Want to get stuff done? Try these productivity tips from some of the most influential minds in history, as compiled by Mason Curry in Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.
2. Benjamin Franklin was “early to bed, early to rise,” and in his later years, early to take it all off. Franklin’s morning “air baths” consisted of reading and writing completely starkers for about an hour. Then he put his clothes on and got back to work.
3. Many famous writers and artists made sure to eat breakfast. Victor Hugo preferred his eggs raw.
4. Before Freud went into the office, he got a daily house call/beard trimming from his barber.
5. Agatha Christie never owned a desk. She wrote her 80 novels, 19 plays, and numerous other works wherever she could sit down.
6. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up.
7. Thomas Wolfe also wrote standing up, using the top of a refrigerator as his desktop. (He was 6’6″.)
8. Some people actually get work done at Starbucks. Rainbow Rowell, author of the critically acclaimed YA novel Eleanor and Park, has written all of her books at the coffee chain.
9. Richard Wright did all of his writing, rain or shine, on a bench in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park.
10. Maya Angelou is incapable of writing in pretty surroundings. She prefers working in nondescript hotel and motel rooms.
11. It wasn’t that Frank Lloyd Wright necessarily worked well under pressure. He just wouldn’t sketch anything until he’d worked out an entire design in his head.
12. Truman Capote told The Paris Review, “I can’t think unless I’m lying down.” Neither could Proust.
13. When composer Igor Stravinsky felt blocked, he’d stand on his head to clear his mind.
14. Woody Allen gets in the shower — sometimes multiple times per day — when he needs a mental boost. (Here’s why his habit just might work.)
15. Classical pianist Glenn Gould fasted on days he recorded music. He thought it made his mind sharper.