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Ice baths before breakfast? Just say no to the lifestyles of the rich and famous

The Guardian logo The Guardian 14/04/2019 Nosheen Iqbal

FILE- This Nov. 19, 2015, file photo shows Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey being interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Dorsey says the company isn't biased against Republicans or Democrats and is working on ways to ensure that debate is healthier on its platform. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) © Getty FILE- This Nov. 19, 2015, file photo shows Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey being interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Dorsey says the company isn't biased against Republicans or Democrats and is working on ways to ensure that debate is healthier on its platform. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

There are many ludicrous things that money can buy and that I will duly covet: a therapeutic robotic seal (Paro, from Japan, RRP £5,000), Gwyneth Paltrow’s famously luminous aura, and – the most aspirational of them all – the kind of super-rich personal daily routine that is savagely mocked by harried mere mortals.

You know the drill. Wake up at 5am and enter a fastidiously organised whirl of wellness: freshly squeezed juices, freshly squeezed abs, a leisurely read through the papers, a clearing of the inbox, a calm emptying of the brain, walk (or better, jog) to the office for 9am, smash out a couple of Pulitzer-troubling pieces, dazzle your friends over lunch, be home in time for an Ottolenghi-esque feast with your loved ones, insist on no screens after 6pm and read a self-improving book for an hour before 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 revealed 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 rather, Dorsey will take one meal – a humble supper of meat and veg – to stop wasting time on the inanity of food.

“The time back from breakfast and lunch allowed me to focus more on what my day is,” he claimed on a fitness podcast, detailing a highly contrived dedication to Zen that no doubt helps him to preside over the most toxic platform on the internet.

This is, of course, the sort of life uninterrupted by actual life: partners, insomnia, good old-fashioned laziness, the school run, the snooze button, your boss, a mountainous to-do list that comes minus any minions. When we are living through a cultural moment where sleep and time have become the most luxurious commodities of all – who needs a private jet when you can brag about knocking back 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 films to promote have become an exercise in one-upmanship. The more regimented, the more admired. The more ridiculous, you bet the richer they will be.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10:  Mark Wahlberg attends Steven Tyler's Second Annual GRAMMY Awards Viewing Party to benefit Janie's Fund presented by Live Nation at Raleigh Studios on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. at Raleigh Studios on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Janie's Fund) © Getty LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Mark Wahlberg attends Steven Tyler's Second Annual GRAMMY Awards Viewing Party to benefit Janie's Fund presented by Live Nation at Raleigh Studios on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. at Raleigh Studios on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Janie's Fund) 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 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 spend 30 minutes consuming a breakfast smoothie of fruit, protein and collagen peptides? For the very wealthy and wacky, maximising productivity over, say, 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 sucker 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 media outlets now run regular features quizzing folk on just how they do what they do. If you’re a fellow junkie for this sort 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 fitness 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 sleeps “for nine hours religiously … it’s the reason I have no social life.” It’s a delight.)

As psychological studies attest, willpower isn’t just a learnable skill, it’s a muscle – which means that big achievements can only be built by small achievements being attained on a daily basis. And so it stands to reason that a commitment to being boring – sorry, living a rigorously structured and highly organised life – is the key to running business empires and achieving career goals. It’s also thoroughly on-trend. Just take Anna Wintour, who reportedly plays tennis each morning at 5am. Or Leandra Medine, founder of industry web bible Man Repeller, who eschews fancy fashion parties to be in bed by 8.30pm.

The thing is, I’d love to be the best 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 quotes 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 average 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 crossed fingers will do?

Typical morning of an extreme routiner

Sleepy guy waking up early after hearing alarm clock signal on smartphone on monday morning, reaching for ringing mobile phone with closed eyes, copy space © Getty Sleepy guy waking up early after hearing alarm clock signal on smartphone on monday morning, reaching for ringing mobile phone with closed eyes, copy space Rise at 5am

Everyone successful simply claims to wake up early. That’s the assumed rule. So rise with dawn, ideally to the sound of birdsong.

5.05am

Work out. Research claims that exercising on an empty stomach boosts energy levels and increases fat burn. Great! Get moving.

6am

Hydrate. Preferably with your first of four daily litres of water. Followed by a smoothie that includes a combo of fruits, seeds (flax, chia), antioxidants (matcha, spirulina), veg, protein … throw in a kitchen sink. Blend.

6.30am

Shower. Groom. Do not faff for 45 minutes trying to work out what to wear from the pile of clothes that has now accumulated on the bed. Make the bed.

7.10am

Emails. Everyone successful loves an early head start on the inbox.

Woman hand using touchpad on laptop at home © Getty Woman hand using touchpad on laptop at home

7.20am

News. Catch up on the big stories of the day. Add camomile tea. Avoid caffeine.

7.55am

Give your undivided attention to your lover, partner, pet and/or children. Feel showered with love and good about yourself.

8am

Walk to work. Any other kind of commute is for the weak. Power up the step count and stride to the office listening to an energising quirky podcast.

9am

Be at your desk, beatific and brilliant. You’re a champion.

Gallery: 100 Ways to Live to 100 [Men's Journal]

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