Antifragile Morning Routine

The idea of having “morning routine” is a favorite topic on the interwebs these days. Its now at the point where I can barely tell apart parody from serious articles. I think Tim Ferriss started it all by asking every single one of his guests their morning routine. Most people couldn’t resist listening. I know I couldn’t.

When a “high performer” provides a detail on their morning routine, they are merely providing an example of a thing that works for a very specific set of circumstances. Nothing more nothing less. Just because it worked for them, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Nonetheless it is still a useful data point.  Weird low cost ideas are usually worth trying.

Eliminating decision fatigue

I view morning routines as constrained optimization problem that will have different solutions for different people. It might even have different answers on different days for the same person.

I’m generally skeptical of anything overly complicated. The key benefit of a morning routine is it reduces decision fatigue. The morning routine is a “default setting” . But if one is obsessed with following it, it becomes a burden and prevents serendipity.

Towards an antifragile morning routine

The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is more important than having a set routine.  Some days you have to work late.  Other days you may have an early meeting. Or maybe your child gets sick.  What if your spouse or mistress needs your support?  What do you do when you travel or are awoken by a phone call?  What then?

It doesn’t make sense to rigidly expect the world to conform to your plan. A fragile morning routine is worse than no morning routine. A robust morning routine is better. An antifragile morning routine is best.

Personally I have a “default setting” to do when I’m home and nothing special is happening. I have a handful of different algorithms I can enact depending on other circumstances that come up. This gives me the comfort of a routine without rigidity. If I’m travelling I’ll usually explore the local area just a bit.

Sometimes an emergency leads to a new insight.

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