Talking about daily routines: At home, at work, and in service

Life happens everyday.

When learning English, it is sometimes best to review and practice the basics, such as the present and simple past tense.  It may surprise you that much of the training I did with students studying for IELTS tests revolved around the simple past tense.  This is because tests like IELTS will ask you to talk about your life… and much of story telling is done in the past.  Honestly, many conversations that involve using the simple past because you are telling people about where you are from, what you did there, and how you became the person you are today (all things that happened in the past).

The tables below show you some of the vocabulary to talk about your daily life with others in English, be they classmates, co-workers, or guests.  Notice the patterning of the questions and answers, and how the responses mirror the questions.

Talk about daily routine
What time do you wake up? I usually wake up at 6:00 AM.
What time do you have breakfast? I usually eat breakfast at 7:00 AM
What else do you do in the morning? Sometimes I check my WeChat.
When do you have lunch? I often have lunch at noon.
When do you have dinner? I usually have (eat) dinner at 6:30 PM
What time do you go to school? I usually go to school about 8 AM
When do you watch TV, or use your computer? I sometimes watch TV after dinner.
When do you do your homework? I do my homework at 7 o’clock.
What time do you go to bed? I usually go to bed at about 11 PM.

When discussing daily routines, the past will often come up.

What did you do yesterday?
What time did you wake up? I woke up about …
What time did you have breakfast? I ate breakfast at …
What else did you do in the morning? I called ….
When did you have lunch? I had …
When did you have
I had …
What time did you go to school? I went …
When did you watch TV, or use your computer? I watched ….
When did you do your homework? I did      ….
What time did you go to bed? I went …

The same patterns can be used to discuss your job with others.  You will be amazed at how much you can talk about using these simple sentences.

Talk about daily routine (WORKPLACE)
What time do you leave for work? I usually leave for work at 8:00 AM.
What time do you start your shift? I usually start my shift at 9 o’clock.
What else do you do in the morning? Sometimes I go to work early to use the fitness room.
When do you have your lunch break? I often have my lunch break at noon.
When do you finish work? I usually finish work at 5:30 PM

Guests will often ask you questions about things that happen daily.  Look at the examples below, what other “daily routine” questions might a guest ask?

Talk about daily routine (IN SERVICE)
What time does the pool open? The pool usually opens at 6:00 AM.
What time do you start serving breakfast? We start serving breakfast at 6:00 AM. We serve breakfast until 11:00 AM. (SERVICE TOUCH: Important info (…serve breakfast until 11:00 AM) was given without being asked)
What else can we do in the morning? Sometimes there are yoga lessons in the fitness room, or you could go for a swim.
When do we need to check out? You should try (notice the response was softened) to checkout by noon.

A personal daily routine is not usually discussed with a guest, however there are times when it is acceptable. It all depends on the circumstances and the level of comfort your guest has with you. The same language could however, be used for small talk with a guest.

What did you do yesterday? (IN SERVICE)
What time did your flight arrive last night? My flight arrived about …
(Guests had dinner at the same restaurant. Waiter could ask…) What did you have for dinner last night? Maybe you can try something new. I had the …

He / She had the…

A day in the life of a Front Desk Agent

Here is an example of the daily routine of a Front Desk Agent in Canada.   You might be surprised at how similar her daily routine is to yours!

  • Hi, my name is Shannon.
  • I live in a small town called Whistler in Canada. Whistler is famous for skiing and recreation. I work at the Fairmont Hotel as a Front Desk Agent.
  • I get up at 6:00 AM in the morning and take a shower.
  • Before I go to work, I usually eat breakfast and check Facebook.
  • I start work at 9 o’clock in the morning.
  • During my first break, I will usually have some fruit as a snack and a cup of coffee.
  • The morning is usually very busy, as many guests are checking out.
  • Lunchtime is at 1:00. Time to relax…
  • After lunch, I take care of any late check-outs.
  • Sometimes, after work, I will go for a drink or an appetizer with my friends or co-workers.
  • When I get home, I like to go for a walk by the river.
  • I usually make dinner at 6:00 PM.
  • After dinner, I like to watch TV or play games on my phone.
  • I am usually in bed by 10:00 PM and asleep by 11:00 because I like to read before bed.

What’s your daily routine?  Add a comment below and tell us something about your daily routine.

By James

I'm the creator of the 3A Hospitality English Program and Co-Founder of I lived and taught in China for a few years and am currently back in BC, Canada. Thanks for joining us here, I hope we can learn some cool new things together!