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Your Daily Schedule vs. The World’s Greatest Achievers

How does your daily schedule compare to those of history’s greatest achievers?

Info We Trust has gone all kinds of viral with this intriguing visual breakdown.

It spotlights the daily rituals of Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Benjamin Franklin and several other legendary pioneers.

Whose schedule does yours resemble?

(Click for a larger version)
Creative routines of great achievers

Famously Creative

Charles Darwin excelled in short bursts, his primary work ticked off before noon. This was accompanied by a final surge of productivity as he lay awake in bed, presumably with a very frustrated wife at his side.

You can imagine the pillow talk.

Beethoven rose at 6am and prepared coffee with no less than 60 beans per cup — counted one by one for the perfect brew — then embarked on a gruelling eight hours of composing.

Mozart sauntered through the morning taking a full hour to get dressed. His greatest work came from just four hours of creative output: two in the morning, two before bed.

Random Thoughts:

What this poster reveals about creative routine:

There’s no such thing as a universal creative routine.

Our body clocks are unique.

Another busted myth is the affiliate belief that you must dedicate a life to the grind if you want to achieve big. It’s simply not true.

(At least it wasn’t in the 19th century…)

Some of the all-time greatest creative minds produced their magnum opus in short bursts of highly productive work.

Quality beats quantity.

And what’s this? Exercise?

For most of these legendary figures, exercise was a cornerstone of the day.

Dickens didn’t need the latest fitness DVD, or a gimmicky Insanity regime. He took a 3 hour shuffle through the London countryside, like a boss.

And he still found time to write the novels that your kids will one day study in school.

John Milton spent four hours pacing up and down his garden. Why? I don’t know. It sounds excessive. But I bet he wasn’t sourcing slush for Instagram.

What else do these great achievers have in common?

Most of them read.

Reading is a timeless hobby with a massive upside.

My view on reading is simple:

If you don’t do it, your mind becomes stale, and so will your ideas.

My Schedule

Here is my current routine:

8:00: Wake up, douse myself in petrol station coffee.
8:30: Eat breakfast and take dogs out.
9:00: Check morning stats, compile data, email affiliate managers.
9:30: Write.
10:30: Improve campaign related creatives.
11:30: Set up split tests, optimise, record data.
13:00: Lunch, coffee, fresh air, read.
16:00: Manage campaigns, minor creative work.
18:00: Take dogs out, read.
19:00: Dinner, badger girlfriend.
20:00: Any remaining work and emails.
21:30: Downtime, read, Lazy Spa, The Times on my iPad.
23:00: Sleep.

My only productive creative stints are 9:30 to 11:30, and a brief window in the late afternoon.

I probably average about three hours per day of quality work, and the rest of my time is spent in cruise control.

So, what does your schedule look like?

Are you grinding balls to the walls like Balzac? Or working hard and fast between trips to the snuff jar?

Note: Info We Trust credits the data used in the epic poster above to Mason Curren’s book, Daily Rituals. Both are worth checking out.

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About the author

Finch

Hi, I’m Finch. A 26 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who makes a lot of money from the Internet.

8 Comments

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  • Great post, I hadn’t seen that infographic before.
    I always struggled integrating exercise into my work from home routine. After literally years of spending cash on gym memberships that I didn’t use often enough, I cancelled, bought a spin bike and put the thing next to my PC. I now do 40mins first thing every morning on it, 6 days a week, listening to audio books at the same time. Definitely a worthwhile routine change that’s stuck for several months now.

  • Smart move.

    I think that’s the key to any new habit. It has to be convenient, it has to be on the path of least resistance, and it can’t be boring.

  • That’s an interesting take on in compared to the other affiliate blogs I have been reading. They imply that at the beginning you’ll spend 8 – 20 hours a day online – but I’ve always questioned what the point of this was; are they spending all day creating new campaigns from scratch?Just seems like a way to burn through cash fast. How long can it possibly take to design creatives; upload them and design new ads? I understand that you’ll have to review the data and split test, but I can’t comprehend how you would spend 8 – 20 hours a day on campaign activity (weekends included). Alot of the content on other blogs seems like embellished crap used to reel in traffic from relative newbs who automatically defer at the slightest bit of self-righteousness on the authors part.

    Keep it real, Finch.

  • It’s easy to spend 20 hours at the computer if you’re refreshing stats waiting for a campaign to turn in to your magic bullet. I think most affiliates have been there before — but it’s not productive.

    I find work tends to expand to fill how ever many hours I set aside for it. But I’m only ever truly productive for a small fraction of the day.

    There’s working, and there’s staying busy.

  • Yeah, that’s true. Some people say they work 12-18 hour days, but if you actually timed how many of those hours were actually productive I bet it’s not that many. For most people it’s only a handful of hours where they can do really focused ‘intense’ work. Also, having a balanced lifestyle means you’re less likely to burnout (as well as being healthier for your body)

    Another good post on your routine here:
    http://finchsells.com/2013/04/17/clustering-tasks-to-stay-productive-and-sane/

  • Saw this floating around Facebook before and it’s an interesting infographic.

    At the end of the day I think my take away and everyone else takes away is to control and schedule your time as best as possible. Especially in this space, otherwise your time will quickly get away from you.

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