Visualized: The Daily Routines of Famous Creatives
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Visualized: The Daily Routines of Famous Creatives
What is the best daily routine to unlock creativity, or is there such a thing?
Many modern suggestions for optimizing creativity—like scheduling time for “deep work,” and building small, sustainable “atomic habits”—can be traced back to famous creatives in many different eras. And though they all found success, they employed different methods as well.
In this unique visualization, RJ Andrews from InfoWeTrust has charted how notable creatives in different fields spent their days. He picked 16 of the 161 “inspired minds” covered by Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, a book by writer and editor Mason Currey published in 2013.
How Much “Creativity Time” in Famous Daily Routines?
Dividing the day into 24 hours, Andrews denoted certain categories for daily activities like working creatively, sleeping, and other miscellaneous endeavors (meals, leisure, exercise, and social time).
For the creatives with a separate day job—Immanuel Kant and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart—their ordinary labor is also counted in miscellaneous activities.
Below is a breakdown of the daily routine of all 16 people featured above:
|Name||Occupation||Creative (hrs)||Sleep (hrs)||Miscellaneous (hrs)|
|Honoré de Balzac||Novelist||13.5||8.5||2|
|L.V. Beethoven||Composer / Pianist||8||8||8|
|Charles Darwin||Naturalist / Biologist/ Geologist||7||8||9|
|Benjamin Franklin||Writer / Inventor / Scientist / Statesman||8||7||9|
|W.A. Mozart||Composer / Pianist||8||5||11|
The average and median amount of time spent on creative work for these individuals was just over 8 hours a day. At the extremes were two French novelists, Honoré de Balzac with 13.5 hours daily spent on creative work, and Victor Hugo with only 2 hours.
Interestingly, the allocation of creative work time was different in almost every daily routine. Maya Angelou’s routine resembles the modern work day, with the bulk of her writing between 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Others like Kant and Mozart had creativity blocks when time allowed, such as before and after their teaching jobs.
Then there are outliers like Honoré de Balzac and Sigmund Freud, who worked as much as they could. Balzac wrote from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with just an hour and a half nap break in between, fueled by up to 50 cups of coffee. Freud split up his creative work into three different blocks: analyzing patients in the morning, consulting in the afternoon, and reading and writing journals into the late evening.
But somewhere in their days, most of these brilliant minds made sure to get a good rest, with an average of 7.25 hours of sleep across the board.
Schedule Yourself to Create Success
Creativity may ebb and flow, but these great minds had one clear thing in common: scheduling time for creative work.
The perfect daily routine was usually what fit in with their lifestyle (and their bodies), not based on an arbitrary amount of work. For example, night owls with later chronotypes worked late, while socialites and politicians found time outside of their commitments.
They also found time to move and enjoy life. Half of the people in the dataset specified exercise in their accounts—either leisurely strolls or fast walks. Many also scheduled social time with partners, friends, or children, often paired with a meal.
Perhaps the greatest insight, however, is that the day-to-day routine doesn’t have to look extraordinary to be able to create extraordinary work.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Comparing Population Pyramids Around the World
Population pyramids can show a country’s demographic advantages and challenges at a glance. See how different parts of the world stack up.
Understanding and Comparing Population Pyramids
Demographic data can reveal all kinds of insights about a population, from the country’s fertility and mortality rates to how certain events and policies have shaped the makeup of a population.
Population pyramids are one of the best ways to visualize population data, and comparing the pyramids of various countries and regions side-by-side can reveal unexpected insights and differences between groups.
This graphic uses population data from the United Nations to compare the demographics of some select nations and regions of the world, showcasing how much age distributions can vary.
Three Types of Population Pyramids
Although population pyramids can come in all shapes and sizes, most generally fall into three distinct categories:
- Expansive Pyramids: Recognized by their traditional “pyramid-like” shape with a broad base and narrow top, expansive pyramids reflect a population with a high birth rate along with a high mortality rate which is most common in developing countries.
- Constrictive Pyramids: With a narrow base and thicker middle and top sections of the pyramid, constrictive pyramids often occur in developed economies whose populations have low birth rates and long life expectancies.
- Stationary Pyramids: These pyramids showcase an evenly distributed population across age groups, often found in newly-developed countries which have stable birth and mortality rates.
Each population pyramid is essentially a visual snapshot of a nation’s current demographic breakdown, shaped by fluctuating birth and mortality rates as well as changes to immigration and social policies.
Understanding the inherent risks associated with different pyramid types can help give insight into the challenges these populations face.
The Risks of Different Population Pyramid Types
Each type of population pyramid structure has unique challenges and advantages often characterized by the country or region’s current stage of economic development.
Populations with expansive pyramids, such as the one representing the continent of Africa, have the advantage of a larger youth and working-aged population, however this advantage can be rendered null if job growth, education, and health care aren’t prioritized.
Countries with constrictive pyramids like Japan face the challenge of supporting their outsized aging population with a diminishing working-aged population. While immigration and increasing birth rates can help in both the short and long term, due to the working population being outnumbered, countries with constrictive pyramids must find ways to increase their productivity to avoid potential declines in economic growth.
China and India’s Demographics Compared
After the world’s population reached eight billion people last year, 2023 brought a new population milestone as India overtook China as the world’s most populous country.
When you compare the two nations’ population pyramids, you can see how India’s population has a strong base of young and working-aged people compared to China’s more constrictive population pyramid that also features a higher median age.
This demographic difference is largely shaped by China’s one-child policy which since 2021 was loosened to be a three-child policy. As a result, China’s total fertility rate is around 1.2 today, in contrast to India’s total fertility rate of 2.0.
While India is set to ride the productivity boom of its large working-age population, the country will have to ensure it can keep its population pyramid stable as the majority of the population ages and total fertility rates continue to decline.
|Interested in learning more about the various factors that affect demographics?
VC+ Members get an exclusive look comparing the G7 and BRICS nations, how war shapes population pyramids, and immigration’s role in demographics.
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