Now here’s an interesting idea. “Visualization artist” R. J. Andrews culled through the biographies of famous people and put together a graphic depiction of their daily routines, published at Twisted Sifter as “The daily routines of famous artists and scholars.” Number 5 on the list of twelve is our hero, Charles Darwin. First, the key to how the activities were coded:
Now, how did Darwin spend his day? Here it is:
Seven hours of sleep (same as me!), and lots of rest. In fact, it looks as if he put in about four hours of genuine work per day, and then spent two hours awake in bed (besides his seven hours’ sleep) “solving problems.”
One could conclude from this that Darwin was a sluggard, but in fact we know that’s not true. For, while having his walks, reading his mail, and reading books, Darwin was constantly pondering his Big Theory. Add to that the fact that most of the time he wasn’t well, with bouts of depression, vomiting, and general malaise. It’s amazing that besides The Origin, he wrote 11 other books.
But compared to Freud, Darwin really was a sluggard. Look at how Sigmund spent his days: a minimum of ten hours, or even 12+ if you stretch it. Pity that so much of his work yielded nothing.
Go look at the other artists and poets, the most diligent of which seems to have been Beethoven, putting in a solid 8 hours a day of composing. That sounds tough!
One thing I’ve concluded from perusing all those graphs is that I’m working too hard and not achieving enough!