Your work regimen

Jun 27, 2021

If you feel your like you’re losing control and you don’t know how you can accomplish all you want to, you could benefit from establishing a routine.

There is a common misconception – popularized in movies and television – that creative people have to be messy, disorganized, and live chaotic lives. I have had the pleasure of working with many super creative (and productive) people over my lifetime, and I have to say the majority of them do not fit that stereotype whatsoever!

In fact, most are highly disciplined and have a real work regimen they stick to. One of the best examples of this I have ever known is Dalva Duarte. She is a well-known painter – born in Brazil and educated in Paris – who specializes in portraits of indigenous people, among other things. Although she has lived in Saint-Priest in France since 2000, I met Dalva in the early ‘90s when she and her husband lived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

At that time, she had a 10,000-square-foot studio – complete with an old, white, MGA roadster and white Porsche 356 coupe, along with Hemingway’s desk and piano – where she painted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., five days a week. At that time, she was selling five to seven paintings every month. I cannot tell you how impressed I was with her work and the organization of her space. Here she was – probably one of the most talented oil painters alive today – and everything in her space was in perfect order and completely organized. It told me something.

I have witnessed much of the same discipline and work regimen in many of the most successful architects and engineers I have worked with over my lifetime. John Portman had a regimen later in his career that started with painting and sculpting every day until noon and then work after. I could cite many other examples.

My point is this: If you – as a creative person yourself – feel your life is spinning out of control and you don’t know how you can get done all you want to, maybe you could benefit from establishing more of a routine or work regimen. Divide up your day into sections. Devote specific times on specific days to certain types of activities. Have some phone-free times as a part of each day. Try that for a month and see if your productivity improves and you feel like your life is more under control. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

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