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A Day in the Life of Gretchen E.K. Engel

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A Molskine Daily Diary will be an annual purchase from now on

So what does a day in the life of Gretchen E.K. Engel look like? Good question because that’s a dynamic answer. And one that got a new plot twist–early mornings.

First I wouldn’t say my life is as busy as it is complicated. I work part time for an engineering firm, so that’s what dictates my Monday-Friday. I work a minimum of 20 hours per week and have been in the 30-40 range recently and will be for a while.

We purposely don’t over-schedule our kids. They’re each in an activity or two depending on the season and the kid. Typically, our son is playing one sport and as a sixth grader that’s several nights per week with games and practice. After being a soccer mom since 2009, I became a football mom in August. Our daughter takes piano and one 30-minute dance class. She may take a session or two of gymnastics, which we schedule to coordinate with our gym routine since they’re in the same building. She also does AWANA. Although it seems like she’s the busier one, our son’s schedule is more time consuming during football and baseball season.

My schedule recently changed, and I think for the better. I’m not a morning person but because my son catches the bus at 7:00, I’ve been getting up around 6:15-6:30. I wander downstairs and pour a cup of coffee. First things first. I’ve been making it a point to not grab my phone so I’m not tempted to get sucked into the blackhole of Facebook. I do my quiet time and eat breakfast. I wake our daughter about 7:30 for her to catch the bus at 8:15.

Some mornings my work day starts at 8:00 with a conference call. If not, I start my day after my daughter gets on the bus. I fill in my planner with the day’s schedule. My things are in green (or orange since my green pen is iffy), my son blue, my daughter pink, and family things are orange. I make up my task list for the day with everything from reading, writing, and Bible study, to work and home tasks.

I work throughout the day. Mostly at my day job, but I also do laundry and sometimes other cleaning chores especially when work is slower. I run a couple of days per week in the late morning or early afternoon. I’m training for my second half-marathon. Typically my running days are Tuesdays and Fridays, and my long runs (6-14 miles) are on Sundays. We workout at the gym 1-2 days per week as well. On the days I don’t run, I try to walk periodically throughout the day. My Fitbit statistics make good incentives to keep moving.

After the kids come home, I do some combination of working, getting dinner ready, and shuttling kids. I do drop off and stay for dance and piano but usually my husband does pick up for sports practices and AWANA unless I’m substituting in AWANA that week.

I typically write in the evenings. Ideally after dinner, and that’s definitely my intent. However, I often don’t focus until the kids are in bed, so between 9:00-11:00, sometimes later. I also try to get in a fair amount of writing on the weekends. Scrivener for iOS is a wonderful thing. I can now write on the iPad, which has a Bluetooth keyboard or even my phone. I’ve been looking at my schedule and realizing that I need to be more-efficient with my time so that I can get in more writing.

What does your schedule look like? What keeps you from writing or pursuing hobbies, sports, etc.?



About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

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