Mason Currey is a typical reporter. As most reporters – who don’t cover everyday news – do, Currey finds it difficult to get his articles ready in time. “On July of 2007, I was sitting alone during a Sunday afternoon trying to compose an article for the journal I was working for. However, instead of doing what I had to do to finish the article, I was reading New York Times, cleaning my desk without a reason and wasting my time in general. It was a usual, but sad situation. I’m the typical “morning person” who can focus early in the morning, but becomes almost useless after lunch. This particular afternoon I decided to feel better by searching information about work schedules of other authors. It was easy to find them and they were really fun. I thought that someone should write about these stories…”
That’s how Currey wrote the book “Daily Rituals” that hundreds of creatives practiced in order to carve out time, every day, to work their craft. Some kept to the same disciplined regimen for decades while others locked in patterns only while working on specific works.
There are enough data to visualize a portion of the hundreds of creative lifestyles. Click the poster to discover:
Gustave Flaubert, Ludwig Van Beethoven, W.A. Mozart, Thomas Mann, Sigmund Freud, Immanuel Kant, Maya Angelou, John Milton, Honore de Balzac, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, W.H. Auden, Charles Darwin, P.I. Tchaikovsky, Le Corbusier, Benjamin Franklin
Representing each day as a continuous 24 hour cycle invokes the ever spinning wheel of time, and more simply the face of a clock with midnight placed in the “12 o’clock” position and noon at “6 o’clock.” Colors mark major categories of activity – work, sleep, exercise, etc.
“Daily Rituals” include around 150 everyday stories. Let’s see 5 of the most brilliant minds ever lived and their everyday schedule.
Einstein emigrated to the US in 1933, where he worked as a professor in Princeton until his retirement in 1945. His everyday life was simple. He took breakfast around 9:00 and 10:00 while reading morning newspapers. At 10:30 he went to his office in Princeton. He went there walking when the weather was good or he took the University bus. He returned home for lunch around 1:00. He took a nap and then had a cup of tea. He spent the rest of his afternoon at home, working and arranging his correspondence. His dinner was at 6:30.
Despite his simple way of living, Einstein was a prominent figure in Princeton, known not only for his scientific achievements, but also for his abstraction and his careless look (he had long hair to avoid visiting the barber and he didn’t wear socks because he found them useless).
While he was walking to his office, many people stopped him, because they wanted to meet the great scientist. As a fellow of his stated, Einstein posed with his fans and their families and chatted with them. Later he continued walking and murmured: “The old elephant did his job again”.
Alexander Graham Bell
When he was young, Bell used to work all the time. He only slept for 3 or 4 hours every night. However, after his marriage and his wife’s pregnancy, Bell was convinced to work less and relax more. His wife, Meibel, made him wake up for breakfast at 8:30 every morning and also made him relax after their dinner at 7:00.
When he got used to that, Bell understood that his new schedule was better for him and his family. However his passion for his job didn’t let him follow this schedule everyday. Everytime he had a new idea, he begged his wife to let him work and to release him from his family obligations.
In such cases, he could work for even twenty two hours in a row, sleepless. Meibel finally accepted his undistracted concentration on his work, but not without some disapproval of hers. According to her diary, Meibel was proud for her husband’s job, but she was jealous at the same time.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven got up really early to start working. His breakfast was a cup of coffee. He considered that each cup of coffee required sixty coffee beans. That’s why he often counted them one by one!
Then, he started working until 2:00 or 3:00. He took a break to walk in the countryside.