“Our first few hours are the time when heroes are made,” wrote author Robin Sharma in The 5 AM Club, the self-help book that has become the indispensable companion for thousands of CEOs and executives around the world when it launched in 2018 His readers searched this publication for the holy grail of success through productivity, which encouraged waking up at that time to seize the morning and achieve “extraordinary” results, he assured.
One of those readers who followed Sharma’s recipe is César Romera, 53, director of marketing and communications for multinational technology company Kyndryl. This man from Madrid wakes up every morning at half past five. His first steps are always towards the kitchen, where he has a coffee and mostly “quality time” with his wife – who wakes up at the same time as he does to go running in Retiro Park – and then meditates and prays for another hour alone. What started out as a survival routine to better cope with raising his children (he is a father of six children aged 21, 19, 17, 16, 13 and 11) has turned into a habit and behavior change. “I don’t know if I could carry the responsibilities that I carry professionally with my family and I would almost say that with my marriage if I didn’t have this strength that I get from the first three hours of the morning ” he confesses.
At seven in the morning, six days a week, César leaves the house. Three of them go to the gym to do cardio or functional training and the other three to swim in the pool for an hour. He’s back at eight to get ready and arrive at the office between nine and nine-thirty. “Many of the good ideas that I had and that I later implemented in campaigns or negotiations came to me in sports back then. For me, this time is a gift that I give myself every day,” explains the manager. “The real change comes when you see it as a gift, not an effort,” says Romera, who describes this quiet time of day as “magical and unique.”
Perhaps in search of that same magic and uniqueness, social networks were flooded with videos showing the daily routine between five and nine in the morning, before the famous 9 to 5 that Dolly Parton would sing. Accompanied by the hashtag #my5to9 – which already has almost 10 million views on TikTok – thousands of young people, mostly girls, show how they read, study, exercise, drink matcha green tea or multivitamin juices for breakfast and do chores. All in a display of romanticizing and reviving the benefits Sharma argued that he needs to get up early to engage in sports and other activities hours before the work day. “I have to take a nap around seven,” user PilarPalibunda joked to 8020pod, who summarized her four-hour routine in a 32-second video.
But with this new trend on networks, which like posts under the hashtag #thatgirl has defended the importance of a perfect routine, critical voices have emerged that dismiss this attitude as the new tyranny of a hyper-productive society to rest and rest has become synonymous with mortal sin . “I watched a user cook, prepare breakfast and lunch the next day, do laundry, fluff pillows, shower, exfoliate and apply moisturizer. After that I had to lie down to recover,” wrote writer Emma Beddington in a recent article in Britain’s The Guardian. “The next time I feel guilty, I will tell myself that I reject the development of the capitalist economy outside of my paid work hours,” she added.
She’s not the only one who has raised her voice against this new fad. User @caitlyn, who defines herself as a pop culture analyst under feminist and Marxist scrutiny, recently uploaded two videos to her profile in which she explains that the #my5to9 movement is ultimately about “your potential as a worker and consumer under the capitalism” of the citizen.
“Like everything in life, when something becomes the norm, it automatically becomes something enslaving, and I’ve decided that method is at my disposal, not I of the method,” explains Romera, who also understands the critique of capitalism’s intrusion in routines at leisure. For him, he says, the method brings enough physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional benefits to make it worth pursuing. Going to bed at 10pm doesn’t mean much of a sacrifice for Romera, except when she gets back from a dinner with friends at six thirty and the last episode of the series she’s watching is available to choose whether to watch the ending see or sleep. “I always say to those who are in doubt about whether to start or not, ‘What would you do if you had a racing car? Or the best horse? You would take care of that, right? Well, you don’t have to have either of those two things because you already have your body, so why not bring it to peak performance?