn't take away on the road back)

21:00 watch a movie or some TV series


23:00 reddit, HN, techcrunch, everything...

24:00 go to sleep and continue doing nothing very interesting, on my iPhone

01:00 sleep !

  5:30 wake up, meditate, breakfast, spend time with my wife
  7:00 bike to office
  7:15 works begins. no distractions.
  9:00 check email, open IRC, continue work
  11:30 lunch
  14:45 bike home
  15:00 spend time outside (walk, hike, swim, garden, study in hammock)
  18:00 work out ~1 hour (alternate days olympic weightlifting/powerlifting
                                         with rowing)
  19:00 dinner, time with friends, study
  21:00 meditate
  21:30 sleep
no caffeine or drugs, drink very little alcohol (a couple of drinks once every 1-2 weeks)

i am very pleased with this schedule and very productive. i'll probably wake up later in the fall/winter.

09:45 Alarm wakes me up

10:00 Get out of bed

10:00-10:30 have a piss whilst showering, brush teeth

10:30-10:45 Breakfast

10:45-11:00 Walk to work

11:00-13:00 Work

13:00-13:30 Lunch Break

13:30-18:00 Work

18:00-18:15 Walk Home

18:15-19:00 Read Newspapers engage with family

19:00-22:00 DVD / TV / Radio / Computing

22:00-22:30 Watch porn

22:30-23:00 Have sower

23:00-00:00 Read in bed / Listen to Radio or Podcast

00:00-09:45 Sleep

My typical day:

9:30: wake up

10:30: get to work (now my home office), check email

10:30-noon: procrastinate

noon-1:15: lunch then 45 minute walk

1:15-5:00: procrastinate

5-7pm: 2 hours of amazing productivity

7-8:30: Cook & eat dinner

8:30-midnight: Take rest of night off or perhaps have another couple hours of productivity.

It's not as bad as it sounds cause usually the "procrastination" is me experimenting with new code or programming languages (or reading HN), just not what I'm "supposed" to be doing.

yeah, whats up with the 17.00 - 19.00 crazy productivity?

Usually at some point I start yelling at myself "ok, you REALLY need to work now" and once I get into it I'm extremely focused and productive, especially if a deadline is looming.

When I worked in an office I was the same way. If I hit a good stride by like 4-5pm, I would usually end up staying until 7-9pm. It's good to have bosses that recognize that 40 hours a week don't have to be at the same time every day to maximize productivity.

I suspect that many who have posted so far are younger than I am, more single than I am, and either in school or self-employed. Here's my typical schedule:

6am-7am: wake up, feed the dog, get ready for work

7am-8am: commute into NYC

8am-4:30pm: work in office; fit lunch in somewhere often at desk

4:30pm-5:30pm: commute back home

5:30pm-12am: mixed bag; dinner, dog, time with wife, time with tv, email (work and personal), sometimes more work, etc

12am-6am: sleep

My commute is mostly by train, so I spend that time reading or on computer+WiFi, depending on my needs. I often work from home too, which shifts things around a bit but I basically keep the same work hours so I'm in sync with colleagues.

One thing you should consider is that the successful people you want to imitate are probably partially successful because they did not imitate others, but did what worked for them.

Everybody is different and will work best under different conditions. Try to find out what schedule works best for you.

I get the most work done later in the day, but I still find myself most productive if I get up reasonably early. So I allocate easy / non-thinking work in the morning, and do stuff that really requires creativity and brainpower in the afternoon / evening.

Here's mine. I like to get an early start. My eyes are generally open before the 5:00 AM alarm rings.

4:55 AM - Eyes open

5:00 AM - Out of bed

5:10 AM - 6:30 AM - Deal with email and eat breakfast, create TODO list for the day

6:30 AM - Get showered and dressed

7:00 AM - Drive or walk to bus (if not working from home that day)

8:00 AM - 5:30 PM - Work

6:30 PM - Home

6:30 PM - 10:00 PM - Random (dinner, gym, walk with wife, help kids with homework, personal projects, etc)

10:00 PM - 11:30 PM - Watch a few random episodes of Seinfeld or Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on DVR

11:30 PM - Fall asleep in front of TV

12:30 AM - Wake up and go upstairs for actual sleep

My time on the bus is spent reading or resting.

You sleep 4 hours 25 minutes a night‽‽‽

wake up at 7.30AM, check email/twitter.

shower, exfoliate, moisturise, floss, brush teeth, mouth wash, hair product, get dressed by 7.45

drive to work (its important to listen to music at this time), arrive at 8.00

breakfast (fruit + croissants + green tea) ~ 9.00

work, lunch for ~45 mins at 12

finish work at 19.00

home by 19.15, snack at 21.30, work/read/music/video games till 1.30, exercise & stretch, sleep by 01.30.


