How I believe I spend my day vs how I actually spend my day

How I believe I spend my day: sunrise

Self-deception is a fine art with a long and hallowed tradition. I’ve been getting gold stars in it since primary school.

In order to celebrate my continued success in this arena, I thought I’d lay out and admire how badly I deceive myself about how I spend my weekdays.

5:30am: My alarm goes off

I believe

I swing out of bed without fuss; shower while His Royal Fluffiness sits on the bathmat; brush my teeth while reading my kindle; dress; do the ironing; and make a cup of tea.

I actually

Pray desperately that it’s actually the weekend and I can sleep for a few more hours; lie in bed for four minutes trying to convince myself to get up; finally get up and fall over the His Royal Fluffiness in the dark, making a lot of noise and upsetting both His Royal Fluffiness and my husband.

Shower while His Royal Fluffiness sits on the bathroom floor pulling out chunks of fur and dropping them everywhere; brush my teeth while reading my kindle; dress; do the ironing while His Royal Fluffiness supervises; and make a cup of coffee.

6:05am: Sitting down before work

I believe

I drink my tea while His Royal Fluffiness sits on my lap; check email and deal with anything important that’s come up overnight; have important philosophical conversations with my husband; and read a bit of fine literature.

I actually

Know it’s already at least 6:10am. I drink my coffee while His Royal Fluffiness sits on my lap; open Twitter and start working through my notifications since the previous night; respond to new comments on my blog and write a few comments on other people’s blogs; get into a fight with His Royal Fluffiness, who’s sick of me reaching over his back to type; read a few blog posts about writing; and check out what my friends have been up to on Twitter.

6:30am: Travel to work

I believe

We’re out the door at 6:30am sharp; my husband drives, and I read out Latin, which he translates.

I actually

Know we never manage to leave at 6:30am, even though I set the clock in the living room five minutes fast without telling my husband. We leave at 6:40am, give or take; my husband drives; I read out Latin, he swears at the inconsistency of other drivers and the idiot who’s following way too close, and eventually gets around to translating; we have to look up a lot of words, and even then some of our translations make no sense.

7:10am: Arrival at work

I believe

I get in to the office at 7:10am, make a cup of tea, and sit down to work; during the day I think deep and intelligent thoughts and make admirable progress on my work. I stop once for coffee between 9am and 9:30am.

At work I believe I think deep thoughts.
I actually

Arrive at the office at 7:20am, make a cup of tea, and spend ten more minutes finishing looking at those tweets that I hadn’t quite got to; during the day I talk to myself, swear at my code, and misinterpret the results of my analysis. (If anyone from my work is reading this, I always correct the misinterpretations before I share them with anyone, and I probably wasn’t swearing at my code, I was swearing at you.) I stop for coffee and sometimes a buttery toasted scone between 9am and 9:45am.

At work I actually spend most of the day scratching my head.

3:15pm: Home time

I believe

I leave the office at 3:15pm, and bond with my husband on the way home.

I actually

Leave the office at 3:15pm, and try not to be too annoying while my husband vents about his day on the way home.

4:00pm: Work at home

I believe

I sit down and 4pm and until 5:30pm I am super productive working at home.

I actually

Jump on the trampoline for ten minutes to try to wake up, search through the rampant blackberry patch for ripe berries, and sit down to work when the clock says 4:15pm (though recall it’s five minutes fast). I try to work while my husband chatters about exciting books he’s found online and philosophical ideas.

5:30pm: Dinner

I believe

I stop work to cook dinner or keep my husband company while he cooks dinner. We sit down with His Royal Fluffiness to eat and watch a video lecture from the cosmology course we’re studying.

I actually

Can’t agree with my husband what to cook. We spend half an hour arguing about it, and end up ordering pizza. I have a drink of tequila and play on the web while we wait for food to arrive. We sit down with His Royal Fluffiness to eat dinner and watch an episode of Red Dwarf.

6:30pm: Writing time

I believe

I write for two hours, cranking out 1500 words per hour.

I actually

Switch one sentence around in my draft; retweet a few cute cat videos; delete a sentence from my draft and add two; tweet to lament that my draft has just got even longer; drink some more tequila; read a couple of blog posts and comment; knuckle down for a solid ten minutes of editing, which goes slowly because I’m watching an episode of Better off Ted at the same time; see if there’s anything new on Twitter; read a whole scene of my draft without changing anything; and give up and do some beta reading.

9pm: Bedtime

Reading in bed

I believe

I get ready for bed at 8:30pm and am in bed at 9pm. I read a fantasy novel for half an hour before turning out the light.

