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JANUARY 16, 2009

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Daily Routines


If you’ve caught yourself complaining about time — or the lack of it — consider Anthony Trollope, who managed to write 49 novels in 35 years without letting go of his day job. Or Benjamin Franklin, who faced each dawn with the question “What good shall I do this day?”

Launched in 2007 by a writer and editor named Mason Currey, Daily Routines describes the work habits of highly effective people, who are grouped by their occupations (writers, architects) and inclinations (drinkers, nappers). No two paths to greatness are the same: Isaac Asimov wrote from 7:30 in the morning until 10 at night; Truman Capote did not. Franz Kafka was a notorious procrastinator; William Styron ended his nights with two or three hours of drinking, smoking, and listening to music. The hardest worker of all? Mathematician Paul Erdös, who loaded up on Benzedrine, Ritalin, and caffeine, and often worked for 19 hours at a stretch. “A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems,” he explained.

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