Can We Please Stop Glorifying Morning Routines?

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May 18, 2024 at 7:11AM UTC

TikTok may be known for its viral dances and feta pasta, but it’s also home to some of the seemingly ordinary, everyday videos: people’s routines.

We suddenly have access to the everyday lives of people we don’t even know — an inside view of what someone who we think is like us, or may be living an entirely different life than us, is doing with their 24 hours.

It’s hard not to compare yourself when watching these videos, as it is when scrolling through any kind of social media. And while it’s insightful to see how others live their lives, there’s one thing I am begging we stop glorifying: the morning routine vlogs.

a screenshot from an @jenndrick morning routine on TikTok
a screenshot from an @jenndrick morning routine on TikTok

I’ll say it: You’re not better than me for waking up at 5 a.m. and drinking your protein shake, getting your workout in, walking your dogs, doing a load of laundry and doing a full skincare routine before your 9 a.m. call. Am I impressed with you, and do I respect you? Yes, wholeheartedly, and that’s incredible if that makes you feel great and productive while also sustainable. But it’s time we stop glorifying the morning as the only time to be productive.

Instead, let’s not equate certain hours of the day with universal productivity. Let’s understand that each of us is unique — so we need to structure our days and lives accordingly. There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to productivity.

Of course, our work lives and external activities are often scheduled in a way that goes against when we feel most productive — and most times, that’s out of our control. Even when “life” gets in the way, there are ways to hack your productivity and make your days work better for you. 

1. Find when working works for you.

Not everyone has their best thinking cap on at 10 a.m. Some people are better in the late afternoon; others right before they go to sleep. Find when you feel most productive and aim to schedule your work tasks around that time.

For example, if you work best right after lunch, schedule your hardest working tasks for that period. If you can, avoid meetings during that time with a calendar block or by moving your current meetings to earlier or later in the day. 

Here’s where flexible working hours come in. If your employer has flexible hours, use them to your advantage when scheduling your tasks and focused work time. If your employer doesn’t have these hours, find flexibility in smaller ways: moving meetings, shifting deadlines and changing up your workflow.

2. Use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage.

Parkinson’s Law is the phenomenon that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” according to Joshua Kaufman, author of “The Personal MBA” and “The First 20 Hours.” If we are given a week to do a task that only should really take us a day, we will draw out the task to take the entire week.

This is why setting strict, shorter deadlines for your tasks is important. Rather than giving yourself a to-do list for an eight-hour workday, break up your tasks and assign them time intervals. Working on the task for the allotted interval will allow you to focus and work efficiently without spending unnecessary time. While you should allot less time than you originally expected the task to take, you can always add another interval if you need more time.

3. Take it one day at a time.

While at the beginning of the week you may think 2-3 p.m. is your best working time, you may have an important meeting at that time at the end of the week — and feel like you’d actually be more productive a little earlier in the day. Every day is different, and every day comes with different obstacles — time-based or otherwise — that get in the way.

Routines are a great way to set healthy habits, but sometimes it’s necessary for routines to be broken or changed. Before starting every day, map out how you can be most productive in those specific 24 hours depending on your energy level, mental health and external obligations. Taking it one day at a time will make your time feel much more approachable and workable.

So, can we please stop glorifying morning routines?

If I still do all of the things I wanted to accomplish in a day, but some are at 11 p.m vs. 6 a.m., does that make me less productive than the next morning person? No, not at all. Because not everyone feels great when we get up in the morning and have a whole day before work — and because not everyone has the time, space, capacity or ability to do so. Let’s reimagine the perfectly productive day to fit when we feel productive, motivated and successful — no matter what hours those may be.

What’s your no. 1 piece of productivity advice?  Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article reflects the views of the author and not those of Fairygodboss.

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