Many times, I have lamented the fact that people widely assume those of us living abroad do nothing all day but float in the pool drinking mojitos.
Even friends who visit us get a false impression, perhaps not realising that we work 12-hour days and see no daylight for at least a week to get ahead and have time to spend with them when they arrive.
Having said that, I would never deny that I now have a far better work / life balance than I had back in the UK. It is, after all, one of the reasons I moved to Portugal in the first place.
With this in mind, I have decided to detail a typical working day for a freelance writer and IT geek living in Portugal – that person being me.
The day in question is yesterday – a day where that work / life balance was just perfect. It’s not always like that – but it’s what I aim for!
9AM: Woke up, grabbed laptop, and went through my usual morning routine: Cleared the spam from my email accounts, checked the commission earned from my various online endeavors, then browsed quickly through Facebook, Twitter, News (Portugal and UK), weather, and a few forums I frequent.
9.30AM: Checked how many copies of Moving to Portugal – The Book had sold during September (a pleasing number), updated my book sales spreadsheet, then dealt with a few emails, mostly related to book promotion but also a couple of technical bits and bobs from IT clients in London.
9.45AM: Settled down to put the finishing touches to a magazine article about property in Portugal – finalized some text and edited some pictures of houses.
11.30AM: Decided to grab a quick dip in the bath and a read couple of chapters of my book (John Stienbeck’s “East of Eden” – a book that has been frequently passed over for lighter reads, but one I am now forcing myself to persevere with). One of the main benefits of being a self-employed homeworker is the ability to get properly “up” whenever I like – but if I have to actually speak to anyone, I must be properly presentable.
12 NOON: Wife popped out to dry cleaners, picked up lovely fresh rolls and made delicious chicken and sweetcorn rolls with Sunday dinner leftovers.
12.30: Sat down to make a few work calls, but made the mistake of trying to contact people in Portugal during the three-hour “lunch window.”
1.00PM: Heard from magazine editor that she is happy with my article, with just a few tweaks to be made. Celebrated by heading off on my moped to get some sunshine.
1.30PM: Stopped at the hamlet of Cacela Velha where I was thwarted from a planned walk due to high tide, but managed to spot birds of prey of some description.
1.45PM: Stopped at a small cafe for an espresso. Checked email on my phone and electronically signed a contract to do a batch of six IT articles for a regular client. This ensures extra money but means another venture out on the moped will be unlikely before the weekend. Also confirmed a few of hours of remote IT support with clients for later in the week.
2.00PM: Moved on to Manta Rota and did a swift 5km walk along the shore and back (using the much loved Pedometer app on my phone). Headed home with just a very quick stop for a can of Iced Tea.
4.00PM: Back to work. Dealt with new emails, made the last of my calls, completed and sent the final version of my article and sent out a couple of invoices.
5.00PM: Blog stuff: answered comments, removed spam (grr), made a start on this post.
6.00PM: Had a quick look at the titles of the technical articles for the next day (so my subconscious could make a start during the night), and headed to my local for a quick pre-dinner Super Bock.
8.00PM: Settled down for something my wife and I call “picky dinner” – basically composed of whatever we can find in the fridge and cupboards when we don’t want to go to the shop.
So, with that committed to text, what did I miss out? OK, I’ll be honest: about 15 more checks of Facebook, five of Twitter, several cigarettes and a cheeky couple of Ferrero Rochers…..BUT no cocktails and certainly no floating in the pool!
Even so, yesterday was a good day. Today will be less so, as I have all those IT articles to write. I’d better get on with it.
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Tube image with thanks to Wikimedia Commons.