Writer Routines: Albert Einstein

When you are self-employed, you have a lot of freedom with how to get your work done. I love starting my day reading; it’s an excellent way to wake up my brain (while not talking to anyone). But other than that, I have no particular routine for completing my work. So, I decided to research the habits of famous authors to shake things up on occasion.

Last week’s routine comes courtesy of physicist Albert Einstein. Listen, Einstein was a total badass in the production department, publishing more than 300 papers between 1901-1954.  The man was a machine.

I’m not going to drown you in my rendition of his accomplishments when it is done so eloquently elsewhere.

So apart from being a genius, what enabled Einstein to create such groundbreaking work at such a high rate? Well, he believed in exercise, taking time to think and rest. He was laser-focused on his work when it was go time.

Here are the basics of what Einstein honored in his daily routine and what I will be trying to mirror this week:

9-10a breakfast and reading
*Einstein didn’t care too much about his appearance, so I’m guessing there wasn’t much fuss over getting ready for work.

10:30a enjoy a walk to work, weather permitting

1p walk home for lunch, a nap and tea, and then work until dinner
*He enjoyed his walks as a time to reflect and take in the scenery. He was never too busy to talk to people who would stop him along the way.

6:30p dinner and then work through the evening until bed, which I’m going to guess was early since he believed in sleep!

*Full disclosure: I am looking forward to following this routine so I can get some sleep, and not feel guilty about it! For the past 45 days, we’ve been at the mercy of hospital stays and follow-ups due to my husband’s long and complicated cancer-related surgery. It has made it difficult to focus.

Monday’s have been pretty messed up for me. With Tim still under the care of the team at Barnes, it has meant many trips traveling back and forth to St. Louis – and whole days of missed work. Plus I am doing the chores of two people, all the grocery shopping and errands, meals, and pet care.

That means that most of my day is spent on “work” that is not billable and the bulk of my deadlines are met during the wee hours of Monday morning. (Zero dark thirty as my Grampa always used to say.)

By the time 10a rolls around on Monday morning, I am freakin’ beat from a marathon of work completed between Saturday and Sunday. I pretty much blew this routine the whole day. However, there was writing!

I start my day a little earlier than 9a to do my reading at 7a and squeeze in a trip to the grocery store followed by a late breakfast at 10a – which is a weird start to my day.  I don’t usually leave the house or run errands during my most productive hours.  But sometimes you just have to go with the flow.  However, I did follow the advice of not putting too much time into getting ready and was able to get out the door to my office at 10:30 with 20 minutes of prep time – that is awesome!!

Since my work is too far for a walk, I made up for it by climbing the six flights of stairs to my office where I worked until 1p. In lieu of a walk home, I walked some of my books down to our Little Free Library, stopped to chat with people, and went home for lunch and a nap. I could seriously commit to afternoon naps for all eternity.

I worked until dinner *Taco Night* and then worked through the evening. Since I am running a business, managing a household, and caring for a cancer patient my “work” includes client work, marketing, laundry, dishes, cooking, medicine dispensing, and bill paying. I don’t know if Einstein drank tea in the evenings, but I am. And by tea I mean wine. And by wine, I mean sparkling rosé. Cause I’m extra.

Pretty much the same day as yesterday, minus the grocery store. Ok, ok, and the second walk. Still loving the nap thing. And the not caring about my looks thing. Worked until 10:30p this evening.

This is day two of an excruciating headache, so I haven’t had a very productive day. I have to lead an economic vitality meeting at 3:30p so I should take a walk around the block either before or after to get my Einstein approved walk in for the day!!

Ok so I did not get my walk around the block, but I did do the stairs. I was so fatigued today that simply leading the meeting was a success.

I woke up at 3:30a today, and since I couldn’t sleep, I went ahead and got a start to my day. I’m feeling the stress of wanting so badly to be productive in my work, but feeling so tired all the time from having to manage all the things by myself. I did my readings and got started on some writing work and took my afternoon nap. I worked for the rest of the evening.

What did I do today? It was gone in a blur. It rained like crazy so no walk. Did my writing and took my nap.

Slept late today! Went right to work and didn’t get my walk or my nap. I worked through the night to meet my deadline for Monday.

What did we eat this week other than tacos on Monday night? I don’t know! This week seemed to flash by. Pretty much the only part of this routine I followed all week was napping and not giving a crap about how I looked. So did it pay off? Well, I’m certainly no Einstein, but I wrote and edited 9,764 more words this week than I did the previous week.  Given the fog of fatigue I was drowning in this week, I would say that counts for something! I think it was all those naps super charging my brain.

What do you think?  Naps ⇒ yes or no for a  creativity boost?


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