How does your morning routine differ to Richard Branson’s? I found out.

This post originally appeared in the Guernsey Press on Saturday, 18 August 2018

Omnipresent, ever-sweet, and just a little bit overbearing (my view, sorry), it’s not a surprise he’s won the hearts of the people and amassed a sizeable Twitter following. But this week, Richard Branson, of Virgin and ‘entrepreneur RICHARD BRANSON’ fame, penned and published ‘Richard Branson’s Morning Routine‘ on the Richard Branson tab of the Richard Branson Virgin blog. It was filled with inspiring images of him tapping away at his iPad on a hammock on ~Branson-Land~ Necker Island, whilst telling you all about the morning rituals high-flying businessman Richard Branson gets up to.

“What does your morning routine look like? I’d like to read about it”, he signs-off.

Well, Richard, I’d be delighted to tell you what my morning routine looks like. I’ll warn you: it might not look much like yours; a routine I imagine everyone else who DOESN’T have a net worth of £3.8 billion and lives on a private island might look like, but let’s run with it, okay? So here’s mine.

Richard’s original post is quoted here in Italics, with my comments below.

“No matter where I am, I rise early – usually around 5am … It’s hard not to be enthusiastic about the day ahead with the sun streaming through the windows.”

6:30 am: I’m startled awake by the sound of the bin lorry arriving next door before I realise they’re finally collecting the festering food waste that’s been sat on their doorstep all week. I peer at my phone and see a notification that Trump has done something stupid again. I roll over.

6:45 am: After a brief doze, I’m roused this time by the sound of loud children on scooters on their way to school. A man walks down the street, shouting to himself. The sunlight gleams into my 8m2 room, as the faint whiff of city smog seeps through. I used to sleep with the curtain open too, Richard, but then they replaced the bulb in the streetlight outside.

8:35 AM: Awoken a final time, realising I’ve somehow managed to lose about two hours. I throw on some clothes, hustle out the door, and make tracks for the Tube station. The train is full, but I squeeze myself on like the guards on the Tokyo metro.

“If I am somewhere with a tennis court, I’ll generally play a hard couple of sets of tennis… If I’m near the ocean, and there’s enough wind, I’ll go for a kitesurf. There’s no better way to start the day then with the wind in your hair, salt on your skin and a smile on your face.”

Now HERE’S a life tip we can all get behind. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE a spot of kitesurfing before work. You might think it’s time-consuming, but no, Richard and I have worked out the secret: if you get real good at it, you can be in, out and dressed in a quarter-hour. True story.

You see, Richard, despite our lives being so massively different, and you earning in a day approximately 900x what I’ll earn in a month, you may be surprised to hear I actually have a similar routine!

Yes, it’s just that, in my experience, I’ll start the day with the wind in my hair — the smog and dust of an arriving Bakerloo line train — the feeling of the salt on my skin — that impressively chalky and limescale-rich Thames water — and of course I’ll jump on board with a smile on my face, as I contemplate the horrors of my commute and the smell of the people next to me.

I agree. There IS no better way to start the day, Richard.

“Then it’s time to eat breakfast, which for me generally consists of something high in fibre, like muesli and fruit… Together Joan and I check in on our children, Holly and Sam, and their families, with phones or video calls if we’re in different locations.”

Arriving at the station, I elbow my way through people as the doors open. Then it’s time to head to M&S for breakfast, which generally consists of picking up a baked-in-store croissant and some from-concentrate juice. There are no croissants when I arrive; I politely mention it to a lady on staff who barks at me and shoves a fresh croissant in my hand. I head to the checkout, pay, then kick myself as I walk out for forgetting to show my loyalty card. I head for the office, narrowly avoiding the chuggers and divebombing pigeons.

“Exercise and family time put me in a great mind frame before getting down to business. Living in the BVI, I like to be online early, so that I am accessible and available to our offices in other time zones.”

Now, it’s important for us to remember that dear Richard has done ALL OF THIS — the exercise, the muesli, the windsurfing, and he hasn’t even started work yet! I’d be inspired if only I was able to stop weeping and vomiting into the toilet.

By this point in my timeline though, I’ve actually beaten Richard Branson into the office (+1 point to Olly) and positively demolished my reheated croissant. I’m in a great frame of mind too. I quietly belch, sip my juice, then check my calendar and inbox to see what lies ahead. There’s just a couple things planned: a laborious and unproductive conference call with an impossibly difficult client in the British Virgin Islands, and then an event about VR nobody can really be bothered with attending. Satisfied, I start getting on with my day and actually doing some work.

“My morning tends to wrap up with a social media sweep. I love logging onto Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram everyday; posting about what’s going on in my life and reading your feedback. Social media has opened up the world, and given the public the power to really have a say – it’s a wonderful thing.”

Aaah, a great plan, Richard. After all, there’s so much enlightening and quality content on social media, isn’t there? I check in with my favourite news outlets to make sure the world is just as rubbish as it was yesterday, then of course we can’t forget about “posting what’s going on in my life” too! I put up a picture of the thong that was left on the pavement by my flat, then angrily tweet Marks and Spencer about the rude croissant lady.

Satisfied, that’s my morning routine finished.

How about yours? Is your routine more like Richard’s, or a little more like mine? Tell us! You can tweet me at @yourolly and Richard Branson on, you guessed it, @RichardBranson.