a day in the life… and, let’s talk time hacks.


Someone recently told me I had poor time management skills. 


I almost laughed. 

If attending grad school full-time while working a full-time job or training for a 140.6 triathlon while working a full-time job have taught me anything, it’s been incredible time management skills. Without it, it would have been next to impossible to receive my MA in two years or to qualify for Kona. So, I beg to differ.

That statement got me thinking, though… how exactly do I manage my time to get it all in everyday (or, at least most of it)? Here’s a look at typical weekday, which is usually bookended with a 5:17a alarm and 10p bedtime. It’s pretty much go-go-go from the minute my feet hit the floor until I crawl back into bed that night. And, as much as I’d like to do nothing some days, I wouldn’t change this crazy + fun lifestyle for anything. 

Be sure to stop by every Friday in April as I run through my time hacks – strategies I’ve learned to help me maximize my time and fit in 15 hours of swimbikerun each week, a full-time job (with a shitty commute… 5-6.5 hours per week… waaah!) and quality time with family + friends. 

With that, here’s a peek at a typical weekday, my Wednesday this week… 

5:29a – good morning!

I overslept about 10 minutes – I like to be up and functioning for a bit before swimming – so I bounded out of bed when my alarm went off for the second time. While my coffee brewed in the Bialetti, I packed my post-swim breakfast and leftovers for lunch. Four bags in tow, and I’m out the door by 6a for masters (which is about 20-25 minutes away)!



6:30a – masters

Here we go, lane three! The 3,300-yard workout consisted of a lot of 100s + 150s and some flip turn work (they’re improving!). Not pictured below are my new ROKA R1 goggles in light vermillion… great peripheral vision, so clear and perfect color for indoor!


The pool is conveniently located two miles from my office, so I haul all my workday necessities with me and get ready at the community center. Bonus of getting up so early: I miss rush hour traffic from our house! I-494 is a breeze at 6:10a!


8:30a – arrive at work + breakfast

The first thing I do after arriving at work: Make my breakfast. I’m usually starving, so I can’t shovel my coconut-chia seed-pure clean powder oatmeal in my mouth fast enough. Other daily provisions include GT’s gratitude kombucha, Mary’s Gone Crackers, all the green tea and (not pictured) coconut barnana (and the pill box of Sound Probiotics, Optygen and vitamin D). 


8:45a – work all day

I recently transitioned to a senior writer + editor at work, so have been adjusting to new responsibilities and schedules. Today was a meeting-free day(!), so it was head down at my desk, writing, catching up on miscellaneous projects and digging through my inbox – and, many trips in between to the kitchen for hot tea! (Not pictured: bison, sweet potatoes + Brussels sprouts leftovers for lunch around 12:30p… too hungry and forgot to take a pic.)


4:25p – leave work

I tried to get out of the office a bit early to beat traffic, but alas, it still took 30 minutes to get home. There’s no easy route, and almost every evening commute is at least a half-hour (40-45 minutes is typical). In the parking garage prior to leaving…


5:05p – arrive home

VPN back in to the office to wrap up a bit more work before calling it a day around 6p. 

6:15p – evening ride prep + ride

My Argon 18 went to a new good home on Tuesday, so I prepped my Trek Madone road bike for the trainer… pedals on, rear wheel swap, new Garmin sensor battery. It took way longer than it should have (because my Garmin wouldn’t find the sensor on the rear wheel), so I didn’t start my 90-minute ride until 6:50p. The workout (a favorite!): 2x (10x – 1:00 hard + 1:00 recovery). An interesting ride since it was my first time on my road bike since September(?), and it doesn’t have power. The occasionally blind ride is a good reminder of what it should *feel* like! (High watts still hurt, in case you’re wondering.)


8:25p – done biking, dinner prep + dinner

Nick plays soccer on Wednesdays, so I was on my own for dinner. Tonight’s menu: deconstructed turkey tacos with avocado, pickled beets (THE BEST), cilantro and tortilla chips. Currently one of my favorite things to eat. Bonus: it takes less than 20 minutes to make. Inhaled while sitting on the sofa watching Criminal Minds.


9:15p – peppermint tea + personal work

This was the first time all day I really felt like I took a deep breath and relaxed. I did some mindless scrolling through social and worked on this blog post before I cleaned up the kitchen, brushed my teeth and crawled into bed.

10:15p – reading in bed + lights out

After about 20 pages in the Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, lights out and ready to repeat on Thursday!

