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What We Can Learn From Famous Routines

If you’re struggling with motivation, it’s likely your issue is a lack of structure within your daily life. William James, one of the most influential psychologists in history, wrote that only through strict habits and schedules can we “free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.”

People often imagine that famous individuals spend most of their time poolside, until the moment when motivation or inspiration hits them, sending them into action. This is almost never true. Internationally famous portrait artist Chuck Close once wrote that “inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” Routine, we can then see, is essential. Check out these successful people and their strict daily schedules:

Steve Jobs
The famous brain behind Apple’s ridiculous success once said that, each morning, he asks himself a question — “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If the answer was no for too many days in a row, he knew he had to change something. He was famously a proponent of face-to-face meetings, which he held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, often with little plan in place. He preferred ordinary, intense discussion.

Franz Kafka
Kafka is among the most celebrated authors of all time, but fame didn’t shine on him while he still lived. Instead, he had his day job to contend with, working as a lawyer for the Workers Accident Insurance Institute — which he despised. So it was absolutely necessary that he fit his creative time into a schedule: he’d go to work, come home, eat and exercise with family, and then write into the wee hours of the night, until he had to sleep.

Oprah Winfrey
Running a media empire isn’t easy. Oprah does it by getting up every day between 5:30 and 6 a.m. After an hour in the gym, she’s in the makeup chair by 7:30. By as early as 11:30, she’s filmed two separate shows. After that, she takes a break to sip on a green super juice, made of spinach, parsley, a little bit of apple juice, celery, and cucumbers. She resumes filming at 2 p.m. When she’s done, she heads to the gym once again, before spending some much needed rest time with her partner, Stedman Graham, at home.

The key to inspiration is being in the same place each day, ready to receive it. With practice, you’ll soon be able to bolt down your daily routine and avoid those sluggish, useless days!