In a previous post, I talked about my Marines, and a little bit about what we do. This week, I’ll take a few minutes to talk about a typical day. Five days a week – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday – I wake up early to go work out. I choose these days because they are our regular “work days”. Fridays and Sundays are “sleep-in” days. On these two days, we do not have to be at work until 1 PM. It’s a nice break from the routine, just to get a chance to sleep in (literally), Skype with friends, do laundry, blog (!) or do whatever else we might like to do (perhaps visit Bastion for orange juice/pizza).
For now, let me get back to an “average” day. As at home, I like to get my workout in first thing in the morning, so I do not have to worry about it the rest of the day. Let’s begin there.
4:00 AM – wake, run to gym
4:30 AM – lift weights, cardio, return to room
6:00 AM – change for work
7:00 AM – arrive at work, check emails, prepare PowerPoint slide for morning meeting
8:15 AM – depart for morning meeting, which covers basic updates from all Group staff members from the previous day (Here I distinguish between Group Staff, which includes the Lieutenant Colonel as Commanding Officer and his primary staff members – which includes me – and my staff, which is Retrograde Operations Company Staff)
8:45 AM – meet with various members of the Group staff, depending on the questions I have. This could take a while (an hour) or just a few minutes.
At this point, the morning is not usually mine. I either have meetings, or get caught up in impromptu discussions, and generally find myself pulled in several different directions. Sometimes, I’m able to return to my office for some peace and quiet (and paperwork!).
Often, I don’t get time to myself again until 11:00 AM (when most of the Marines go to lunch).
11:00 AM – catch up meetings/discussions with my staff, email and paperwork catch-up time. Most days, I eat at my desk. Some things just don’t change, whether I’m in Washington, D.C. or Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. So, please allow me to send a big “thank you” to everyone who has sent care packages, and to Amazon.com. You are the reason I get to eat, and get to eat healthfully! J It never ceases to amaze me that Amazon can get something out here in as little as ten days. I have renewed affection for everything Amazon.com.
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
In the early afternoon, I like to schedule things. I have the most control over the day during this time, and like to take advantage of that. I meet with Marines for end of service interviews; I meet with my Company First Sergeant to talk about the Marines, brainstorm ideas; I walk the lot; I work with the Marines.
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
End of day discussions/meetings with my staff.
This process does usually take two hours. A lot happens during the day, and for all of us to be on the same page, we need to back brief each other. This coordination, and the time it takes, are necessary steps in our success.
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM (9:00 PM)
Depart work, dinner (in room or at messhall), shower (again), unwind, read, check personal emails, go to bed.
During the first month, I worked 13-14 hour days. There was so much to do, and the requirements never let up. At some point during the past two weeks, I decided that I could not maintain that pace through the deployment. So I have been making a concerted effort to work less than 12 hours each day. I have been pretty successful, and am finding ways to economize my time during the day to get more done so I can leave earlier.
This has enabled me to do things like go to dinner with my Marines, or grab a to-go box and take it back to my room. I enjoy taking my meals with my Marines, especially my staff. It provides an opportunity for all of us to unwind a bit, to learn more about each other’s families and lives back in the U.S., connecting about something other than work.
Once back in my room, clean and refreshed from an evening shower, I like to check my personal emails, catch up with friends back home, and read. I’m rediscovering the joy of fiction reading (thanks to a friend of mine from work) and usually end my night with reading a chapter or two. Eventually, I would like to incorporate yoga into my evening routine. That notion is ambitious today, but I’m confident that I will find time for that as the days progress.