They say the average Jane’s time on earth will be completely forgotten after 6 generations (that’s what I like to call a not-fun fun fact). But if you’re famous, people will fawn over the inert details of your life forever. Case in point: this graph detailing the daily rituals of influential women in history.
Adapted from Mason Curry’s new book, Daily Rituals: Women at Work, BodyLogicMD created an interactive tool so that you can finally stop wondering how many hours a night Octavia Butler slept (it’s 7, by the way).
We’ve squinted long and hard at this graph for adulting inspiration, but the best takeaway we’ve gotten for ourselves is that, unless you’re literally an athlete or performer, regular exercise is not a prerequisite for being an acclaimed artist.
Our lives are nothing close to Oprah’s, who can afford to choose gardening instead of working (yes, one of the time slots say “work or gardening”). You must’ve really made it if work is so inessential you can just choose to garden instead. The only time we have a ritual anything close to hers is called “the weekend.” But it’s certainly inspiring.
Given the fact that many of these inspirational women live in a completely different environment than ours, it would be careless to recommend making changes to your life based on that.
Instead, we decided to highlight the women we’re in awe of — past and present — not just for their work ethic, but also how they have intentional fun and relaxation time in their lives.
Like Germaine de Staël, a French-Swiss writer and political activist who, among other very punk rock things, was writing a novel about an intelligent woman who explored life through the lens of love. This was just wayyy too liberal for old Napoleon, who ended up exiling her from France.
Looking at De Staël’s daily habits, it becomes clear she was the equivalent of your self-described “intellectual” friend who stays up all night with your roommate debating Heidegger on the front porch. She kept bat-like sleeping hours (6 to 10 a.m.) and reserved a liberal 6 hours each night — from midnight to 6 a.m., no less — for “conversation.”
Then there’s Jane Austen, who lived exactly the life you expect she would have. She slept a respectable 8 hours a night, from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., she greeted the day with over an hour of piano playing, followed by breakfast with the family, before dedicating the bulk of her day to writing.
Jokes aside, I’m glad someone took the time to piece together these women’s daily lives. After all, women have had a tough go of it. Many of these women, brilliant as there were, didn’t even make it into the history books.
If you want to see the full interactive graphic, BodyLogicMD has it. You can play around to see who slept the least (Germaine De Stael, duh) to who worked the most (all of women, really).
Just don’t expect it to answer the burning question we had while staring at these graphs: what time of day did they poop?
Ginger Wojcik is an assistant editor at Greatist. Follow more of her work on Medium or on Twitter.