How to Unleash Your Inner Genius: Lessons from Great Thinkers and Artists
For centuries, our definition of productivity has been confined within the constraints of a fixed daily routine. Most bosses still believe in the age-old adage that the employee who works the longest hours is the most productive. However, a new productivity chart based on Mason Currey’s book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, proves that most of the world’s greatest artists and thinkers didn’t follow a 9-to-5 routine.
These creative geniuses paid more attention to the ebb and flow of their creative energy, enriched their daily lives with self-care and mental stimulation, and had diverse daily routines. Here are five tips that can help you follow in their path to unleash your inner genius:
1. Set Your Own Routine, Then Stick to It
Everyone has a unique way of working. Skills that improve productivity vary from person to person since each one follows a unique perspective. What works for you may not work for someone else. Great artists, like Balzac and Flannery O’Connor, had distinct routines that were designed to optimize their work. Balzac saved his creative work for when most people were sleeping (from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m.), napped for a couple of hours, took up his creative work again, and then relaxed with friends and dinner. Flannery O’Connor woke up at 5 a.m. to attend church, did her creative work between 9 a.m. and noon, and then spent the rest of the day painting, receiving guests, taking care of her birds, and practicing her other hobbies.
Having a routine helps keep you focused on the task at hand, increases your productivity and energy, and reduces decision fatigue. Set a routine according to your unique style and stick to it.
2. Get Up With the Sun
For some people, rising early can increase productivity, given the immediate momentum to the day. Your brain has just spent the night sorting through neural connections, strengthening some, and pruning others. In this way, the morning is when your head is the clearest. Moreover, if you get up super early, no one else will be around, giving you plenty of peace and quiet. If you work better at night, stick to your night owl ways, and start your work once everyone else is asleep.
3. Pump It Up
Engaging in exercise helps to improve creativity. Many artists and thinkers are fond of casual walks, as they allow their minds to focus differently than before and open them up to unexpected interactions with the world. Letting your mind drift helps it reset and gives you a much-needed perspective on the task at hand.
4. Keep Your Day Job
Many artists and writers, like Kafka and William Carlos Williams, maintained day jobs in administrative positions or practiced as doctors. Having the structure and routine of a day job can stimulate productivity by forcing you to organize your life and set goals. It also helps you remain acquainted with the daily struggles of life, providing you with characters, emotions, and stories for your work. Dull as it may seem, the mundane aspects of life can be a great source of inspiration.
5. Learn to Work From Anywhere
Many budding artists tend to romanticize their workspace. However, most greats make do with whatever they get. Art happens wherever the artist is, especially when that artist is an adult with many responsibilities. To get things done, you need to learn to work in any environment, especially if you find yourself most creatively stimulated when on the road. Digital devices make this easier than ever, so don’t let your workspace limit you.
In conclusion, talent is crucial, but what separates the potentially great from the actual great is hard work and determination. To unleash your inner genius, you need to sit down and do the work, just like the greats did. Follow their examples, set your own routine, pump up your creativity, keep a day job, and learn to work from anywhere, and who knows what heights you might reach.