If you spend much time learning about people who have become successful, you will learn that for the most part they were excellent time managers and profoundly disciplined in how they lived their lives. One illustration of this is Charles Darwin, whom I realize was not an artist. But he did make a name for himself. The February, 2013, edition of Smithsonian says this about life in the Darwin household:
"Life here went on like clockwork because Darwin made it so. Every hour of his day was scheduled to roughly the same pattern for 40 years: a walk before breakfast, then work from 8 a.m. to midday, with a pause in mid-morning to listen to Emma read novels or family letters aloud. He went for a walk with his dog before lunch, the family’s main meal, at 1 o’clock. Then he read the newspaper, wrote letters or read until 3 o’clock, then rested, working again from 4:30 to 5:30. A simple dinner was served at 7:30, after which he played backgammon with Emma or billiards with his children or listened to Emma play the piano."
Another person who made a bit of a name for himself was Michael Jordan, the basketball player. He once said, "People who think that what I do is easy don't know how hard I work at it." Jordan worked especially hard on his free throw shooting and 7300 of the 32000 points he scored during his career came from this aspect of his game. Jordan worked hard at this relatively unglamorous task because he knew that basketball games are often won 1 point at a time.
What can photographers learn from Charles Darwin and Michael Jordan? In short that discipline, hard work and routines help smooth the path to success.
In a brilliant little book Steal Like An Artist, the author, Austin Kleon, has two short chapters titled "Get Yourself A Calendar" and "keep a Logbook." He says that artists need to work especially hard at keeping track of their time because that isn't a native skill. I have many imperfections when it comes to discipline and time management but I know that the routines I have carved out have helped me survive as a teacher and are essential in my quest to be a better photographer.