A day in the life of an indie developer dad

A day in the life of an indie developer dad
In Jozan-kei

Hi, it's Takuya. It's been a while since I've shared anything about my life, so I thought I'd take a moment to dive into that. I've been living off of my app called Inkdrop for over 7 years.

Our child is growing steadily, nearing the age of 3 in just a few months. Our daily patterns have somewhat settled, so now seems like a good time to lay out what our typical routine looks like.

A weekday in our life

  • 06:30 My wife and child wake up and have breakfast.
  • 07:10-07:30 I wake up and eat breakfast.
  • 07:40 I fold the futons while dressing the kid. My wife uses this time for makeup and commute preparations.
  • 08:00 A quick stretching and workout session: 50 push-ups and 100 squats.
  • 08:10 I see off my wife and child, followed by about 15 minutes of meditation.
  • 08:30 Morning walk.
  • 09:00 Start work (either at a café or at home).
  • 11:00 Lunch.
  • 12:00 Relaxation time.
  • 12:30 Resume work (usually at home).
  • 15:30 If needed, head out for grocery shopping.
  • 16:20 Hit the gym for a 3km run and some weight training.
  • 16:30 The child returns from daycare, picked up by my wife.
  • 17:00 Prepare dinner.
  • 17:30 Dinner time.
  • 18:30-19:30 Leisure time with the family.
  • 20:00 Bath time (usually handled by my wife), while the other tidies up the room or prepares the beds.
  • 20:30 Post-bath care for the child, including moisturizing and changing clothes.
  • 20:40 Storytime and putting the child to bed (takes about 40 minutes to an hour).
  • 21:30 Time for the couple to chat or enjoy personal time.
  • 22:30 My wife goes to bed.
  • 24:00 I go to sleep.

My work hours total about 6 hours a day, a consistent limit to my focus, just as it was 6 years ago. Ideally, I'd match my sleeping and waking times with my family, but as a night owl, that's proven difficult. I frequent cafés when I crave a connection with society, though I find I work better from home.

Playing a session with my kid

Dividing household chores

My wife works full-time on a reduced schedule. She primarily handles daycare drop-offs and pick-ups since it's on her way to work. I step in for pickups or when unexpected events arise, such as if our child falls ill at daycare.

I'm in charge of cooking, making daily home-cooked meals. Without a commute, cooking helps me switch into home mode mentally. Our child is picky but will eat things like broccoli, eggs, and sweet potatoes, so I often prepare these in salads. For other dishes, I make simple, separate servings.

Laundry is a thrice-daily task, with towels in the morning, clothes at noon, and our daughter's clothes (air-dried) at night, managed by my wife.

Cleaning is mostly automated thanks to our Roomba, and we hire a cleaning service every other week. This frees up our weekends from chores, allowing us to focus on resting. It's not cheap, but we see it as buying time, which is well worth it.

Accepting limitations gracefully

Before our child was born, I had ample free time in the evenings for gaming, reading, and even traveling abroad. Now, those freedoms are largely restricted. I haven't taken solo overnight trips since our child's arrival. On days when app development doesn't go as planned, I still need to wrap up in time for daycare pickup, which can be a source of tension. My wife has even remarked that I seem "on edge" at times. Switching gears can be challenging.

However, fretting over the unfeasible serves no purpose. Forcing a solo trip during our child's first year would've likely led to lifelong resentment from my wife. It's best to accept that "this is just how it is for now." Rather than lamenting what can't be done, I focus on spending as much quality time as possible with this rapidly changing little being while we're all healthy and able.

Yet, preaching rationality to oneself doesn't always ease the burden, as I discovered last summer when my eczema flared up severely. I felt frustrated and angry at my inability to meet everyone's expectations and manage family life smoothly. The key, I've found, is not to demand too much from oneself.

Embracing uncertainty with open arms

Living off indie development is an endless, unsupported path filled with instability and uncertainty. When anxiety hits, I consider the worst-case scenarios, like losing all users and revenue. But then, I remind myself that it wouldn't be the end of the world.

I practice 'Build in Public,' sharing insights gained from my development journey. This approach has earned me some recognition in the React Native community, for example. Even if I had to start over, the value of the information I've shared remains. It wouldn't leave me adrift, and it might even help fulfill another dream of working abroad. My wife listens to these musings with a positive outlook.

So, despite the constraints, I try to take things easy.

In Conclusion

With a spirit of resignation or perhaps defiance, I continue to engage in endless rounds of pretend play with my nearly 3-year-old. I would like to thank my wife, who understands and supports my endeavors.