I talk about what my current daily routine is like, being a night owl, and a few other common daily routine activities that are not part of my current routine.
Hey! How’re you going? This is Alena and welcome to the Along Came English podcast.
I don’t know if you can hear it but I have my fan on at the moment. It was quite hot today and quite often the building still stays warm even though it’s cooled down outside. And it’s actually raining now – Melbourne weather… And I can hear dripping sounds from the gutters and stuff. So yea.
Anyway, I don’t think it’ll be too noisy on the recording, but I also know the microphone can pick up a lot of sounds.
So for this episode, I’ll be talking about daily routines.
I know this might seem like a boring or mundane topic. “Mundane” means dull or lacks excitement. I’ve seen this topic in beginner level textbooks, but I’ve noticed that intermediate level learners sometimes have trouble talking about their daily routines.
It makes sense I guess, like how often do you talk about your own daily routines unless you were making some lifestyle changes – like finding the time to work out, or waking up earlier than usual. I’d say that we talk more about the weather or our jobs.
Anyway, I’m going to talk about what my morning, afternoon and evening routines are like, a bit about what it’s like to be a night owl, and a few other common daily routine activities that aren’t part of my current daily routine.
Now I live a pretty boring life, even according to my standards, so don’t expect anything interesting or exciting. This is just an opportunity for you to pick up phrases and words to describe daily routines and things like that.
And if you find this interesting or helpful, please like, subscribe or follow.
And a shoutout to our patron on Patreon. Hi Pierre! I think I’ll do the shoutout first podcast of every month.
Also please consider supporting Along Came English if you like what I do here.
Prologue: I’m a night owl
Okay. Well, let’s start with what my daily routine is like.
Now I should preface this by saying that I’m a night owl. A “night owl” or an “evening person” is someone who stays up late – usually past midnight and may even stay awake after dawn, actually.
On the other hand, a “lark,” “early bird” or “morning person” is someone who likes to get up early in the morning and goes to bed early in the evening.
I’m not an early bird. My routines don’t fit the typical… I don’t know, nine-to-five standard daytime working hours that most societies around the world have. So what I’m trying to say is, don’t judge me.
There’s been a fair amount of research into these… I guess, characteristics or tendencies…? So there is a legitimacy to this kind of lifestyle, I guess. But yea, I also know my lifestyle doesn’t fit the expectations of most people I know.
Also, we are talking about life during a pandemic. Even though a lot of restrictions have lifted in Melbourne, things are still getting back to normal. The government is still trying to keep the pandemic under control, And people are gradually going back to the office or looking for jobs.
Now I came back to Australia just before the pandemic hit. I actually came back to study, so my plan was to finish my course and then look for a job.
So in the past… I don’t know, six to eight months, I’ve been putting my energy into developing online content and offering lessons online. And working online affords me the luxury, I guess… of creating my schedule around my preferred sleeping times. And also, being in this timezone means there’s no point setting my schedule too early either.
So I’d say currently, my days in general are pretty laid-back and I’m mostly at home, but I’ll also talk about other common daily activities later in the episode.
My very short morning routine, Reddit and YouTube
Now I wake up quite late in the morning, around 10-11am.
Yea, I don’t really have much of the morning left by this time. One time a postman came by to drop off a parcel around this time, and he asked me how my day was, and I just replied, “My day just started.”
Usually I’ll stay in bed and scroll through Reddit. I’m not sure when that became a habit or routine for me because I only joined Reddit just over a year ago, so the habit has definitely snuck in somehow.
If you don’t know, “Reddit“ is a social news platform. It’s like a mix of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can join different subreddits where you can receive specific types of posts or that revolve around a theme or topic, but these can be pictures, videos, comments, stories, or links to news articles.
And I like it because I can still stay relatively anonymous without uploading a profile, but have access to different posts on a global level. I also have control over what I see because of the subreddits I follow. And I like to look at cute animal pictures and videos but also have access to news around the world.
Anyway, so I spend quite a bit of time on Reddit when I wake up. I’m really not a morning person at all. In a way, scrolling through social media is a form of procrastination and delays me from actually having to get out of bed.
