Morning Routines: Revisited


Stories, May 05



    Until now, we should think that we have learned everything about the phenomena called “the morning routine.” Influencers and celebrities share their morning routines as one of the biggest reason for being productive, successful, healthy, etc. Their reveal of how they start their day is not really a secret or something that, to us, the common people, never crossed our minds. Everyone’s routine is pretty much the same: wake up early, drink lots of water, eat healthy, meditate, and exercise.

    You can find solid data on the Internet about tips on how to start your day. The titles of the articles are always catchy and they go like this: “The 24-Minute Morning Routine That Will Make You an Entrepreneurial Rock Star”; “The Morning Routines Of The Most Successful People”; “Morning Routine: How I get ready before work”… Most of the titles suggest that the morning routine is all about getting ready for work, promising to help you in your career. That means, your working day starts the moment when you wake up. Some tips suggest that you should start your morning routine the night before so you can have stress-free morning and productive work “that’ll help you become an entrepreneur.” There is nothing wrong in becoming an entrepreneur, something that these articles are promising you by following their tips. But that means that their routine is a recipe of how to become one, which is a lie.

    Even though the morning routine gurus (aren’t we all?) share some healthy advice, the concept of waking up with a routine becomes more and more a matter of the capitalistic machinery, and not a matter of well being. The morning routine is now an industry. You can even buy self-help books like: “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast”, “My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired” and “The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: Before 8AM”. And it doesn’t stop there, some websites share not only their ideal morning routine (which is almost always the same one), they are promoting products you can buy to start your day right, like a coffee machine, a water bottle, skin care products, you name it.

    Slavoj Žižek believes that nature is crazy, chaotic, unpredictable, and too violent. The Macedonian dramatist and screenwriter Goran Stefanovski thinks that nature is bizarre. Sleeping is part of our nature, something that we can’t control. We need to sleep in order to survive and we need to wake up to live. As Goran Stefanovski says, “You need to brush your teeth in the morning, you can’t leave the house the way you just woke up, it’s how we start to look presentable.” For this reason, sleeping is the chaos of our minds, something that we can’t reason with. The morning routine is not a part of our nature, it is something that we learned and accepted as a habit, a matter of culture that helps us ease into civilization. A matter of the working culture, actually, because most of the routines are preparing us on how to work better and how to work harder. For Karl Marx, “labor is a form of intercourse with nature which gives birth to a social order.”  

The routines are structured like our work. Spending our free mornings preparing for work is letting more time into the structure and less to the natural spontaneous flow. So, is there any other way to change the status quo and break the machine?

    Hans Ulrich Obrist in “Ways of Curating” writes about his “attempts to try out alternative ways of organizing daily life, alternative daily rituals”. The reason for this is his interest in learning how to “erase the structural separation between work and recreation that organizes conventional living”. For Obrist, the night trains are his turn on the conventional. As a European student, his InterRail pass becomes a ticket for changing routines and it becomes his ritual. “Nights spent on the train became my think tank.Benjamin Franklin, for example, asked himself every morning “What good shall I do today?”

    Obrist is including the conversation with the artist Gilbert and George about their work “Waking” (1984):

    When a young artist asks, ‘What would you advise us?’  we always say, ‘When you wake up in the morning, sit on the edge of the bed, don’t open your eyes, sit on the edge on the bed and think, “What do I want to say to the world today?’” (…) Waking in the morning is like staring into the abyss, looking into the universe.


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© 2018 The Stories: Revisited