Eminem’s Old-School Trick for New Age Success? Benjamin Franklin Knew It FirstCreative genius comes to those who maintain a schedule.

Eminem performs during the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California.

In the world of creativity, there’s a common myth that genius strikes sporadically, in bursts of divine inspiration. However, if we look at the habits of some of the most successful figures across history and industries, we find a different story.

Eminem, one of the greatest rappers and lyricists of all time, shares an unexpected commonality with Benjamin Franklin, the quintessential polymath: a disciplined daily work routine.

        Eminem performs during the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. Photo: Getty Images

The psychological backbone of routine
Research in social psychology and mental health has consistently underscored the importance of routines. According to Psychology Today, established routines are linked to better mental health, aiding in managing conditions like depression and addiction. A structured day-to-day not only provides stability but also mitigates the mental load of constant decision-making. This consistency is crucial in fields like music and writing, where the pressure to be constantly innovative and innovating can be overwhelming. Eminem’s disciplined 9-to-5 work ethic in the studio, far from the chaotic schedule one might expect from a creative genius, is an embodiment of this principle.

According to Hot New Hip Hop, Eminem is described as bringing discipline to his studio time. “He was the first artist I worked with who treated the business like a real job,” Akon said. “He comes in at 9am every day to the studio, takes his lunch break at 1pm, and is out of there by 5pm. It’s like a schedule. I didn’t expect that from him. The first day I come, I come around 6. Like we going to do an evening session. I get to the studio, they said ‘Em just left!’ He said ‘I’m out of here!’ I said ‘I just got to the studio, you coming back here?’ He said, ‘yeah, I’ll be back there at 9am,” Akon said.

Routines and resilience in creative work
A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found that routines help moderate impulsiveness and oppositional behavior, suggesting that predictability and structure offer a sense of safety and expectation. Applying this to the creative process, the routine becomes a sanctuary for the artist. Stephen King, renowned for his prolific writing, adheres to a similar discipline, famously setting a daily goal of 2,000 words. King’s routine, like Eminem’s, dispels the myth of sporadic genius–it’s not about waiting for inspiration but rather creating an environment where creativity can thrive.

A schedule against the tide of flexibility
Today’s work culture increasingly champions flexibility and the breaking of the traditional 9-5 work mold. However, Eminem’s and King’s adherence to a set schedule, reminiscent of Benjamin Franklin’s disciplined lifestyle, offers a counter-narrative. They prove that a fixed routine can actually enhance creativity, rather than stifle it.

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, this realization is vital. In a world where boundaries between work and personal life are increasingly blurred, setting a structured workday can be a tool for sustainability and long-term success.

The irony in today’s flexible work environment is that as traditional work hours erode, so too can the framework within which creativity and productivity flourish. Eminem’s 9-5 approach, mirroring Franklin and King’s structured routines, stands as a testament to the power of a well-organized schedule. For entrepreneurs and creatives, who often fall into the trap of working at all hours, adopting a more regimented routine can lead to greater efficiency, creativity, and overall well-being.

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