What Is Marcus Aurelius’ Nighttime Routine?

Ever heard of the term; “the five good emperors?” Or read the widely popular writing, Meditations? Marcus Aurelius was referred to as the last of the five (5) good emperors of Rome, a term that gained popularity years after his death. He also wrote the book, Meditation, which gave so much clarity and insights into the lives of philosophy of ancient Stoicks. However, Marcus Aurelius, who was Rome’s emperor between 161 and 180 AD, was known for his insightful routine, a routine known for its help in achieving goals and success. In this article, we focus on how this routine can help with crushing career goals positively. Let us know What Is Marcus Aurelius’ Nighttime Routine?

What Is Marcus Aurelius' Nighttime Routine?

What is Marcus Aurelius’ nighttime routine?

Marcus lived a life of stoicism. He endured the many twists and turn life offered him throughout his journey and never for once, compromised on his belief and views. Marcus Aurelius night time routine can be listed under the following headings as;

  • Meditations 
  • Physical activities
  • Wake up and go to bed early 
  • Make a plan for the day 
  • Contemplation 
  • Daily review 
  • Prioritize journalism 

Marcus Aurelius’ nighttime routine and how to use it for career success?

Although often listed and highlighted as standalone points, Aurelius’ routines represent a new way to look at and embrace one’s life. The underlying principles are founded on contemplations and intentional introspection.


According to the emperor, meditations are like food for the soul. When done correctly, meditations can be used to x-ray one’s life and surrounding. Meditation is looking inwards to determine why you do the things you do, and in the way you do them. Spending time to meditate and introspect, can have a profound effect on one’s mind and view of the world. It takes concerns off a person’s heart. For career people, meditation makes it easy to cope with the change in the workplace. Guiding with decision-making and reaction to changes within the industry.

Physical Activities

A healthy mind is a direct result of a healthy body. Both entities; the mind, and the body, are parallel twins always in sync with each other. The emperor highlights that there are aspects of your brain that culminates in the total well-being of a person. Therefore, positively stimulating the brain and these enzymes will lead to healthier retention, a clearer perspective of life and a better approach to daily living.

For work success, physical activities help in almost all areas. It boosts morale and the decision-making process; two recipes needed to achieve success. Marcus Aurelius explains that it is okay to integrate these physical activities into your daily life as they help to boost general well-being.

Wake up early and get to work

Marcus Aurelius wrote, “At dawn when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain about, if I’m going to do what I was born for – the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’” — Marcus Aurelius

The emperor does identify the universal human struggle and desire to endlessly hit the snooze button every morning, snuggling tighter into bed. But the emperor does point out that for the success of any kind to happen, one must have a firm grip over sleep. The mentality that puts purpose over comfort is highlighted here, which can easily be translated to other areas of life, such as career and work.

This routine not only builds punctuality to work but it, in addition, it reinforces the importance of delayed gratification. Life, according to Marcus Aurelius is one that has served as a focal point of existence. Therefore, when we are sleeping instead, we lose this capacity to contribute to the change we have been destined to bring to the earth.

Make a plan for the day

Marcus in his book, The Meditation, talks a lot about, Premeditatio Malorum. This concept refers to negative visualization, which is a way of anticipating the negativity that is naturally associated with life on earth. The Stoic advises that anticipating the evil to come, goes a very long way in helping to overcome them with positivity.

This capacity to anticipate and prepare is important for career success. As you build your life and hone your craft in different industries, there will always be challenges. What separates those who go on to build successful careers from those who do not, is their positivity and capacity to analyse and anticipate things before they manifest.


One question Marcus Aurelius is known for asking regularly is, “what would Zen do in this situation?” A question which inspires further introspection and reflection. In some regards, contemplation is similar to meditation, only that contemplation allows you to detach your emotions from an occurrence and broadens your perspective for action.

A person who has built contemplation as a nighttime routine will often enjoy a calm and saner perception of events. Contemplation in the workplace positions individuals to borrow mindsets from their superiors, thinking in the way that does, solving problems in similar ways. This will not only lead to recognition but higher rewards. Contemplation improves decision-making. It also enables one to always look at events from multiple angles, acting in the best possible outcome, and charming the hearts of superiors. A clean route to the top in any career sphere.

Daily Review

According to Marcus, breathe, close your eyes before you go to sleep, and go over your day. How did it go? What could you have done differently? A daily review, done chronologically, can have a significant impact on your perception of life. It helps understand your actions. It gives perspective on how you do things, and what could have been done differently.

Having daily reviews also enables the individual to notice things they are grateful for, and enables the evolution of the mind. This practice can also be of great help in your career journey. As you progress through time and climb the corporate ladder, learning to sit and re-analyze actions will help in improving solutions in the case of a repeat.


Success in the career field has a lot to do with success with the self as an individual. When a person has learnt and mastered how to control their emotions, mind and time, then they can begin to notice success in other areas of their lives, including their career. This is one of the biggest lessons taught through the life and practice of Rome’s emperor, Marcus Aurelius.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are other important lessons Marcus Aurelius teaches through his lifestyle?


The stock also highlights important lessons such as;

  • Life is transient. Live it to the fullest and best possible way. 
  • Always begin your tasks by attacking the most important on the 
  •      list, first. 
  • Journaling has great benefits. 

2. What are some benefits of Marcus Aurelius’ nighttime routine to everyday life?


  • It builds self-confidence 
  • Improves empathy and perspective of the world 
What Is Marcus Aurelius’ Nighttime Routine?

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