Career

A Morning Routine That Won’t Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

I typically peel my eyes open after 4 snoozes of my alarm, stare at the ceiling for 2 minutes, at my phone for another 10, scuttle over to the shower and only come to when I realise the water is far too hot and I can feel it burning my nerve endings.

I might eat a boiled egg or two on toast after that, hastily slap on my make up and run for a bus that I’ll probably miss because I spent far too long staring blankly at my wardrobe earlier. And, oh crap, I’ll forget my headphones.

This is my morning routine.

And I’m not ashamed of it, either. Sure, I could benefit a little from reining in my time but you know what? I get everything I need done, and then some. At the end of the day, when I flick off my lamp at some (probably ungodly) hour, I feel content about all the things I’ve achieved. I do pretty well. So do my friends and colleagues who eat breakfast at work, exercise in the evening instead of the morning and fail to drink a drop of water before 11am. They’re super successful doing what they do, and I’ve never once heard them talk about meditating before sunrise.

Yet so much career advice peppering the internet tells us that the only way to be successful is to have a productive, early morning routine down pat, making us all feel terrible about how less-than-perfect our own is. We’re told about Jen Aniston’s three hours of exercise each morning, and that every CEO has a 5am alarm. How is that achievable for a regular nine to fiver with a social life?

In a recent Lenny Letter, writer Rachel Seville Tashjian reminded us all that a flawless, angelic beauty routine is bogus. We don’t need to drink green juice and have a static rising time in order to sustain success in our everyday lives. For many people, just getting by in a regular, happy, successful career feels good enough.

As Tashjian pointed out, “The characters who populate these tortured lists aren’t wildly successful because they exercise for two hours and massage their matcha powder with a brush made of preserved spider legs. Perhaps they do these things because they are already wired to think differently, weirdly, ambitiously.”

They’re doing their own thing, and we’re doing ours. And if a slow, unimpressive morning routine means you still feel happy about your day, keep doing it.

Besides, Winston Churchill famously didn’t get out of bed until 11am! That’s way worse than you, and you don’t have an entire country to run. As pointed out on The Entrepreneur, you won’t see Pharrell Williams before 9am and Reddit co-founder Alex Ohanian doesn’t get up until 10 (which sounds about right for a redditor).

Australian engineer, activist and television personality Yassmin Abdel-Magied told Extraordinary Routines that she snoozes her alarm as much as anyone, “I’m generally asleep say between twelve-thirty and two in the morning. I’m much more a night person than a day person, and before I go to bed I need to set twenty alarms. I have 7:02, 7:05, 7:08…”

So here’s how create your perfect morning routine: do whatever you’re already doing. Wake up at the same time you usually do. Eat breakfast, or not. Grab a coffee, or not. Meditate, or not. Make your commitments on time, do your work and if you feel pretty stoked about getting through the day, don’t change a thing.