The turbo geek’s morning rituals are entertainment, not inspiration

Is that a winning morning routine: breakfast and newspaper in bed, before starting work in bed too? It certainly worked for Winston Churchill.

But among entrepreneurs and modern business leaders, Churchill would be considered a lazybones. In recent years, turbo nerds have struggled to squeeze cross-training, meditation and bullet journaling into the wartime Prime Minister’s snoozing hours.

One example went viral on Twitter this week after being shared by the satirical account. The State of LinkedIn. It was from Christian Knudsen, a self-proclaimed “sales guru,” whose LinkedIn post (from three years ago) was tantamount to a dystopian poem: “4:30am. I wake up. Instantly. From the nebulousness of dreams to the readiness of full consciousness. As I have been doing for over fifteen years. A quick kiss on my wife’s sleepy head, I continue with my morning routine. Somewhat envious of my childhood sleep, I look into my children’s room and go down the stairs to the kitchen, the smell of freshly brewed coffee fills my senses. . . I go to my office with coffee in hand. The glow of twenty-four screens comes to life as I enter.”

Shortly after Knudsen was roused from the fog, so too is Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s former chief executive, awake and busy. His routine is said to include waking up at 5 a.m. to meditate for an hour, run six miles, and then plunge into an ice bath.

Nothing beats actor Mark Wahlberg’s schedule, however, who wakes up at 2:30 a.m. for a prayer and breakfast before exercising between 3:40 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. While many of us (me) have our second coffee of the day at 9:30 am, Wahlberg recovers from intense cardio in the -100°C frozen cryochamber. Proponents of these extreme routines are rarely bothered by toddler tantrums or indeed household drudgery.

MMMs™ (macho, masochistic mornings) are easy to pillory. But they are popular with those who hope they too can make millions, or at least climb the corporate ladder, by following the schedules of successful people — making beds, journaling, reading, exercising.

Of course, like the dieting industry, there is a market for personal productivity. Tim Ferriss, the self-improvement author and entrepreneur best known for his book, The four hour weekShe celebrated great success with a podcast that asks sports stars, actors and entrepreneurs about their questions routines, among other things. ferris crack In the morning Think also of Stoic philosophers like the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who wrote: “When you wake up in the morning, say to yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly be . . . None of them can hurt me.”

There’s an air of moral superiority about these morning larks that irritates us night owls (in my ideal world, I’d go to bed at 2am when Wahlberg wakes up). But it also seems pretty wrong. Is an early start the key to success or a happy accident? After all, for every entrepreneur who mixes protein shakes at 4 a.m., there are several cleaners who eat toast before heading to the office to empty the trash cans and pour bleach down the toilets.

I was hoping that the pandemic would put an end to MMMs™ appreciation, but they turned out to be the proverbial cockroach of the apocalypse. This year, “quiet quietly” — work your hours and not another minute — went viral on social media. But there is also another trend: the Five to Nine. This turned self-care into a performance art, as TikTok videos followed morning routines, starting with a 5am wake, followed by extensive beauty routines, vigorous exercise, and an intricate, nutritious breakfast ready for the 9-5.

Such schedules create a reassuring order in a world obsessed with productivity. A recent Microsoft survey revealed a “productivity paranoia” among bosses that hybrid work allows employees to slack off. Maybe it rubs off on some workers too?

Philip Hancock, professor of work and organization at the University of Essex, notes a “sharper division” between those who are “shunning the cult of productivity” and those who are doubling down after the lockdowns.

“For most professionals,” he tells me. “The career ladder remains crowded and the need to gain an edge is constantly pushed – schools encourage students to engage in extracurricular activities, not as an end in themselves but as a contribution to their resume. For this reason we have started to see every activity on the market as an investment in ourselves.” This has the added benefit of not costing employers or the state a penny.

Of course, productivity porn has another benefit: procrastination. Let’s go. Read through as many morning routines as you can handle, but make sure you do this in bed. Churchill would agree. The turbo geek’s morning rituals are entertainment, not inspiration

Adam Bradshaw

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