- Brandon, a podcaster known as “Mad Fientist”, became financially independent and quit his job 6 years ago.
- Since his early retirement, he has discovered that having a routine is crucial.
- Without a routine, he doesn’t find time for the creative projects he originally retired from.
What do you do when you retire at 30?
Brandon, a podcaster and blogger known as “Mad Fientist” who goes by his first name only online, told Insider that since achieving financial independence and retiring six years ago at age 34, he has discovered that the most important lesson learned is that routine is crucial for those no longer in the traditional workforce.
“If you had told me before FI that I would have a super strict routine, I would have thought ‘what’s the point?'” Brandon said.
Ultimately, though, he’s realized in recent years that having a routine drives him to eat, sleep, and live better, which gives him energy to tackle creative projects — which is why he sought to achieve financial independence in the first place.
“It took me about three years to find the perfect balance between work and play and develop my routine,” Brandon said.
See how he is spending his “post-FI” days.
Your gym routine sets the tone for the entire day
Brandon told Insider that the first thing he does every morning when he wakes up is go to the gym to work out. “If I do that, all my other habits will be a lot easier to do,” he said. “If I don’t, all my other habits fall apart.”
This was put to the test when the pandemic kept him out of the gym for two years.
“I just came back for the first time last month and again it re-established all these other habits,” he said. “I started to eat better, sleep better, do more during the day and resumed my reading habit.”
He makes time for his passion projects earlier in the day
After hitting the gym, the next part of Brandon’s “post-FI” day is spending several hours working on passion projects – sometimes this includes working on Mad Fientist, but Brandon has other creative endeavors as well.
“Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of writing and releasing an album,” Brandon said. “It didn’t matter if anyone listened. If it was good enough for me to cast – that was my goal.”
Brandon told Insider that after leaving the workforce, he found that the biggest obstacle to achieving his dreams wasn’t having a full-time job, but that doubt caused him to procrastinate on the things he wanted to do.
“I was too scared to try, because if I tried and I failed, I would lose the dream forever,” Brandon said. “Even if it would result in me never doing it, because I never made any progress.”
For this reason, Brandon tries to carve out time for his passion projects during the early hours of the day, before “doubt can arise”.
“If I’ve tried doing it at night for some reason, I think it’s all terrible,” he continued.
Afternoons are for your to-do list and relaxation
After tackling his passion projects, Brandon will move on to “non-creative” chores in the afternoon and then enjoy spending his evenings making dinner, watching television with his wife, and reading before bed.
He said he loves his routine and that it is key to creating balance in his life. “It allowed me to have a lot more fun when I did things like travel or meet friends — because I did that less often, so it was special,” Brandon said.
At first, before the pandemic, Brandon said he spent his post-work days saying “yes” to everything — family gatherings, outings with friends, or any Mad Fientist-related opportunity. This caused him to miss out on all the things he originally retired early to do because he didn’t have time for any of that.
In particular, Brandon said that traveling a lot tired him after a while, and that now he only takes trips for special occasions, which is what keeps them fun and stress-free. “You want to look forward to it, get excited about it,” he says. “And then you want to be kind of sad when you leave – not just exhausted from being on the road.”