When I do finally get out of bed, I go straight to the kitchen to make coffee and fix something for breakfast. Now I say “breakfast” because I only just woke up and I typically eat foods that are considered breakfast, like yoghurt or oats.
Some people could call this “brunch” or an early lunch. But I have lunch at like 2-3pm, so my routine’s kind of shifted a few hours later. (Listen to my episode about different meals of the day!)
I always have coffee first thing in the morning. At home, I usually have instant black coffee. For food, I might have yoghurt or oats with fruits and nuts, or make myself a french toast or a sandwich.
I also usually watch YouTube while I have breakfast. I cast YouTube from my phone to the TV and make a playlist of different videos. Most of the YouTubers I follow tend to upload new videos late at night, so I watch their videos in the morning.
I used the verb “cast” to talk about playing online content from my phone to the TV. I’m not sure if “cast” or “casting” is used because of Google Chromecast, which is a device that you plug to your TV that allows you to do this. I actually couldn’t find this use or specific definition when I looked up “cast” in online dictionaries but this is definitely the technical term.
Otherwise, people also use “play” to mean the same thing and I think this is more common as well. So for example, “You can cast YouTube on TV from your phone.” Or “You can play YouTube on TV from your phone.” Now the verbs have slightly different meanings, but the sentences are pretty much the same.
I also don’t just watch fun videos. I follow an American news-slash-commentary channel where I get my news from. Sometimes videos from local news channels pop up and I’ll watch those.
So it’s like an extension of what I do on Reddit. I watch a mix of funny content as well as the latest news – which is my preferred way of consuming news nowadays. I feel I need to balance the dramatic and serious with the funny and silly.
My somewhat productive afternoon routine
So after my breakfast and catching up with my favourite YouTubers, that’s when I start working on online content and depending on the day, I’ll have a few lessons scattered throughout.
Now working on online content could be researching and writing scripts. Or if I’ve recorded some videos, I’ll do the editing and uploading during this time. Or I might add content to the website or try to learn more about other features I can add to it.
If I’m not working on online content, I’ll use this time to do errands or do some admin stuff.
Now an “errand” is any specific task that usually requires a short journey. Usually it’s done on behalf of someone else or a job but sometimes for one’s own purpose. And quite often, when it’s for your own purposes, it’s used to refer to personal tasks that you have to go outside for, like going to the post office, getting groceries, going to the bank, etc.
“Admin” is supposed to be short for “administration,” but colloquially, we also use it to mean “administrative” – like “admin staff” or “admin duties” for example.
So my admin stuff or tasks are things that revolve around managing my life, like keeping track of my bank records, keeping track of my budget and expenses, paying bills, booking appointments, courses I’m enrolled in, following up on any general issues, etc. Yea.
As I mentioned earlier, I have lunch anywhere between… actually… actually between 2-4pm.
Having lunch at 2pm seems a bit soon after breakfast, but this is kind of a set routine for me now. I used to work a twelve-to-eight-pm job for a number of years. And I found that this really suited… I guess, my lifestyle preferences and I would typically have lunch at 2.30pm, and then have dinner after I finish (not “finished”) work.
Having previously done nine-to-five jobs, I also find that I get quite hungry halfway through the morning before lunch time, so I guess this kind of eating routine just works for me.
Now lunch can be anything. Sometimes I’ll have leftovers from dinner, or a sandwich, or instant noodles, which we often call “ramen.”
I also like to watch something while I have lunch. Yea, I don’t know why, I like to do something while I’m eating.
And after lunch, I’ll go back to doing whatever I was doing that afternoon.
My evening routine and working out
Now in the evening. Usually I just continue doing what I’ve been doing until dinner time around 6-8pm.
However I have been working out the past few weeks. A friend of mine invited me to do a workout challenge and I’ve been doing it at around 6pm.
Typically a “workout” implies going to the gym, but because of the pandemic, there has been this increase in home workouts, particularly on YouTube. And I’ve definitely seen this massive increase in popularity with fitness influencers and fitness challenges.
So in 2020, I tried a number of times to get into an exercise habit and never quite succeeded – as I mentioned in a previous podcast episode.
