strange habits of geniuses and artists

water sprinking



stand work

obsessively comb hair throughout the day

wakeup bath

practice loud threatning voice talking in no people listening area

morning for work, afternoon for socializing and phone calls,evening for reading (avoiding answering call and phone using in morning, NO MORNING SOCIALIZING)

go for fast walk after long stretch work

cold air bath clotheless

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) on hand coloured engraving from 1845

Beethoven was one of the world’s greatest ever composers but his process for writing music was a little unconventional.

The German composer and pianist, who created some of the most celebrated works of classical music, had a peculiar way of stimulating his creativity. The German would often write his music in between washing himself.

He would pace around his room trying to think of compositions, then eventually pour a tub of water over himself and continue his work. He kept a tub of water handy. He would pour water over his head and splash it on his face while he worked, often soaking the floor and the furniture. He also liked to immerse his hands in cold water before playing the piano. He believed that this habit helped him to refresh his mind and improve his hearing.


Demosthenes hid out underground. The ancient Greek statesman and orator, who is regarded as one of the greatest speakers of all time, was not born with a natural gift for eloquence. He suffered from a speech impediment and a weak voice, and was often mocked by his rivals. To overcome his difficulties, he practiced his speeches in a cave or a cellar, where he would shout, recite, and gesture for hours. He also put pebbles in his mouth, shaved half of his head, and spoke in front of a mirror to improve his pronunciation, appearance, and confidence.

Igor Stravinsky

Stravinsky did headstands. The Russian-American composer and conductor, who revolutionized the music of the 20th century with his innovative and diverse works, had a peculiar way of clearing his brain. He would perform a headstand for 15 minutes every morning, as part of his daily routine. He believed that this habit improved his circulation, relieved his depression, and enhanced his creativity.

Every morning the Russian would stand on his head for 15 minutes.

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe wrote on scrolls. The American writer and poet, who is considered the father of the detective and horror genres, had a unique method of writing. He would write on long, narrow strips of paper, which he would glue together and roll into scrolls. He preferred this medium over regular sheets of paper, because he felt that it contributed to the continuity and flow of his work. He also liked to write in red ink, which he thought was more striking and dramatic.

Leonardo da Vinci and Tesla

Da Vinci and Tesla shunned eight-hour sleep schedules. The Italian polymath and the Serbian-American inventor, who were both renowned for their genius and versatility in various fields of science and art, did not follow the conventional pattern of sleeping for eight hours a night. Instead, they adopted a polyphasic sleep cycle, which means they took multiple short naps throughout the day and night. Da Vinci reportedly slept for 15 minutes every four hours, while Tesla slept for two hours a day. They claimed that this habit allowed them to work longer and more efficiently.

SLEEPING TIME KAM KAIR DAHI… ani nap me gusa dahi… throughout the day, take nap

Key elements of Oprah Winfrey’s routine

By waking up without an alarm clock, Oprah maintains healthy sleeping habits and prepares her body for a successful day even before she gets up.

By relying on the alarm clock in the morning, we risk waking up from a deep sleep, which might leave us feeling groggy and disoriented.

But, when we wait for our body to gradually enter the stage of light sleep, we wake up naturally, feeling refreshed and energized.

Since Oprah tries to wake up without an alarm, her morning begins somewhere between 6 a.m. and 6:20 a.m.

Key elements of Elon Musk’s routine

By developing a habit of breaking his workday into 5-minute blocks, Musk manages to have better control of his time and maintain high productivity levels.

Taking a shower immediately after waking up is beneficial for his productivity too since research has shown that this habit regulates our circadian rhythm and helps us engage in critical thinking.

Key elements of Evan Williams’ routine

Williams takes into account his biological prime time and allocates his work time and gym time accordingly.

  • He acknowledges the fact that our energy levels drop at some point during the day, so we can no longer maintain the necessary focus on important matters.
  • Williams engages in work first thing in the morning, when his ability to focus is at its peak.
  • He goes to the gym in the middle of the day, usually mid-morning or later in the afternoon.
  • He goes back to work after the gym.

