The paradox of how routines can help us be more productive and creative

Former US president Barack Obama famously had a wardrobe full of identical suits. As a world leader, life presents more than enough big decisions – Obama’s reasoning was that it made sense to minimise the complexity of the small decisions. Artists are often thought of as rather different. Francis Bacon, for example, had a tempestuous personal life, a notoriously chaotic studio, and a penchant for late nights at London’s seedier drinking clubs. Yet even Bacon’s working habits were surprisingly regular – usually starting work at first light with strong tea, before heading out around midday for his first glass of champagne.

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