The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Charted: How history’s most creative people organized their days

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Ludwig Van Beethoven was an early bird. Pablo Picasso? Not so much. And Franz Kafka, well, he basically subsisted on two long naps each day.

The lives of some of the most creative people history has seen vary not only in length or era, but also routine.

Cloud-based service company Podio, turned bits and pieces of Mason Currey's 2013 book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work into an easily digestible infographic (below). The colorful chart depicts how differently famous creative types have lived, hour by hour, throughout history. Sleep is hardly the only differentiator.

Some of the differences in creative schedules are granular. A select few, for instance, dedicated impressive portions of their day to exercise—Charles Dickens, in particular, who spend more than two hours exercising each day, was a work out fiend. Others, meanwhile, managed to make their art or creative work despite spending a good deal of their time working a separate day job (see Kurt Vonnegut, Wolfgang Mozart, and Sigmund Freud).

In terms of actual time spent working on their craft, Voltaire, who worked tireless and almost without respite throughout the day, appears to have set the standard. Others—most notably Pyotr Tchaikovsky—limited their work in order to spare more time for sleep, food, and leisure.

Everyone, of course, has allocated time for sleep. Just maybe not too much. Especially Mozart, Voltaire, and Freud.

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