I actually

Don’t stop playing on Twitter until 9:10pm, and finally get to bed at 9:35pm. I read a book about writing craft or marketing, studiously ignoring the fact it’s getting late, and finally turn out the light sometime north of 10:30pm.


I’m firmly convinced this is how I spend my day, and I can’t understand why it’s taking so long to edit my book. Such are the mysteries of life.

What do you deceive yourself about?

If you enjoyed this post, you should check out the delightful Anders Woolf’s version, with all the joy of city living and alien kidnappings, Gregory Josephs and Prince Luca’s adventure, with more Twitter and a scarier diver than intended, and Marcus Lopés’ version, which involves a lot of creating but no dining room table.

If you want to write your own blog post about how you believe you spend your day vs how you actually spend your day, I’d love to read it and I’ll link to it from here.

Join one of my mailing lists so you never miss a post or story, no deception involved, self- or otherwise.

Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

36 thoughts on “How I believe I spend my day vs how I actually spend my day”

  1. Do you actually read out Latin or is your coffee not strong enough? Lol
    There is always a gap between what we want to accomplish and what you get done. Funny post! 🙂

    1. I actually do read Latin, just not well and translating involves a lot of using the dictionary and guessing. Maybe if my coffee were stronger it would involve less guessing. 🙂

      1. Nice!! I took a few years of Latin. It helped me learning German. The structure is very similar and speaking French helped with the guessing. 🙂 I command you for that. It’s not easy.

  2. I believe that tomorrow I am going to put in eight hours solid writing. If you believe that too, I have some bridges going cheap.

  3. Lol. Very relatable. But I guess you are a step ahead of me because you are actually willing to admit it. I am not ready to write a post like this. I think I’ll keep plugging away in blissful, poor-time-management ignorance!

    1. Ah, but how deluded are the notions of what I actually do that I wrote about? 😉

    1. What, you mean it doesn’t?! I’m going to have to rethink my writing strategy.

    1. Yes, that’s the problem, isn’t it? Getting up at 5:30 would be fine if I actually turned out my light at 9:30. Of course, I never do…

  4. This was a hilarious read. Sometimes I delude myself with thoughts of “This week, I’m just going to concentrate on one of my novels. No flash fiction, no fan fiction, no poetry.”

    I just can’t figure out where I’m going wrong…

    1. I’m glad you liked it. 🙂 As a devotee of your writing, I can tell you exactly where you’re going wrong. You write flash fiction faster than I can read it! I’m missing out on so much good stuff. Just stop it!

  5. Lol! The fact that you’re actually reading out latin is awesome! I, too, often end the day and wonder why I got nothing done. ^_^ I wish I could get up after a few minutes of the alarm going off. Apparently my alarm clock stops going off after two hours. I have no idea how I know that. 😀

    1. Thanks! 🙂 Though I’m sure my pronunciation is terrible. Especially of the letter r.

      Two hours! Your alarm is much more patient than mine. I don’t think mine goes for more than a few minutes, but it’s very piercing so there’s no ignoring it.

  6. “We spend half an hour arguing about it, and end up ordering pizza.” So funny! This sounds like me and my hubby. XD I call our favorite pizza place so often that they recognize my voice. And yet I tell myself that I eat healthy…(well, my pizza has vegetables on it!)

    1. Yes, this is us too. 🙂 And vegetables are healthy, even on a pizza. It’s not “junk food by association”.

  7. Eh, not too bad. Just looks like reality features a lot more Twitter.

    His Royal Fluffiness, I like it. Are there abridged variations? HRF? Fluffy? Herf?

    And that thinking deep thoughts at work picture XD

    1. A lot more Twitter, and a LOT more swearing at my code.

      I use HRF sometimes because I’m lazy at typing, but His Royal Fluffiness is a pseudonym because he’s shy about revealing his identity online. Though “Herf” is pretty cute. 🙂

      Yep, I like that pic too.

  8. This hit very close to home. We should do a series of posts, how we think we spent our day and what we actually did. I think it would make for a very instructing (and hilarious) read!

    1. Ooh, that’s a fun idea! I don’t know how to start an official thing, but if anyone else does a post on it I’ll link to them from mine.

  9. I like it. I see how my days could shape up to be similar. I believe: Wake up, brew some coffee and spend an hour writing 2,000 words… I actually: Wake up, spend 45 minutes reading pointless news on the internet. Spend ten minutes catching up on Twitter. Realize my espresso is overflowing. Curse and start over. Sit down to write and realize my time is up.

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