Key elements of Leo Babauta’s morning routine

Getting into the habit of deciding on the three most important things that require his attention during the day, Babauta avoids multitasking because he’s entirely focused on his priorities.

After waking up, he usually tries to decide on the three most important things that he has to do that day.

Nikola Tesla


Picture: Herbert Barraud/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Another inventor who had unusual sleep patterns was the Serbian-American electrical pioneer, Nikola Tesla.

He preferred only two hours sleep a day, but that wasn’t the oddest thing he would do.

It is said that he would curl his toes 100 times per foot before going to bed in the evening as he reportedly believed it boosted his brain cells.

He also enjoyed the company of pigeons but hated jewellery and overweight women.

Friedrich Nietzsche


Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Nietzsche is regarded as one of Europe’s most important philosophers whose work has influenced many aspects of modern philosophy and intellectual history.

He did all of his work standing up and would admonish anyone who didn’t.

Nietzsche once called his friend Gustave Flaubert a “nihilist” for relaxing while he was working.

Others who enjoyed writing and standing at the same time included Virginia Woolf and Lewis Carroll.

Charles Dickens


Picture: London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Image

It appears that writing perfect novels wasn’t the only type of perfection that Dickens strived for in his life.

Reports suggest that the novelist hated having even a single strand of hair out of place and would obsessively comb his hair throughout the day.

He would also dictate his writing to an assistant and go over sentences multiple times, which experts have since speculated could have been a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Dickens also liked his study to contain a small vase of flowers, a large paper, knife, a gilt leaf with a rabbit perched on it and a bronze statuettes of two fat toads wielding swords.

Key elements of Coco Chanel’s routine

Although Coco Chanel was so engrossed in her work that she didn’t take any breaks, she managed to adjust her work schedule to her own biological rhythm.

  • When at the office, Coco Chanel used to work on her designs for hours without sitting down.
  • She rarely took any breaks and stayed at work late into the night.

Sigmund Freud’s daily routine

Apart from developing revolutionary theories that led to him being known as the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud spent hours working with patients in his private practice.

To be able to balance such a great deal of work, Freud carefully structured his day.

Sigmund Freud’s schedule

  • Freud used to get up at 7 a.m.
  • As soon as he woke up, he’d eat breakfast and trim his beard.
  • From 8 a.m. until noon, Freud used to treat his patients.
  • From 2 p.m. until 3 p.m., he would go for a fast walk.
  • Upon returning from a walk, Sigmund Freud would work with his patients again from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m.
  • Then, he would eat dinner, spend time with his family, and focus on his reading and writing until 1 a.m, when he’d go to sleep.

Key elements of Sigmund Freud’s routine

The founder of psychoanalysis certainly did have long workdays — he spent 10 hours per day treating his patients.

Yet, he never forgot to include breaks and physical activity in his daily schedule, which helped him restore his energy levels after a long stretch of work.

Victor Hugo’s daily routine

One of the most important French writers Victor Hugo is widely known for his brilliant novels.

But, he’s also famous for his unusual writing habits that helped him combat procrastination.

Victor Hugo’s schedule

  • The writer used to wake up at 6 a.m.
  • He would write from 6:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. and then again from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. It is said that he used to remove his clothes and instruct his help to hide them until he finished writing.
  • After finishing work, it was usually time for his hour-long ice bath that he would take on the roof.
  • From 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., he engaged in demanding physical exercises.
  • Afterwards, it was usually time to visit the barber and his mistress.
  • From 8 p.m. until 10 p.m., Hugo would have dinner, play cards, or go out.

Key elements of Victor Hugo’s routine

Even though Victor Hugo’s method of battling procrastination does seem unusual, it helped him produce some of his greatest works and still have enough time to lead an active social life.

Susan Sontag’s daily routine

Highly acclaimed American writer, filmmaker, and political activist Susan Sontag published more than 7 collections of essays during her lifetime.

Still, Sontag had a hard time overcoming procrastination, so she needed to develop a set of strict rules to prevent herself from postponing her work.