I've recently given up caffine and most sugars, and try to sleep only 6 hours a night and have been a factor of ten more productive. Also, only checking twitter on iPhone, heh.

Interesting. Are you saying that sleeping 8 hours would make you less productive ? How did you find out ?

I find I'm more alert with 6 hours sleep. Also generally two hours more each and every day.

I noticed you forgot "Return some videos" in that list.

Note: You are awesome if you catch the reference.

green tea has caffine in it

9.00 AM Rise from bed 9-9.45 AM Get ready, breakfast, bath etc. 10 AM - Leave for work (that pays real money and keeps immigration officers off my back) 10.15 AM - Reach work. start working(Java, GWT related, I know, learning PHP, JS and Jquery now. ). 1. PM - Lunch. 1.45 PM - Start work again. 6.30 PM - Leave work, Go home. 7 PM - Start working on my startup. 8.30 PM - Dinner. 9.30 PM - Start startup work again. 1.00 AM or 2.00 AM - Dead tired, go to sleep.


My schedule is different every semester and summer but here is my current summer schedule.

7:30 wake up 7:30 - 8:00 shower/shave etc 8:00 - 8:30 eat breakfast 8:30 - 9:00 watch morning news 9:00 - 9:45 ride the train to work 9:45 - 10:00 pick up some fruit and a health drink from a bodega to save for lunch later 10:00 - 1:00 work then eat lunch 2:00-6:00 work 6:00 - 7:00 go home 7:00 - 12:00 w/e

Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late. I use the side door, that way Lumbergh can't see me. Uh, and after that, I just sorta space out for about an hour. I just stare at my desk but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too. I'd probably, say, in a given week, I probably do about fifteen minutes of real, actual work.

Weekday Schedule for Summer:

05:40: Wake Up

05:45 - 06:00: Shower, eat a granola bar, and brush teeth

06:00 - 06:05: Make Lunch

06:05 - 08:30: Take bus to commute to work, attempt to sleep on, take subway to office

08:30 - 12:30: Work (@ startup)

12:30 - 13:15: Lunch

13:15 - 17:50: Work (@ startup)

17:50 - 20:00: Commute home on bus, while reading

20:00 - 20:10: Supper

20:10 - 22:00: Read Hacker News, Techcrunch, check e-mail

22:00 - 00:30: Watch TV (Seinfeld & Daily Show), fall asleep on the floor

00:30 - 00:31: Wake up and collapse into bed

Wake up between 7 and 8 (naturally, no alarm clock), answer emails, go get breakfast, eat while watching the daily show. Check what's new online. Start actually working at 10. Go out for a walk around 13, and get some lunch, 14:30 back, and work till 10pm. Sometimes will go out around 8pm to meet people.

One thing that surprised me is that most hackers here work out physically regularly.

I do as well, and I also find post-workout protein drinks are essential. I tried not using them for 2 weeks and found the lack of them rendered my workouts totally meaningless (I track weight and body fat, another good thing to do).

Do remember that people tend to describe themselves as they would like to be, not as they are. I'm sure all of us have some point in the day we would like to be at the gym -- whether we get there is another issue. I don't know a lot of hyper-fit developers in my area.

Is answering or seeing this thread right now in your planned schedule?

Wow, everyone here is quite the early-bird. For most weekdays:

12pm: Wake up

12-1: eat, email, news, etc.

1-2: bike or run + shower

2pm - 8pm: work

8-9pm: dinner

9-12: work

12-1am : gym (every other day)

1-4am: work

4am: sleep

7:01 wake up, check email/HN

7:30 head to gym with protein -- work out

9:00 breakfast, then head to office

10:00 check email, plan day

11:00 snack

1:00 lunch (not necessarily a break. I work at a bootstrapped startup)

3:00 snack

6:00 dinner

7:00 head back to apartment

8:00-11:00 debrief a bit (watch some tv, movies), work on projects

11:00 sleep

Yeah, I eat a lot.

6:15am Wake Up

6:30am Treadmill

7:00am Breakfast

7:30am Bus to Work

8:30am Start Work

9:00am Stand-up Meeting/Task allocation

9:30am-4:30pm Continue Work

5:30am-6:30pm Weights Training

6:30pm-7:45pm Check body stats and change diet accordingly, cook foods

7:45pm-9:45pm Study Maths/Physics

9:45pm Study Log/Random reading/Shower

10:15pm Bed!

Most days look something like this:

7 Wake up

7-8:30 Breakfast and relax with daughter and girlfriend

8:30 Bike to work

9-12 Work

12 Bike home

12:30-1 Lunch and put daughter down for a nap

1-4 Work

4-8 Play with daughter, run errands, cook dinner, put her to bed

8-9 or 10 Work

10-11 Watch TV

11 Girlfriend gets home

12 Go to bed

Interesting that no one is a night owl here.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact