This infographic distills the routines of 36 inspiring women, making it possible to track every hour of their day and compare their daily rituals

What time does Beyonce get up in the morning? How does Oprah spend her evenings? What musical instrument did Jane Austen play before breakfast? When did Coco Chanel start work for the day? It’s unlikely you’re able to answer any of those questions right now, but soon you will, because the daily rituals of some of history’s most famous and successful women have been mapped out to show you the real story about their days.

Using information from the Mason Currey book "Daily Rituals: Women at Work", this infographic has been created to show you what kind of lifestyle can help you become a famous writer, artist, singer, entrepreneur or athlete. Of course, talent helps too, but there’s still lessons to be learned from these rituals.

Sleep

Everyone needs sleep, but as this infographic shows, not everyone needs to sleep for the same amount of time or even at the same time. Just look at Josephine Baker or Marie Anne de Vichy, both of whom stayed up all night and went to bed at the time most of us are having our breakfast. Or writer Germaine de Stael, who not only lived a nocturnal life but somehow survived on only a few hours’ sleep while still involving herself in politics, intellectual discourse and travel.

Some women managed to fit in some extra sleep during the day, including dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, who would go back to bed at 9am if she didn’t have any morning appointments. Meanwhile, poet Julia Ward Howe, and singers Beyonce and Lady Gaga are all fans of a power nap, so if it works for them, maybe you should consider scheduling in a quick snooze?

Eating

Your eating schedule is probably along the lines of three meals a day, one in the morning, one at lunchtime and one in the evening. For successful women, mealtimes are a bit more complicated and a bit less traditional. Visual artist Marisol, for example, would have her breakfast at midday, having only just woken up after working all night, while her dinner would be served after 9pm.


Ballerina Anna Pavlova wouldn’t eat her evening meal til after midnight, while Germaine de Stael wouldn’t be having her lunch until most of the rest of are sitting down for our last meal of the day. As for Lady Gaga, her routine involves no less than five meals spread across the day, the last of which takes place in the early hours of the morning after a gig. Of course, eating five meals a day could have a negative impact on your waistline if you’re not Lady Gaga, so approach this one with caution.

Working

When it comes to being successful, it’s very hard to do it without a good work ethic, so it’s no surprise to see these women mostly manage to fit a lot of working hours into their days. There are exceptions, of course, with Jane Austen only needing to write between 11 and 4 to produce her beloved classic novels while Flannery O’Connor did even less writing and still made her name as one of America’s great authors. No wonder we all want to be writers.

For some of these women, their schedules no doubt vary greatly. For example, Beyonce’s daily rituals shown here don’t actually have her down for any ‘work’ at all (though as any parent will tell you, having young children means that every waking hour is technically ‘work’), whereas a day where she’s recording new music, going on tour or making a film would look very different indeed.

Artists and fashion designers seem to have it toughest out of everyone, with most of the women featured having very long working days that generally turn into working nights. Coco Chanel was famous for her late hours, which must have been a delight for her staff, but even she was a lightweight compared to dancers and choreographers like Pina Bausch and Josephine Baker, both of whom worked until the early hours.

Working 9-5 certainly isn’t a way to make a living for these successful women, with very few of them having a working ritual that resembles the kind of hours most of us have to work. Maybe there’s something we can all learn from that. At the very least you’ve now got some ammunition for the next time your boss complains that you’re not getting into work early enough…

Downtime

Certainly nobody can work all of the time and all of these daily schedules show that they managed to find time in their lives for some fun and relaxation. For Kim Kardashian that means having a bath after breakfast before needing to get glammed up for filming, while visual artist Joan Jonas likes to watch old movies in the evening and Julia Ward Howe liked to play whist.


There’s a lot of dogs walking and coffee drinking on these schedules, while actress Gertrude Lawrence liked to play chess and do flower arranging to relax before an evening performance. There’s also a split between the introverts and extroverts on the list, with some liking to spend their evenings entertaining guests, while others preferred to have a quiet night in reading a book, and for the more modern stars there’s always emails and social media to keep up with even on their downtime.

They have it easy compared to poor Lillian Hellman, whose writing career had to be balanced against life on a farm, so her schedule involved getting up early to milk the cows or muck out the barn, while feeding chickens and other farm chores had to be done after work and before relaxing in the evening.
So, these are the daily rituals of famous women, past and present. This is how they managed to get to the very top of their professions and stay there. Which of these schedules looks the most like your own daily rituals? Are there any tips you’ve found that you might try to incorporate into your life?

The daily rituals of successful women (infographic)

Click image to enlarge.

Daily Rituals of Famous Women - chart

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