Jarrett Fuller


Summer Routine

Even though I’ve been teaching for a five years, this year feels like my first real summer break. It’s the first summer I don’t have to go looking for work. My first summer I don’t have to worry where my next paycheck is coming from. My first summer I don’t have to hustle to get freelance projects until the next semester begins. That’s not to say, of course, that I don’t have work to do. In many ways, I’m busier than ever with writing projects and my work at Eye on Design, work for school, and laying the ground work for some larger projects I have planned 1.

So what I’ve tried to do is plan a summer that equally productive and refreshing. I want to use this space to do deep work but I also don’t want to burn myself out. For me, that means developing a good routine, especially in the mornings. If I can protect the mornings, I can ensure I know what I can and should get done that day while making space for relaxation and rejuvenation. I’m a month into my summer and I’ve settled into a morning routine that I’m enjoying quite a bit.

  • 6:00am: My alarm goes off at 6am and by 6:15, I’m downstairs making a cup of coffee. I drink that coffee and get some reading done while the rest of the family is sleeping. This reading is either a book I’m working through for a project or a book for research.

  • 7:00am: As the family wakes up, I begin making smoothies and helping the family get off to work/school. While making smoothies, I’ll do a round or two of Duolingo.

  • 8:00am: After they’ve left, I begin a workout. I’ve been running 2.5 to 3 miles each morning and another 20 minutes of core and strength training. I end each workout with a meditation and then a shower.

  • 9:15am: After the shower, I make breakfast and a pot of tea. For the last few months, breakfast has been exactly the same: two slices of homemade sourdough with almond butter and jam. While I’m eating breakfast, I’ll either continue reading from the morning, read academic papers for projects, or skim over new newsletters. I read The New York Times and Axios’s Raleigh newsletter every morning. If it’s not too hot yet, I’ve enjoyed eating on our back porch and will watch the birds.

  • 9:45am: After that, I try to do some journaling or drawing to clear my head and prepare for the day and this leads into whatever I’m currently writing. I try to get a block of writing in before any other work comes up.

  • 10:30am: From here until noon, I’m usually tackling administrative work: responding to emails, preparing the Eye on Design newsletter, prepping projects, taking calls, etc.

  • 12:00pm: On a good day, by lunch time, I’ll feel like I’ve already accomplished a lot and try to go easier in the afternoon. I’ll make lunch for my partner and I and usually watch something while I’m eating. If there’s more to do after lunch, I’ll do that immediately after so I can spend the rest of the afternoon gardening, working on personal projects, running errands, or, on especially good days, watching a movie.

  1. To make things easier for myself, I am taking my first break from Scratching the Surface: for the summer, we’re rebroadcasting old episodes and I’ll be back in September with new episodes. Some of this was because I needed a break and wanted some space to think about what the future of the show looks like but also so I could make space for new and different projects for a few months.