- I tried President Donald Trump’s daily schedule for a week.
- Each day, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. for “executive time,” got to work at 11 a.m., and tried to watch four hours of cable news.
- Ultimately, I discovered that the president’s routine doesn’t work for me.
I am exhausted. Still exhausted, I should say.
I’ve recently recovered from a week of trying President Donald Trump’s daily routine.
I don’t know how he does it. Here’s how it went.
Trump reportedly rises at 5:30 a.m. and starts his day with “executive time.” That includes watching cable news – either “Fox and Friends” or MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” – as well as making phone calls and tweeting.
He doesn’t typically “get to work” – that is, take his first meeting of the day – until 11 a.m. After a full day of meetings and other assorted presidential responsibilities, he ends the workday around 6 p.m.
After dinner at 6:30, it’s time for more TV. Trump reportedly watches at least four hours a day of cable news.
One of the most well-documented aspects of Trump’s daily routine is that he only sleeps four to five hours a night. That means going to bed around midnight.
None of this sounded especially horrible. I didn’t even have to follow his diet – Business Insider’s Dennis Green already did that. Lots of successful people wake up early, and I’m accustomed to having the TV on in the newsroom anyway. No big deal, right?
Waking up is hard enough
- Shana Lebowitz/Business Insider
I’ve been experimenting with different morning routines for the past year or so, ever since I consulted a sleep doctor for a story. Sometimes I wake up at 6 a.m. and head to a yoga class; other times I wake up at 7 and start getting ready for work.
On the first day of the experiment, I woke up to a 5:30 alarm, dragged myself to the couch, opened my laptop, and found a YouTube channel with streaming cable news.
An hour later, I woke up again. Apparently, I’d fallen asleep while watching the news – not very presidential, I know. I brewed a cup of black tea and made it through another few hours.
On the four mornings that followed, I managed to stay awake, provided I had some caffeine. (Trump’s drink of choice is Diet Coke, but the idea of cracking open a can before dawn seemed nauseating.)
‘Executive time’ flew by
- Fox News
Starting my day at 5:30 a.m. and leaving for work around 10 a.m. meant I had over four hours of executive time. That’s a lot of hours.
But each day, they seemed to fly by. I watched “Fox and Friends,” tweeted links to interesting articles I’d read, prepared to-do lists for the workday ahead, and, on some days, called sources. Then I’d look up and realize it was already 9:15 a.m.
One morning, a friend asked what I’d learned watching the news – and I couldn’t remember a single piece of information.
Maybe I would have absorbed more if I hadn’t been multitasking or felt sleepy while watching. As it was, I felt silly and frustrated about having wasted precious time I could have spent resting or devoting my full attention to work.
Working shorter hours is awesome — and terrible
- Getty Images
My typical work hours are about 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., so when the experiment began, I was somewhat apprehensive about squeezing everything in between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
I should have known better. A few years ago, I published a story about cutting my work hours – and my grand conclusion was that I was just as productive as usual.
This time around? Much the same conclusion. Maybe knowing I was crunched for time prompted me to speed things up and stay focused.
But just like the last time I cut back my work hours, I felt guilty – so guilty about ditching my hardworking colleagues that I never really left at 6 p.m. like I was supposed to, but closer to 6:30.
Staying up late is hard, too
- Fox News
Confession time: I never succeeded in watching a few hours of cable news at night or going to bed at midnight.
Trump might be what scientists call a “short sleeper,” meaning he needs only four to six hours of shut-eye a night. I am definitely not. I rarely make it past 11 p.m., unless I’m reading something riveting.
Most nights, I tried watching Fox and ended up dozing off around 11:30 p.m., again with no memory of anything I’d learned.
Trump’s daily routine didn’t work for me
- Pool/Getty Images
On Sunday, when I had the freedom to craft my own day, I took a nap. Then I took another. Trump’s daily routine is altogether enervating. It’s decidedly not for me.
One thing I missed during this experiment was exercise – I couldn’t skimp on executive time, so I skipped my morning yoga class for a week. Even in the days that followed, it was hard to get back into a workout routine.
That said, it’s always worth knowing what works and what doesn’t for you. I’m continuing to experiment with different morning and daily routines – eventually, I’ll find one that leaves me feeling energized and productive.