Routine Porn

There’s a bizarre trend emerging from the depths of YouTube and Instagram at the moment. People seem to want to share their morning, evening or even daily routines in a vague attempt at ‘encouraging people to live a better life’.

This all probably started with our favourite resident hustle porn star, Tim Ferriss, with his morning and evening routine videos from 2016.

Now, in fairness to Tim, he is promoting a certain kind of lifestyle as part of his overall message to encourage people to drop the 9 to 5 and create something of their own. Whether it be through starting your own company, or simply travelling, he preaches a fairly standard message across the board.

What I can’t stand, however, are the hoards of YouTubers and influencers jumping on this bandwagon, pretending that they write 25 minutes in a journal every morning, listen to 30 minutes of an audiobook and all manner of other bizarre things.

The same applies to people interviewing the world’s leading CEOs and entrepreneurs, desperate to know how they start the day, as if that somehow is the differentiating factor between being able to create a $50 billion company or not being able to.

The real question is: who has the time to actually do half this crap?

I get up at 5:30am most days due to a, quite frankly, irritating body clock. I’ve grown to like waking up at this time, mainly because I can get a walk in early morning before London wakes up and I get suffocated with pollution or get mown down by hoards of bankers, but also so that I can get a head start on work. Without this extra time every morning, I would probably fall behind quite quickly and soon be overwhelmed with emails.

I dream of a day where I have the time, or patience, to sit down in front of a mirror every morning with scented candles lit around me, practising some vinyasa yoga to the soothing tones of Barry White’s memoirs, in some vague attempt at becoming ‘a better person’.

What also baffles me is that these people are positioning themselves as leading authorities on the subject, somehow making it seem like they have performed extensive research on whether or not having a cold shower in the morning makes you work better, or that they have personally met Wim Hof.

I subscribe to Matt D’Avella’s approach to such ‘productivity challenges’ which is to try one of these ‘hacks’ for 30 days, and if it becomes a habit then great. If not, don’t kick yourself and just move on.

At the end of the day, every person will have a different natural sleep cycle, a different working life and a different set of challenges, whether that be physical, economical or anything else.

Following these morning and evening routines won’t get you anywhere if you don’t enjoy doing them. Forcing yourself to jump into a freezing cold shower at 3:30am just because you saw Mark Wahlberg does it is frankly ridiculous unless you have the capability to wake up that early, the balls (or lack thereof) to have a freezing cold shower and the desire to do it in the first place.

There’s a video I saw recently which sums up my thoughts on this whole sorry affair which I have embedded below. The same channel also did a version for men and their routines which I have put at the end of this opinion piece, but the message is still the same.

Ultimately, you have to do what feels right for you and your body. If you find yourself in a slump productivity-wise, look at the simple things first:

  1. Are you sleeping enough?
  2. Are you drinking enough water?
  3. Are you eating healthily enough?
  4. Is there something on your mind that’s bothering you?

Beyond these things, you can optimise your schedule depending on your circumstances and lifestyle.

If all you have to do every day is answer sponsored post emails from the latest charcoal teeth whitening startup, then you’re probably bored out of your mind and need to do something like yoga and take 76.3 minutes to brew a cup of coffee just to make it through the day.

If you have a 9 to 5 job, which is probably actually an 8 to 6 job, then maybe consider waking up a bit earlier and going to bed earlier to give you the time to hit the gym or go for a run before work. Or flip it on its head, and get all your stuff ready the night before so you can just wake up, shower and head straight to work early, leaving your evening free to do whatever you want.

Doing a bullet journal with pretty illustrations isn’t going to make you a better person; knowing who you are as an individual and understanding your strengths and weaknesses more likely will.

Other Videos

Below are some other videos which, rather mockingly, illustrate the point I have tried to make. They are well worth a watch if you want a chuckle.


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