Billionaire Morning Routine
Can the billionaire morning routine overhaul your life?
by Alicia Butler, October 25, 2022
I went through a really weird depressive phase at the beginning of 2020 (and no, it wasn’t pandemic related).
During a winter I spent in Buenos Aires, I found myself in a deep funk that I couldn’t quite shake. I couldn’t blame it on seasonal depression (I was in the middle of summer there). But what was supposed to be a “transformative” experience turned out to be one that I just wanted to be over.
I became obsessed with trying to make myself feel better during these months. I took a side trip to Uruguay, ate steak and drank wine out at restaurants every night, and binged watched The West Wing nightly.
When none of that worked, I decided that my depression was probably so sticky because I didn’t have a morning routine to set myself up for the day.
Enter: every morning routine under the sun including the Billionaire Morning Routine.
This post may contain affiliate links, so if you buy something after clicking on a link, I might (fingers crossed!) just get a little commission. Good news: I only recommend products that I love! Which means you can feel good about all of my recs.
What is a billionaire morning routine?
It depends on who you ask. Some people will say it’s the morning routines of billionaires (or at least the shared aspects of some of the most successful billionaires’ morning routines); others simply use the phrase “billion dollar morning routine” to describe a “top-notch” routine that’s worth a billion dollars.
I wish I were making this bullsh*t up.
Morning Routines of Billionaires
Can the morning routines of billionaires overhaul your entire life? Let’s find out!
Which billionaires are we talkin’ about here?
Pretty much any billionaire is up for grabs when it comes to the billionaire morning routine. And even some millionaires, too.
Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Jeff Bezos are some of the high earners whose morning routines are constantly harvested for little nuggets of insight.
What are the ultra-rich doing that we’re not doing? What tiny tweaks can we make to our schedules to maximize the greatest earning potential?
Tim Ferriss’s Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers was all about the habits and advice of people who he believed to be excelling in their fields at the time of publication. Laura Vanderkam’s What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast similarly detailed the morning routines and habits of arguably some of the most successful people in the world.
While I think a lot of Vanderkam’s book is helpful (she’s a time management expert who looks for patterns in habits of “highly-successful” people instead of blindly copying their routines), Ferriss’s book just seemed like an homage to his favorite all-time high-earners. (Which, there’s nothing wrong with: just take his wisdom with an extra grain of salt.)
On a blog titled “Success 4”, I found an article called “Why All Billionaires Wake Up Exactly at 4:00 a.m”. This is total cockamamie. Of course not all billionaires wake up exactly at 4:00 a.m.
A lot of advice gleaned from the billionaire morning routine is just false.
Should you listen to the billionaires’ advice?
Maybe? I’m super skeptical about any advice that suggests, You too can unlock the power of becoming a billionaire — just by making a few small tweaks to your lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong. I am so all about trying to squeeze the best possible outcome out of the least amount of effort. Especially when it comes to daily tasks (like a morning routine).
Seriously, I’ve tried to “hack my life” six ways to Sunday. But my biggest downfall was trying to copy someone else’s routine or hacks without realizing that Tim Ferris and I aren’t the same people and thus, I might not reap the benefits of making my bed first thing after waking each morning (spoiler: I did not).
So, can you actually “mind-hack” being a billionaire mindset by doing what the one-percenters do before breakfast each morning?
But probably not if the only thing you’re changing is your morning routine.
(Though, I would argue that if you choose a morning routine that will get you in a good mindset for the rest of the day, at least you’ll be in a good mood while you slay the day.)
The point I’m not so eloquently trying to make is that billionaires make a lot of money off of selling you an idea — or rather an illusion — that if you make small tweaks to your life, you too can be as prosperous as they.
And that’s just not the case.
I’m also not trying to make the argument that it, “Should take hard work to make the kind of money billionaires make.”
Yes, some billionaires have worked really hard to get to where they are, financially. But at the end of the day, in the words of former billionaire Abigail Disney, “Money begets more money.”
Most “self-made” billionaires were the descendants of (at the very least) upper-middle-class families or inherited generational money. More and more, we discover that some of the most prolific billionaires’ origin stories were greatly exaggerated — or in some cases (like Elon Musk) totally fabricated.
If you think that Kylie Jenner is actually a self-made billionaire, I’m sorry to disappoint you: she’s not.
The daughter of millionaires cannot — by definition — be a self-made billionaire. Not only did she have the fortunes of both the Jenners and the Kardashians to mine (and fall back on), but she also had the connections both families provided.
This is all to say, that I can tell you for a fact (and I cannot state this emphatically enough): Kendall Jenner did not become a billionaire, thanks to her billionaire morning routine.
Billion Dollar Morning Routine
I’ve also seen a lot of bloggers claiming the billionaire morning routine is actually the “Billion Dollar Morning Routine”, a routine that combines the advice of several millionaires (as well as a few habits experts).
Just a few of the bullets on this list include:
- Prioritize sleep
- Don’t check your phone in bed
- Drink a glass of water
- Meditate or journal
- Make your daily to-do list
While this isn’t inherently “bad” advice, it seems more like an irrelevant list of boxes to check off instead of a mindful morning routine that would set you up for the individualized success that you need to feel good about your day.
Why drink a glass of water? Can’t you drink water throughout the day? Why is everyone so obsessed with my water intake?
I for one also enjoy exercising after work. Instead of energizing me, exercise makes me feel too pooped to party. When I exercise first thing, I feel tired and sluggish later.
If I exercised first thing, I’d also miss out on the morning “golden hour”, the time when I get my best creative writing done.
Should you follow the billion dollar morning routine?
I mean, if any of these “to-dos” strike your fancy, go ahead and add them to your morning routine. But before you do, maybe ask yourself why they’re getting top priority in your day.
If it’s your goal to exercise first thing every morning, sure add it. But wouldn’t you have added it anyway?
Copying a billionaire’s morning routine feels more like an external motivation than internal. And while I believe there can be equal benefits to external and internal motivation, you really need to stick with morning tasks that are customized to your unique goals and needs.
If you drink enough water already, don’t worry about drinking a glass first thing in the morning. If you feel refreshed in the morning, don’t let anyone tell you that you need more sleep.
I have a “feel-good TikTok feed” that I look at every morning to get myself out of the funk I wake up in every morning and to remind myself of all my favorite things.
If you have a similar routine, don’t let someone spout off a ton of reasons why looking at your phone first thing will be the death of you.
And if it makes you feel like sh*t, don’t do it.
Did the billionaire morning routine help release me from my depression? Nope. Did it pave the way for a better day? Not… really?
The only thing that seemed to improve my mood by incorporating different morning routines and habits into my daily schedule was the fact that I was practicing active hope every day.
In the end, it was an emergency flight home and the beginning of lockdown that knocked me out of my funk.
These days, I have a very loose morning routine that helps ease me into my day. Most days, I incorporate the steps that I think will help make my day run smoother and break the hold my inner grouch has on my outer world. And some days, the only thing tearing me away from a rousing game of Wordle is the need to pee.
Neither one of these is inherently good nor bad.
I notice how they make me feel. And then I incorporate mindful activities into my schedule throughout my day to stay on track. Some days, I allow myself just to feel the way I feel. Both are necessary to being human.
What I don’t do? Buy into the idea that a billionaire’s morning routine can change the entire trajectory of my life. And you shouldn’t either.