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Carry Your Day

Liz Segran

Liz Segran is one busy woman. She's the author of the recently debuted book,The Rocket Years: How Your Twenties Launch The Rest of Your Life. She's also a senior staff writer at Fast Company. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation and Foreign Policy. Her command center of choice for accomplishing all of this? Her home office. See how she gets it all done, and steal some of her favorite tips for working (happily) from home.

5:00 AM

I have always been a really early riser. I have this really beautiful attic office that I love, so typically I go there and spend a few moments right at the start of the day meditating or reading. I don’t always get to that, but when I do I think my day goes much better. Then I usually have two and a half good hours to work before my four-year-old, Ella, and my husband wake up. There are days when I can get all of the writing I need to do finished in those two and a half hours. So that time is really precious to me.

8:30 AM

After breakfast, I settle into my workday. When you work from home, it’s so important to create specific spaces and small rituals that help your brain and your body know you’re transitioning from one thing to the next — it stops the day from feeling like one big blur. If you don’t have a room you can dedicate as an office, even just changing the lighting or adding a cue like soft music can help change your living room from an entertainment space to a space for focus. I like to set myself up with a cup of coffee and some quiet jazz, almost like I’m in a cafe. It honestly helps a lot.

10:00 AM

Having a routine and a schedule is also so important. Because I get up so early, I eat a pretty early lunch. I try to take the time to actually make something, even if it’s just a sandwich or a salad, and then sit and eat and listen to a podcast. Even if you live in a small apartment, just moving to a different spot can help put you in a refreshed state of mind and give you more energy for the rest of the day. Afterward, my day fills up with writing, interviews and virtual meetings. There are so many opportunities to distance ourselves from one another through technology, it’s important to remember that we can use it to connect, too. I know a lot of people turn it off, but I love the video feature on Slack and Zoom. It makes me feel like I’ve interacted with more people throughout the day, and the conversations feel much more meaningful.
I always keep my Crosby bag packed with my essentials — my wallet, car keys, sunglasses — by the door. It eliminates the time I would spend looking for all of those things!

5:00 PM

After writing throughout the day, I really crave a sense of finality and to know the workday has ended. I separate myself from work with a little exercise, or I’ll run any quick errands that need to happen, like picking up groceries. I always keep my Crosby bag packed with my essentials — my wallet, car keys, sunglasses — by the door for just that purpose. It eliminates the time I would spend looking for all of those things! Then I’ll cook a nice dinner for the family. Right now I’m really into the cookbook Ottolenghi Simple — the recipes are so inventive and unexpected, like a lamb burger with crushed pistachios. So good. Dinner happens early, around 6:30 pm, because we like to eat together as a family, and since Ella is four, she has an early bedtime.

9:00 PM

Because I wake up so early, it’s crucial to me to go to sleep really early as well — and I need a lot of sleep! I start winding down for the evening around eight-ish. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a nice, long bubble bath. I try to put my phone away — sometimes I even leave it in a different room to remove the temptation. I like to read a book or listen to a podcast, or just spend time talking to my husband. That’s actually where the idea for my book, The Rocket Years came from — my husband and I were discussing how the decisions you make in your 20s impact the rest of your life. It’s meant to be an inspiring book to help people chart their course. I really wrote it for myself — it’s the book I wish I had when I was 22.