Be Boring #MondayMorningWakeUpCall
P.G. Wodehouse – Woke up at 7:30; performed calisthenics exercise, made & ate breakfast, read a ‘breakfast book’ and walked the dog, wrote from 9am to 2pm; followed by lunch and a walk; at 3:30 watch his favourite soap opera ‘Edge of Night’, had tea, snoozed and got in some more work till about 6pm; evening was cocktails and a quiet dinner with his wife, Ethel followed by some reading before bed. All this even at the ripe young age of 89.
Mozart – By 6am had his hair done and by 7am dressed and done with breakfast; he composed from 7am to 9am; 9am to 1pm he gave lessons; 1pm to 5pm was devoted to lunch and whiling away; 5pm to 9pm was spent either performing at a concert or composing; 9pm to 11pm was time spent with Constanze; he spent a couple of more hours composing before going to bed at 1am.
Albert Einstein (Life @ Princeton) – 9am to 10am had his breakfast and read the newspaper; he then walked to Princeton and worked there from 10:30am to 1:30pm; he returned home for lunch, took a nap, spent the rest of the afternoon balancing visitors, work and correspondence; he broke for supper at 6:30pm and followed it up with more work before retiring to bed.
Mark Twain – Post breakfast to 5pm in his study, sans lunch; evenings read his work to his family and children; Sundays was time spent with family and day dreaming.
Van Gogh – On most days he had a pretty straight forward life, 7am to 6pm paint with some food in between; post supper paint again till midnight.
Mason Curry in his book Daily Rituals, has written about the daily routines of 604 famous personalities, ranging from painters, writers, and musicians to philosophers and scientists, in an attempt to find out what they did differently that made them so incredibly good at their profession.
Some started work at dawn, while some worked best from dusk. Some were organized, while some thrived in chaos. Some worked round the clock, while some took long naps and strolls in between. Many had their own idiosyncrasies which probably gave them their super powers – Hemingway wrote standing, Proust wrote almost exclusively in bed, lying with his body almost completely horizontal and his head propped up by two pillows, Beethoven went for long vigorous walks to aid his creativity, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec did his best work at night, sketching at cabarets or setting up his easel in brothels, the list goes on.
I found only one thing common between all these marvels that have etched their name in History. All of them seemed to be diligently disciplined about their daily work routines to the point of being as boring as a tame boar. Mason has put in a lot of research to prove that the outward lifestyles we see of the rock stars is but a myth. That creativity doesn’t come through bursts of inspiration.
There seems to be no other formula to excel other than find what work process and schedule works best for you and keep at it, day in and day out. Haruki Murakami seems to have the same belief saying “The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”
The irony is that by being boring, you become interesting, maybe even immortal.