Now I don’t feel too bad about it because exercise was never a habit I ever had in my life. So it’s not like I ever… let myself go or anything like that. So the fact that I tried and kept trying, was a bit of an accomplishment in a way.
And it was 2020. I mean, a lot of crappy things happened last year, so I can’t fault myself for not exercising, because I think a lot of people were struggling in general. So yea.
So I recently completed this two-week challenge with my friend and yea… it was a huge accomplishment. The fact that I had a friend to be accountable to was great. We would work out when we got together but we would also text each other when we weren’t physically together to encourage one another.
And I think breaking down a large goal like developing a lifetime habit into shorter, smaller goals was more achievable. So yea, I’ve already begun the next challenge, which is two weeks again, and I’m about a third of the way through. But yea, let’s hope that I keep this going this year.
Dinner and night time
So after the workout, I would take a shower and then have dinner at around 8-9pm.
And because it’s summer now, I’ve been having salads for dinner. And it doesn’t sound like much but they’re actually quite filling for me. When it’s winter, I would have more soups or noodle soups, or stews with rice.
So rice is a big part of my cultural upbringing and diet, but I actually don’t eat rice that regularly. Like, my family and some of my friends can’t live without having rice for a day but I don’t really have an attachment to it. I prefer it because it’s also a gluten-free option, but yea, if I’m just having a steak, I don’t need to have it with rice.
And in general, I don’t cook that often actually. Usually when I do cook, I’ll cook a big batch and have that for a few meals. I order delivery quite regularly and now that most of the restrictions have lifted, I’ve been eating out quite a bit. So I probably should cut down on that.
I also usually have a glass or two of red wine after dinner. And I’m not sure why, but I prefer to drink after a meal as opposed to during a meal. And I remember I went out for dinner with a friend and they commented that I hadn’t touched my drink while we were eating. So yea
Quite often wine is paired with a meal, like red wine with a steak or white wine with fish or seafood. And that doesn’t really apply to me. And I just drink red wine even if I eat seafood or steak.
And what I do after dinner depends on what I feel like doing. Sometimes I will continue with working on online content. Sometimes if I feel like I was quite productive in the afternoon, I might just chill and watch TV shows or movies.
Before the summer, I would crochet while I was watching Netflix or something.
So “crochet” is very similar to knitting – so instead of two needles, we actually just use one hook… one crochet hook. And you make similar things like blankets, sweaters, dolls and things like that.
But yea, I think crocheting a sweater or a scarf during summer is a little weird, so I’ll wait until it gets colder again to resume crocheting.
Bedtime and my nocturnal tendencies
Bedtime is about 2am. On days when I’m not working out, I would usually shower before bedtime. I know, it’s quite late to shower after midnight, but yea, that’s just my routine.
And usually “bedtime” refers to when a person goes to bed to sleep, but the truth is, I mean people rarely fall asleep when they get into bed right? And personally, it takes me a while. So even though I go to bed, it’s rare that I fall asleep so easily.
So again, I would usually scroll through Reddit, sometimes I will look through Instagram, but not that often.
And for my 2021 goals, I wanted to read more than two books this year.
So I’ve been slowly reading a book the past month called “Catcher in the Rye,” by J. D. Sallinger. It’s a very famous book, and I was really curious about it. But I didn’t realise that it was about a teenager and I’m not usually a fan of teenage shows or books in general.
Now, it’s not that I hate teenage stories but it’s the way that they’re often portrayed. I get exasperated with hormonal and irrational characters, and quite often these are either teenagers or women in media.
It’s a very unfortunate stereotype but I understand that quite often the over-dramatic also gets the views.
“Exasperated” is an adjective that means annoyed, irritated, frustrated.
Anyway, “Catcher in the Rye” is written in the first-person, and I wouldn’t call the protagonist as temperamental but the author has captured the teenage angst really well in his writing.
So yea, I would read or scroll through Reddit until I feel a bit tired, and finally try to fall asleep. And this could take half an hour to sometimes a few hours.
And the difficulty of falling asleep so easily or early, I feel, is due to my nocturnal tendencies.
So “nocturnal” means being active at night rather than the day. This is why people like me are called “night owls,” because many owl species are nocturnal creatures.