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  • Reply Kecia 04/01/2016 at 9:37 am

    I’m impressed that you function on less than 8 hours of sleep. I’ve tried to do this, but have been VERY unsuccessful. Your very busy day sounds very similar to mine, but I start my Wednesday’s with a ride and end with a swim due to the lack of availability of the pool on Wednesday mornings.

    • Reply Courtney 04/01/2016 at 5:28 pm

      same here! my body wants 9 hours, anything less than 8.5 and I’m tired – I can still make it work for a handful of days, but burn out. I am jealous of this :)

      • Reply erin 04/02/2016 at 7:58 pm

        If I didn’t have to commute…! :) Anything less than seven for two or more consecutive nights, and I’m toast. That said, I know I don’t get enough and have been working on getting to bed earlier. It’s hard with double workouts, a full-time job, commute, life!

    • Reply erin 04/02/2016 at 8:00 pm

      It’s a work in progress to get more, as I should get at least another hour! But, that said, I’m usually ok with 7-8 hours, but I’m a mess on anything less for more than one consecutive night.

  • Reply Laura 04/01/2016 at 11:58 am

    You really are scheduled down to the minute! I love seeing how different people juggle their schedules. :-)
    Have to say, I did laugh at the idea of 6 hours a week being a bad commute…but I’m in DC, so that’s a whole different animal. My good commute is 5.5 per week. Old job was bad: 15 hours a week gone to sitting in gridlock.

    • Reply erin 04/02/2016 at 7:55 pm

      OMG… 15 hours a week stuck in traffic?! That sounds horrendous. Glad it’s much shorter now! Would love to see you how your day’s structured, too!

      • Reply Laura @ try & TRI again 04/03/2016 at 7:32 pm

        Yeah, people in DC wear their bad commutes like a badge of honor. I finally decided to give it up, even though it meant making less money. Dollars vs time? I’ll take time every time!
        My day’s are easy to structure compared to you….the benefits of sprint/oly focus!

        • Reply erin 04/08/2016 at 6:10 pm

          I’m with you… time always wins!

  • Reply hyedi 04/01/2016 at 12:15 pm

    I’m excited for this series! Also, do you pickle your own beets or buy them pre-made?

    • Reply erin 04/01/2016 at 5:40 pm

      I’d love to pickle my own beets, but not enough time! We buy at Costco… they’re so good!

  • Reply Lindsay Dunton 04/01/2016 at 1:46 pm

    You are WONDER WOMAN! Please share that recipe for your delicious coconut oatmeal with the beet juice powder! Looks delish! Keep at it! You rock!

    • Reply erin 04/01/2016 at 5:41 pm

      Adding it to my list of post ideas… thanks, Lindsay! Not every single weekday is this busy… only had one workout on Thursday, so got to sleep in a bit :) Hope you’re well!

  • Reply Kerstin 04/01/2016 at 3:32 pm

    Fun! It’s like I just got to hang out with you all day. Where are swimming with masters that starts at 6:30am! Jealous! I just stopped because I couldn’t make the 6am start time.

    • Reply erin 04/01/2016 at 5:42 pm

      It’s a bit of a hike, but Hopkins masters! It’s fantastic… come swim with me! There’s a 7:30a class, too :) Hope you’re well!

  • Reply Luv What You Do 04/01/2016 at 5:22 pm

    You are so inspirational! And manage your time amazingly!

    • Reply erin 04/02/2016 at 7:54 pm

      Thank you, lady!

  • Reply Kendra Krueger 04/01/2016 at 5:48 pm

    I think you need to ditch whoever said that to you! You are a machine and I’m inspired by your drive! And these pickled beets…….where oh where at Costco do they have them?! I’ve looked before and they’ve always eluded me. Headed there this weekend and determined to find! And that 6:30am masters time is perfection…..so much better than 5:30 or 6:00am.

    • Reply erin 04/02/2016 at 8:02 pm

      Right?! Glad you found the beets today… you’re gonna be hooked! ;) We bought three jars last week and are halfway through the second one already! Come join me at masters! The 6:30a class is fun!

  • Reply Lauren 04/01/2016 at 8:04 pm

    I’d love to know your pickled beets recipe!(or if you buy them). They sound like such a great addition to taco night!

    • Reply erin 04/02/2016 at 7:50 pm

      They’re from Costco, Lauren! SO GOOD!

  • Reply katielookingforward 04/01/2016 at 8:35 pm

    Question….are there any triathlon clubs or swimming clubs that would welcome a novice? I’ve done superior man’s short course, and a few other sprints. I’m looking for group rides or swims, open water would especially be wonderful. Any suggestions you have, thank you!!

