The Daily Habits of 8 Insanely Successful Creatives
Like flipping through the pages of your hero’s secret diary, there’s a certain thrill to hearing about the everyday rituals of the larger-than-life individuals we look to for inspiration. It’s like peering into the inner workings of some abstract genius—the act of which may arm us with some of the very same magic these icons and luminaries certainly harness. So, what does Diane von Furstenberg do every morning? What about David Lynch, Patti Smith, and Tom Ford? Read on to learn the daily habits these insanely successful creatives and more engage in every single day. They won’t be mad if you take a page from their books, we promise.
Set, and stick to, your priorities. Gwyneth Paltrow is a busy woman, but amid the rush of running a burgeoning website and e-commerce company and writing cookbooks, she prioritizes her family and her health each and every day. In addition to making time for a full two hours of exercise, she also told WWD that once Apple is dropped off at school, she and son Moses “have a croissant together in his school dining room and do reading together.” The rest of her day, composed of working on Goop, is bookended up picking up her kids from school and getting them to all of their activities.
Meditate. The prolific director is one of modern-day meditation’s most vocal and visible advocates. The benefits of regular meditation are well known, and Lynch has often touted the practice as the most important thing he does every day. In an interview with The Talks, he shared that “the enjoyment of working increases, the enjoyment of everything increases.”
Be selfless. Trailblazing designer Diane von Furstenberg has never gotten too big for generosity of spirit. In an interview with Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and CEO of Square, she shared that each morning, she takes the time to compose one email that does not benefit her in any way—whether it be an introduction, a note of congratulations, or a simple compliment.
Stick to a routine. When in the process of writing a novel, the prolific Japanese author swears by adopting a highly regimented daily routine. He tells Paris Review, “The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.” So, whether or not that is writing from 4 until 9 a.m. and swimming or running each afternoon like Murakami does, the daily habit is less important than a strict adherence to it, day after day.
Enjoy the luxury of a bath. “Believe it or not,” Tom Ford may take as many as four hot baths a day, according to Harper’s Bazaar. Even though we can imagine the ritual being a bit tough on the skin, it serves as something of a reset for Ford, readying him for the many transitions he needs to make throughout the day—from sleep to waking to winding down after a workday or readying for an evening out.
Be aimless. Despite being one of the most prolific musicians ever, Smith swears that she engages in various aimless activities every morning with no particular project or agenda in mind whatsoever. “It’s so important to me to have some time to myself,” she tells The Globe and Mail. “I don’t have duties, I’m not dealing with anything external. It doesn’t have to be writing. Maybe you’re taking a walk by the sea, saying prayers, working in a garden, baking bread. I love that when I get to whatever I have scheduled for that day, I have already achieved something for myself.”
Take time for yourself. Waking everyday at 5 a.m. gives longtime actress and muse Diane Keaton some much-adored, and necessary, time to herself. "Once I have my coffee, it's the best moment of my life,” she tells People.
Create a haven. Vera Wang sets aside her evening hours as a sacred place for stillness and getting sh*t done on her own schedule. Away from the hustle and bustle of the day, these evening hours are more productive than any other time for Wang. She told Fortune, “I'm able to think in a more peaceful way than when I'm in my normal routine. My normal routine is pretty much putting out fires all day in my office.”