And I actually find it easier to stay up late. It actually stresses me out when I try to sleep early. And trying to fall asleep, tossing and turning in bed feels more stressful to me. It’s also not that unusual for me to be up until 4am actually.
Now reflecting on my daily routine, it is pretty much centred around my sleep and my sleeping habits – which is is both a luxury and kind of a curse, I guess. Although I have a tendency to sleep late, I also make the conscious choice to go to bed at 2am even when I’m not always tired because I know I am inclined to sleep later.
But yea, as a night owl in a mostly early bird society, I can’t expect this to last forever.
Commuting to work or school
Okay. Well, let’s move on to other normal, daily activities I haven’t talked about or that are not part of my current, daily routine.
So first is going to work or school. As I mentioned earlier, I work from home, so going to work for me is getting out of bed and sitting at my desk.
Anyway, going to work.
“Commute” actually refers to the regular journey between home and work, but it is also quite common to hear people use it to talk about going to school. It can be used as a verb or a noun.
And living in Australia, many have a car – it’s almost a necessity here. If you live in the suburbs and your work is in the city, it’s more convenient to park your car at your nearest train station, and then take a train into the city.
Commutes to and from work is expected to be anywhere between half an hour to an hour. And anything longer than an hour is considered too long. Of course there are people who travel up to two hours to get to work and another two hours back home, but that’s quite uncommon.
When I was still studying last year, I would walk to class. I actually moved to this suburb to be close to the university, so I didn’t have to drive or take public transport to get to my classes. Then I realised I only had one evening class per week, which is typical of a graduate course. So yea, I should’ve checked how many classes I actually had.
I also made the decision not to get a new car when I returned to Melbourne, so I’ve been taking public transport and Uber. Although I’ve saved a lot of money from not buying a new car, there are some disadvantages to this decision.
“Uber,” if you don’t know, is a ride-hailing service that’s like a taxi, but each driver is an independent contractor. And honestly speaking, it is quite expensive but I take it when it’s dark and I don’t want to walk home alone, or if I’m running late and can’t wait for the next bus.
It is also a source of income for many people here, so I often think about that to justify how much I’m paying for it.
And where I live has pretty good access to public transportation, and thankfully the bus comes quite often and runs until late at night as well. The train stations are also walking distance.
I actually don’t live that far from the city, but taking the bus takes me 35-40 minutes – maybe longer if I go to a different part of the city. And driving would take about half that time.
And even though there is pretty good public transport connection to the city, I’ve noticed the connections to neighbouring suburbs are really poor. A 15-minute drive by car could take up to an hour and more by public transportation to a neighbouring suburb that’s not the city.
So yea, so not having a car has really localised my activities and puts a restriction on how far I travel now.
Getting ready for work
And another thing I didn’t talk about as part of my current daily routine was about getting ready for work.
To be honest, if I’m meeting a student or getting ready for reading a video, I only spend like 5 minutes to get ready. I put on some very basic makeup – it’s very minimal. I just throw on a reasonably looking top on. So yea, working from home is fantastic.
Now when we talk about getting ready for work, quite often the phrase, “to get dressed,” comes up quite a bit. It actually means to wear clothes and it describes the whole activity of wearing clothes, and sometimes it’s used for the purpose of an occasion.
So for example, “Hurry up and get dressed already.” Or “I’m getting dressed for work.”
“To dress,” without the “e-d,”means the same thing but it’s more common and sounds more natural to say “get dressed.”
To me, the phrase “to get ready” is more common because getting ready for work includes more than just wearing clothes. It could include brushing your teeth, taking a shower, putting on makeup, styling your hair, putting on jewellery, putting on deodorant etc.
For most people, getting ready is often a part of a person’s morning routine to get ready for work. However, you can also get ready for a performance or a presentation, and the activities might include things like warm-up exercises, breathing exercises, going through your notes, checking that everything’s in place – anything in preparation for whatever you’re about to do.
Alright. Well, I’ll finish this episode here. Don’t forget to like, subscribe or follow if you found this interesting or helpful.
Well, thank you so much for listening. Stay safe. Have a good day and I’ll catch you later. Bye.