    • Reply erin 04/02/2016 at 7:53 pm

      Hi, Katie! My masters group (Hopkins) has all ages and abilities, as we’re grouped in a lane based on our 100 pace. Find more here :http://www.genesisaquatics.org/#!masters/pf2ir … it’s a super fun and welcoming group, and coach Scott is great!

      I’m not sure on group rides… where do you live in MPLSTP? There’s an open water swim group at Nokomis on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer. Not sure on time or other details, but I’ve heard good things!

      What’s on your race calendar this year?! Hope your training is going well!

  • Reply Jen 04/02/2016 at 10:07 pm

    Ugh, I’d be PISSED if someone told me that! But sounds like you took your ZFG and Not Giving a F*&K and channeled it into an awesome blog post. Love this glimpse into your day-to-day.

    • Reply erin 04/08/2016 at 6:02 pm

      Right?! I’m still annoyed by the comment, but #ZFG. Thanks, Jen!

  • Reply Beth 04/03/2016 at 9:44 am

    I love reading these type of posts, so interesting to see how others fit everything in. You do seem to have good time management (obviously) so whoever said that just isn’t paying attention.

    • Reply erin 04/08/2016 at 6:02 pm

      Me, too… I’d love to read about yours, too! Thank you! Clearly not paying attention!

  • Reply Kristina 04/03/2016 at 1:42 pm

    I love it when people make blanket statements about other people’s lives – such as the person who said that you had poor time management skills. That is a total WTF statement, especially as I read through this post! What I find interesting about my own life is that when I don’t have a busy schedule (life recently), I find it more challenging to “fit it all in” – instead, I fit in nothing!

    • Reply erin 04/08/2016 at 6:05 pm

      Ha… right?! Totally agree. I’m with you… the less I have to do, the more I procrastinate and get nothing done! Hope all’s well, Kristina!

  • Reply Leslie @ TriathleteTreats 04/03/2016 at 11:22 pm

    Looks like you got it down to a science!!! How many days a week do you swim with Masters?! Are you waiting for a new bike? Why did you sell your Argon?

    • Reply erin 04/06/2016 at 8:48 am

      Working on it! ;) I usually swim masters three days a week. Yep… new Argon should be here soon! (Sold my old one because of the new one!)

  • Reply Jessie 04/04/2016 at 7:17 pm

    What a fun post and I can’t believe someone would say you don’t manage your time well- what the heck?!? I don’t know how you find time to blog!

    BTW, I am loving that shampoo you suggested in a post a few weeks ago!

    • Reply erin 04/06/2016 at 8:47 am

      WTF is right! I do a lot of my writing on early weekend mornings before my training :) I don’t know how you find time to blog, either… it’s hard to squeeze it all in some days, isn’t it?!

      So glad you’re loving the shampoo, too! Doesn’t it smell amazing?!

  • Reply amyand2vizslas 04/05/2016 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Erin. I was wondering how many calories you eat per day on average to stay fueled for your workouts.

    • Reply erin 04/05/2016 at 2:35 pm

      Hi, Amy! Funny you ask… I just added a day in the life of my eats to my post list! I’ve never actually counted my calories, but hopefully the post will give you an idea 😊 there’s always dark chocolate!

  • Reply Feisty Eats 04/05/2016 at 7:05 pm

    Love these posts with an inside look into a person’s daily life. It’s just so interesting to see how different we each are. My husband has a one mile commute to his job is all – with no traffic. Mine is 15 miles, so 15 minutes. That is one of the upside(s) of living in North Dakota. No traffic!

    • Reply erin 04/06/2016 at 8:45 am

      What I wouldn’t give for either one of your commutes! Back in my newspaper reporter days in Alexandria, I lived on the same block as my office… it was SO nice to walk to work – and, ton more time in my day!

  • Reply Caitlin 04/06/2016 at 11:17 am

    Loved reading this. I can usually swing days like this for a bit of a stretch and I always feel like a superhero when I do, but then the inevitable collapse happens, usually because my shift got yanked around, which in turn disrupted my sleep and turned me into a mess.

    *honestly, what I wouldn’t give for a schedule that is steady and predictable. My current work situation is no good for a triathlete/runner who thrives on routine.

    • Reply erin 04/08/2016 at 6:10 pm

      Disrupted sleep is the WORST – and, a lack of it really messes things up. Do you typically during the day or does it vary? I used to be in the newspaper biz, so had meetings on random evenings (oh, county board beat!). It was painful, especially on gorgeous summer days when all I wanted to do was ride my bike!

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