Creativity and Routine

There's been a lot of chatter on the internet about routine and creativity. I was thinking about why routine breeds creativity, and how that notion is at odds with the 8 hour office desk work day. When I was looking at the infographic below, I was really struck by 3 things: 

1. Its surprising how little time they actually spend on creative work, and how its mostly broken up. The 8 hour day could be conducive to creativity, if it were broken up and there wasn't as much pressure to get everything done in vast blocks of time. Working and concentration come in fits and can be tough to sit at a desk next to the same people every day and come up with something novel. The largest block of time for creativity is about 6 hours, and even within that, the description says the person got up and took regular walks or breaks. 

2. Almost everyone starts the day with breakfast. Reaffirming my mother's nagging as a child that breakfast starts you off right. Making time for yourself in the morning is something that has also appeared on every "top 10 habits to keep for 2015" list that I've looked at. It is important. There's a marked difference between the days when I rush out the door and the days when I make time to feel ready for the day. 

3. Office places should allow and encourage sleep, food/leisure and exercise, rather than actively or passively creating a culture that discourages regular breaks for food/leisure and exercise at times that may not coincide with the 12pm lunch break. I'm lucky enough to not feel that pressure at my current position. I can leave at any time I want, and basically make my own hours within the realm of business hours, as long as my work gets done. 

I have noticed I am more creative and productive on days when I have similar routines to those in the graphic. Using the routine of getting up and making time for myself, not sitting at my desk for 8 hours, and get having uninterrupted blocks of creative time followed by a break really makes a difference in the outcome of my days. 


Want to develop a better work routine? Discover how some of the world's greatest minds organized their days.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).