Susan Sontag’s schedule

  • Sontag usually tried to get up before 8 a.m., but she allowed herself to break this rule once a week.
  • Since mornings were reserved for writing, she tried to avoid answering the phone early in the day.
  • Afternoons were usually free for socializing and responding to phone calls.
  • Susan Sontag spent most of her evenings reading.

Key elements of Susan Sontag’s routine

Being particularly aware of the dangers that come with giving in to distractions, Susan Sontag came up with a clever rule — don’t respond to phone calls if you’re trying to get anything done.


Benjamin Franklin’s daily routine

One of America’s Founding Fathers is well known for his many roles — he was a scientist, inventor, writer, philosopher, and entrepreneur.

But, to juggle multiple tasks that came with different professions, he needed to work out a proper routine.

Benjamin Franklin’s schedule

  • Benjamin Franklin was very concerned with self-improvement. He once even took up a 13-week challenge to improve his moral virtues.
  • He used to wake up at 5 a.m.
  • Immediately after waking up, he’d try to come up with a response to the question What good shall I do this day?
  • Franklin used to work from 8 a.m. until noon, and then again from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Upon finishing his work, he would spend 4 hours (from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) just socializing and listening to music.
  • Before going to sleep at 10 p.m., he’d try to respond to the question What good have I done today?
  • He’d also take a cold “air bath” by sitting next to an open window without clothes.

Key elements of Benjamin Franklin’s routine

Since self-improvement was such a vital addition to Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule, he’d make sure to stop and reflect on his day every evening.

This habit allowed him to realistically assess his actions and direct his attention to all the changes that he needed to introduce to his routine in the future.

John Milton’s daily routine

The famous writer of Paradise Lost remained a prolific author even after losing his sight at the age of 43.

Although he had to rely on dictation, he still managed to publish more than 15 pieces of work after his loss of vision.

John Milton’s schedule

  • Milton had a strict sleep schedule. He’d usually go to bed at 9 p.m. and wake up just before 4 a.m.
  • After waking up, the writer used to spend an hour meditating.
  • When the meditation was over, Milton used to focus on his work from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • 12 p.m. was Milton’s lunch time.
  • From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the writer engaged in an unusual form of exercise — he would walk up and down his garden for hours.
  • Between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., he used to socialize and eat dinner.

Key elements of John Milton’s routine

Even though John Milton used to wake up extremely early, the fact that he went to bed not later than 9 p.m. enabled him to develop healthy sleeping habits and restore his energy levels.


leonardo da vinci

To keep himself going for as long as possible, he practiced polyphasic sleep which is the practice of taking short naps multiple times in a 24-hour period. He slept no more than two hours a day.  Polyphasic sleep is common in many animals, and is believed to be the sleep state of our ancient ancestors when they needed most of a 24 hour day to hunt and gather food for their daily survival.


Charles Dickens was a quirky guy. One of his required writing-time necessities was a desk that faced due north, and even when he slept he took every precaution to ensure that his body was aligned with the poles—head at the northern end, feet toward the south. In addition to his bizarre directional work and sleep arrangements, Dickens also liked to hang out at the morgue, where he watched people work on incoming bodies. He followed his “attraction to repulsion” to crime scenes, too, where he’d try to analyze the locations to solve murders. Whether any of this was helpful to his literary plots is second to the regular practice of thinking creatively to solve hard problems. (That said, there’s no report that Dickens ever solved a murder.)


To minimize internal and external distractions, I do two things before I sit down to write. First, I brush my teeth. There’s nothing more distracting (especially for a dental hygienist) than the feel of fuzzy teeth. Who can compose a coherent thought while a colony of bacteria sets up housekeeping between your premolars? Second, I clip my fingernails super short. The click click click of nails on a keyboard is as disruptive as a kid dropping marbles one by one onto a ceramic tile floor—for hours. The sound drives all brilliant thoughts far, far away (Lori Hatcher, author of Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible).

10. Virginia Woolf wrote at a standing desk.

Regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) penned her classics — among them To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway — from a standing desk. Like a painter, she preferred to be able to regularly step away from her work to get a different view.

One Request ? Please Share This