Steve Jobs is an icon. There’s no doubt that the man has left behind a legacy, with entrepreneurs today still looking up to the way he ran a company, the way he dressed, and the way he got ready in the morning.
Jobs’ morning routine has been recorded on various websites online, though I can’t say that I can confirm exactly what the late American entrepreneur did every morning without fail.
In any case, though, the former Apple co-founder and CEO has always been described as meticulous and detail-oriented, so I assume he led a rather structured life.
Considering Job and Apple’s continual relevance in our society, it makes sense why Steve Jobs’s morning routine is one that people would want to try for themselves, me included.
It probably won’t bring me success overnight (or even over a year), but I still wanted to get a bite of that apple that is Jobs’ morning rituals.
6:15AM: Rise and shine
Steve Jobs said to TIME in 1999 that he was a “good morning person” and would wake at around six-ish. I decided the “ish” would be 15 more minutes of sleep.
While I was able to wake up around the targeted time of 6:15AM, I wouldn’t say I started being productive right then. In fact, I ended up just mindlessly scrolling through social media for a good ten minutes—something I don’t imagine Steve Jobs did.
6:25AM: Getting into uniform
Eventually, I managed to pull the covers off myself. Unlike most days, I didn’t have to think long to pick out my outfit.
Unfortunately, I’m not in possession of an Issey Miyake black turtleneck, or any turtlenecks for that matter. But that’s not the point of Steve Jobs’ outfit anyway.
Rather than the literal outfit, I wanted to capture the essence of him—the idea of having a uniform and something you can reach for in the morning without wasting time and brainpower.
So, I went for a pair of blue jeans and a dark sweater that I had prepared the day before.
6:30AM: Morning incantation
This is probably one of the more interesting things I’ve read that Jobs does.
In a Stanford commencement address in 2005, the entrepreneur reportedly said the following:
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
So, decided to start my day off with the same existential crisis. I looked in the mirror and asked, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
My answer was “Why the hell not?”, especially considering what I was about to do today was to live like Steve Jobs, which was undeniably a change from my normal.
6:35AM: First order of business
Steve immediately cracks his knuckles and gets down to business bright and early (or dark and early, even) in the morning.
Apparently, he has a “pretty sophisticated setup” where he uses a T1 line that transmits all his files, whether they be related to Apple or Pixar, to his home office.
Did you know: A T1 line is a twisted copper wire that transfers voice and data from one location to another via digital signals.TelNet Worldwide
I don’t need that because technology is more advanced now and I bring my laptop everywhere I go. (But good flex, Steve.)
I got started by filing through my emails and getting some writing done. It was quite therapeutic.
The world outside was still fairly quiet, and I was just click-clacking away in the comforts of my home. It did make me feel a bit more productive than usual. As they say, the early bird gets the worm, and all that.
7:30AM: A fruity breakfast
Jobs joined his family for breakfast in the morning before his kids were sent off to school. I don’t have kids, but I do live with my sister. However, she was unwilling to wake up just to eat breakfast with me.
So, I ate breakfast alone. Apparently, Jobs used to be a fruitarian, but he started having more of a pescatarian diet due to his health later in life.
As the name suggests, fruitarians mostly eat fruits and possibly nuts and seeds. Jobs liked carrot juice, which I do too, but I had no access to it. But what’s also orange and juicy? Orange juice!
I also ate an apple, for obvious reasons.
Although I’ve read that Jobs drinks coffee, I decided not to. I was surprised at how energetic I still was throughout the day without my daily dose of caffeine. Maybe I don’t really need my morning coffee after all.
8:00AM: Back to work
After lounging around for a bit after breakfast, I returned to my laptop to wrap up some more work.
Steve Jobs said, “If I’m lucky, I’ll stay at home and work for an hour because I can get a lot done, but oftentimes I’ll have to come in.”
My working hours are from 9:30AM to 6:30PM, but I need to leave home by 8:30AM. This is because unlike Jobs, who got a new car of the same model every six months to avoid having a licence plate, I commute by train. The journey takes around an hour.
9:30AM: Arrive at the office
Apparently, every Monday, Jobs and his team of execs review the whole business and have “marathon meetings”. That’s not in my job scope, so I skipped that.
Instead, I got started on my own job scope, which includes (but is not limited to) more emails and writing.
Ending the day
By the end of the day, I was surprisingly still feeling light on my feet and rearing to go. I was more energetic than I anticipated.
But once I got on my train ride home, I felt all the adrenaline just leaking away from my body. I was beat. In fact, I went to bed early because I wanted to continue this routine for the rest of the week.
I managed to follow through for the next two days, but I got too tired on Thursday so I decided to just sleep in.
The obvious issue here was that my time in the office lasts longer compared to Steve’s. Reportedly, he heads home and has dinner around 5:30PM, but I stay in the office for at least an hour more than that.
Having a long commute doesn’t help either. I’ve always loathed the amount of time we spend in transit, going from one place to another.
Admittedly, I quite like my morning commute as it’s my own kind of ritual. I usually listen to music or a podcast to kickstart my day.
But it can get tiring, especially on the days when the train is full and you have to weasel your way into a corner and your neck starts to hurt because you’ve been looking at your phone for too long.
Like some internet person once said though, we don’t have “Beyoncé” hours. And I don’t have Jobs’ job.
To explain, we might have the same hours in a day as a millionaire like Beyoncé, but it’s important to note that powerful individuals like her don’t have to spend time doing chores or errands.
She probably has staff members to do her makeup, cook her food, drive her places, and manage her finances.
During this experience, I did end up being more productive as the number of hours I spent working was longer than ever before. My days started earlier than usual, but the time I finished working remained the same.
With that said, it didn’t feel like a sustainable routine in the long run because I felt tired and burnt out by the end of my experiment. Ultimately, I didn’t feel like Jobs’ routine really suited the kind of work that I do.
This experience proved to me that having a routine is great, but finding one that actually works for you is most important. Still, I was proud to have challenged myself with this particular morning routine.
Plus, I managed to learn a thing or two, such as how I enjoy drinking fruit juice, donning a pre-planned outfit, and asking myself whether I was content with my life first thing in the morning.
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