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Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer featuring Shannon Gallagher from Love Abiding Citizen
 
 
Shannon is an editor and content coach who helps purpose-driven doers identify what is true and of value to them and then express it in a way that feels genuine and accurate. She also works with brand agencies as a copywriter and researcher. Her home on the web is Love Abiding Citizen. 
 
Over to the questions!
 
How and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?
 
I wake up everyday at 6 a.m. Many mornings I wake up naturally, but some mornings I need the alarm (and a tap or two of the snooze button). I drink a big glass of warm water with lemon while I make my coffee. I set some intentions for the day, and then I write.  
 
What do you do before work?
 
It depends on the day — I have a six-year-old daughter who lives with me half the time, so I have two different routines. When she’s with her dad, I usually get right to work with my coffee — my writing time will blend right into other tasks. But when she’s home I have to get her off to school before I can dive into anything. So I’ll use my early morning hour before she wakes up to write, then put her on the bus and go to yoga down the street. When I get home I’ll make a smoothie, turn on some music, and get to work. 
 
How do you keep on top of tasks?
 
Full disclosure: I rarely feel like I’m keeping on top of tasks! I love lists and have a few going at any given time. I’ve tried to get into some of the project management apps like Asana and Trello, but I prefer good ol’ fashioned paper and pencil. When I’m finishing up one day, I make a list of the three to five priority tasks for the next day so I can jump right in. Pomodoros are a godsend for my distractible mind. And for long term projects or clients with whom I’m working on multiple projects at a time, I send out a simple Monday morning email outlining the status of everything and the priorities for the week so that I can be sure to have what I need from them and they can know where we stand. 
 
How do you stay motivated?
 
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but structure, structure, structure. I have historically gone out of my way to avoid structure and routine at all costs, and I sort of cringe admitting that it is now such a positive influence in my life and business. I’m a bit mercurial and so if I’m letting my moods and creative impulses run the show I have periods of intense productivity and excitement followed by long periods of zero productivity. But by having a routine — a regular time when I write, when I get outside, when I do client work, when I practice — it helps me keep going even when I’d rather not. Also, taking my weekends off from work (and routine) is huge. It can be really tempting to work when there’s so much unscheduled time and a dozen ideas buzzing in my head, but I’ve found that keeping the computer off, connecting with friends, and letting my days go with the flow, means that come Monday morning I’m feeling rested and nourished and that much more fired up to get shit done. 
 
What do you have for lunch?
 
I don’t really eat lunch, but I dream of sandwiches. I’m on a really restricted diet because of some auto-immune issues, so food sorta stresses me out these days. After my morning coffee I have a mug of bone broth. And then a smoothie around lunchtime. My favorite is carrot juice, fresh ginger, collagen, maca, bee pollen, spinach, banana, and blueberries.  
 
How do you beat the afternoon slump?
 
A walk in the woods, a few sun salutations, or meditation. Sadly, my days of three o’clock lattes have gone the way of the sandwiches, and I do miss them so. But I think the woods are probably better for me in the long run. 
 
When do you clock off?
 
Days when I have my daughter I finish by 3:00 at the latest so I can get her off the bus. When I don’t have her, I’ll generally work until 5:00, sometimes later if I have a late call. 
 
Is there anything you like to always do before bed?
 
No. When it comes to my own bedtime I am strictly anti-routine. But I pretty much always just end up reading a book until i can’t keep my eyes open anymore. 
 
 
Rapid Fire Questions…
 
Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?
Depends on the day 
 
Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?
Both
 
Tea or Coffee? Which flavour?
Coffee in the a.m., peppermint tea in the p.m. 
 
One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?
Lots of little breaks 
 
Work Station or Work From Wherever?
Wherever
 
Lunch at your Desk or Dining Table?
Neither, if I can help it.
 
If you’d like to see more from Shannon, you can find her over at Love Abiding Citizen, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or Medium.

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