Daily routines of creative top achievers
What can we learn from the daily routines of creative top achievers?
“We have failed to recognize our great asset: time. A conscientious use of it could make us into something amazing.” In line with the German playwright Friedrich Schiller, please find ten recommendations (that I personally also follow every day whenever possible) on how you may produce more and better creative outputs by harmoniously balancing time for focused work with relaxed play:
- Take your time to develop your unique schedule and daily routines that works for you and allows you to get your creativity flowing. None of the creative top achievers featured above copied the schedule of other people, so neither should you. “Be original. Insist upon yourself”, as Ralph Waldo Emerson recommended.
- Pay attention to your natural energy rhythm. If you’re a lark, consider starting work in the wee hours of a new day. However, as an owl, don’t feel shy in beginning your work day in the afternoon or evening when your energy levels start to come into full swing.
- Emulate the work-play pattern of creative top achievers to ensure a long creatively productive and happy life: Dedicate 8 hours (plus minus 30 minutes) each for work, play and sleep.
- Block at least 3-4 hours of time at the beginning of your work day to focus on your main creative work (e.g., writing). During this time, focus on one creative project and output that you want to produce by the end of that time. The English writer and social critic Charles Dickens noted in this context: “I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.”
- If your schedule permits, consider adding a second creative phase of 2-3 hours in the second half of your work day (either for adding more creative outputs, or for editing and improving on the outputs from phase 1).
- Consider adopting a firm routine of either committing a certain number of hours for creative work each day, or committing to achieve a certain creative output target (e.g., hitting a certain word count). Complete any administrative work or drudgery towards the end of the workday (after you have completed your creative work for the day).
- Consider exercising for one hour each day as part of your daily routines to refresh your body and creative mind. Expect to get new creative inspirations and ideas while you sweat it out.
- Apart from exercising, commit quality time for leisure activities (dining, socializing and meeting with friends, meditation, reading, etc.). If creative top achievers can play in average for 6.5 hours, so can you.
- Don’t skimp on your sleep if you want to be healthy, productive and creative in the long run. If you travel a lot or temporarily need to do with less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep, experiment with cat naps (just like Thomas Edison or Richard Buckminster Fuller did) or doing mindfulness meditation to compensate for the lost hours of sleep.
- Finally, find your own work-play rhythm. Experiment with different ways to schedule the day to find a rhythm that works for you and helps you to be both creative and productive. Once you’ve noticed that a schedule works and induces creative flow, stick with this trusted routine it like the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami: “I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”