Igor Stravinsky started off his day with morning exercise.
Irrespective of whether he had the motivation to work, Stravinsky isolated himself within his chosen workspace and composed for at least 3-4 hours every day. He often filled in the remaining time with less mentally demanding tasks such as replying to his letters and practising the piano.
A particular habit the Russian-born composer developed while composing was to close all the windows and blinds. He recalled, “I have never been able to compose unless sure that no one could hear me.”
If encountered with a creative block, Stravinsky had an interesting solution: he performed a headstand. In his words, this short burst of physical activity “rests the head and clears the brain”.
The habits practised by Stravinsky, following a strict work routine, eliminating all distractions from the workplace and recognising when his productivity was low, helped him attain a high level of mental performance and ensured his creative juices kept flowing.