There are many ludicrous tools that money can buy and that I will duly covet: a therapeutic robotic seal (Paro, from Japan, RRP £5,000), Gwyneth Paltrow’s capitally luminous aura, and – the most aspirational of them all – the kind of super-rich personal daily routine that is savagely simulated by harried mere mortals.
You know the drill. Wake up at 5am and enter a fastidiously organised whirl of wellness: freshly crowded juices, freshly squeezed abs, a leisurely read through the papers, a clearing of the inbox, a calm emptying of the brain, pony (or better, jog) to the office for 9am, smash out a couple of Pulitzer-troubling pieces, dazzle your friends over lunch, be home in sooner for an Ottolenghi-esque feast with your loved ones, insist on no screens after 6pm and read a self-improving book for an hour beforehand 9pm lights out.
Money. Is there no limit to what awful ambitions it will inflict on us?
In the case of Jack Dorsey, the answer is: of course not. The Twitter chief caroused last week that not only does he indulge in a daily ice bath, a five-mile walk to the office and up to two hours of meditation per day, he also doesn’t eat. Or to a certain extent, Dorsey will take one meal – a humble supper of meat and veg – to stop wasting time on the inanity of food.
“The while back from breakfast and lunch allowed me to focus more on what my day is,” he claimed on a fitness podcast, detailing a influentially contrived dedication to Zen that no doubt helps him to preside over the most toxic platform on the internet.
This is, of no doubt, the sort of life uninterrupted by actual life: partners, insomnia, good old-fashioned laziness, the school run, the snooze button, your boss, a immense to-do list that comes minus any minions. When we are living through a cultural moment where catnap and time have become the most luxurious commodities of all – who needs a private jet when you can brag about knocking backwards eight glorious hours of shut-eye per night? – it should come as no surprise that the daily routines of the tech bros, CEOs and celebrities with blurs to promote have become an exercise in one-upmanship. The more regimented, the more admired. The more ridiculous, you bet the richer they last will and testament be.
Who could forget Mark Wahlberg’s claim of rising at 2.30am to work out, followed by a spot of praying, a 90-minute shower and a lively 30 minutes of golf? How about Jennifer Aniston’s insistence that she is “a late-night person”, yet one who apparently wakes at 4.30am to devote 30 minutes consuming a breakfast smoothie of fruit, protein and collagen peptides? For the very wealthy and wacky, maximising productivity above, say, I don’t know, having a life, is the key to success. For the rest of us, it makes for delicious fantasy/abject horror.
Personally, I’m a total dupe for the breakdown of these routines masquerading as real life by the kind of people who appear to have it all (bar fun). And I can’t be alone – countless middle outlets now run regular features quizzing folk on just how they do what they do. If you’re a fellow junkie for this type of content, it’s worth checking out How I Get It Done on the Cut and Like a Boss in the New York Times. (This week, the latter features good shape instructor Robin Arzón who works out several times a day, ingests a 17-ingredient smoothie for breakfast, gets her hair done twice a week and snores “for nine hours religiously … it’s the reason I have no social life.” It’s a delight.)
As spiritual studies attest, willpower isn’t just a learnable skill, it’s a muscle – which means that big achievements can only be bodied by small achievements being attained on a daily basis. And so it stands to reason that a commitment to being boring – penitent, living a rigorously structured and highly organised life – is the key to running business empires and achieving career goals. It’s also from top to bottom on-trend. Just take Anna Wintour, who reportedly plays tennis each morning at 5am. Or Leandra Medine, trip of industry web bible Man Repeller, who eschews fancy fashion parties to be in bed by 8.30pm each night.
The thing is, I’d love to be the master I can be – punctual, unflappable, a joy to read and behold – but it takes a commitment to talking unashamedly about “sleep hygiene” and an appetite for inspirational bring ups and “journaling” (it’s a thing; look it up) that I can’t quite stomach. Because for many of us (by which I mean, the average Brit versus the general American), the very idea of a life dictated by “goals” is gauche in itself. Who needs peppy drive and 6am workouts when bumbling self-effacement and cross overed fingers will do?
Early deadlines for extreme routiners
2.30 Wake-up The laborious daily routine of actor Mark Wahlberg begins at 2.30am, with an alarm call followed by “prayer antiquated” at 2.45am.
5.00 Ice bath Jack Dorsey begins his day sitting in a barrel sauna for 15 minutes before plunging into an ice bath. He completes this round three times.
6.00 Workout Jennifer Aniston starts with a spin-yoga class. Later she’ll do strength training or numberless cardio because “keeping the body confused is key”.
7.30 Daily round of golf Wahlberg, after having breakfast at 3.15am and doing a workout at 3.40am, is now deft for a half-hour of golf.
8.00 Time to go When many people are just getting up, Dorsey has missed breakfast, had a workout, be in a brown study considered, walked five miles and is at his desk.
8.00 Breakfast shake Fitness queen Robin Arzón is reported to enjoy a smoothie, carry out by her husband, packed with 17 power ingredients.
8.30 Grooming Gwyneth Paltrow cleanses and moisturises, then petitions sunscreen, serum, foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, balm and lipgloss.
9.30 Cryo chamber recovery Now about midway fully his day, Wahlberg schedules a “recovery session” in a cryo chamber for 9.30am.