Throughout my 30+ years of private practice I would, from time to time, work with people who had to structure their own days. They had decided to start their own business, were laid off, retired, or simply could choose to not work in their old careers. I think most people who work long, hard hours in an office think this would be a wonderful situation (if money is no problem).
As it turns out, having absolutely no external structure to your day can be pretty stressful. You have to figure out how to spend every hour. If you are a very organized person with clear goals, you will have an easier time making a list of tasks and goals, then getting to it.
If you are less self-motivated and less organized, you will have a bit more anxiety as time slips away and you are getting nothing done.
Humans all need to have some stability. And all human beings need change. If you are faced with a blank canvas on which to paint your daily routine, focus on the word routine. Then add variety at the end of every day.
Even if initially it feels artificial, set a routine for yourself and stick to it. Have your coffee/tea/smoothie at the same time each morning. Give yourself time to do something that requires exertion and is helpful to your overall well-being everyday at a set time. Exercise, meditate, work in the garden, clean one room in your house, but do the one(s) you choose at the same time each day.
If you are working on a project to start a new business, are job hunting, are deciding what your next step will be, then set a drop-dead time to sit down to work or research. Also set the number of hours to work, with built in breaks that are time limited. Stick to the schedule. Don’t take any personal calls or breaks that you wouldn’t take when you were at your job. You are at your job.
Then when it is time to stop as per your schedule, take time off to do whatever arises that day. Let the end of your work day be your opportunity for the variety: go out with friends, cook with a friend, watch a favorite TV show, whatever.
How you really want to spend your time on an ongoing basis will become apparent as time goes on. The structure will morph into something organic for your life. Your free time will probably remain what you’ve always done for fun and excitement.
There will be days that sticking to that schedule will be like gritting your teeth and toughing it out. Just do it. You will end up with your creation, whatever that will be. You will also really enjoy the fun stuff at the end of the day.