On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, business executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and rituals.
In 2013, Pharrell Williams had one of the best years that a musician could imagine.
“Blurred Lines” — which he co-wrote and produced — sat on top of the Billboard charts for 12 weeks, and was the best-selling song of the year in the US. “Get Lucky” — his collaboration with Daft Punk and Nile Rodgers — followed closely behind, selling over 9 million copies, making it one of the best-selling songs of all time. A few months later, Williams dropped “Happy” which would go on to become an internet sensation and his fourth number one single.
To top it all off, in December of that year, the Grammys announced that Williams was up for seven nominations, including Producer of the Year. He went on to win four awards at 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
Williams is also the founder of multi-media creative collective i am OTHER, an umbrella company for his other ventures in fashion, philanthropy, tech investments and more.
Fast Company spoke to Williams in 2013 to get a look into the daily routine of someone who has managed to balance achieving tremendous success and pursuing his passions at the same time.
When you envisage success, you should see all the people you work with, in addition to yourself. When I look at that picture, I see giant angels who are much smarter than me.Get Busy: Pharrell’s Productivity Secrets | Fast Company
Williams usually gets up at around 9am, without an alarm clock. He’ll say a quick prayer and just stay in bed for a moment, “I lie there for a few minutes and just sort of, be.” It’s in the shower where he’ll come up with a lot of ideas and begin to formulate so many of those chart topping songs.
“If you don’t interrupt [your subconscious] with the ego, or are like, No, it’s gotta be like this, then a lot of ideas will come,” he told Fast Company. It’s also the reason why he’s often late to appointments, “I spend a lot of that time just standing there in the water with a blank stare. It is often the reason why I’m tardy.”
If his day includes a music session, Williams can be working in the studio for over 10 hours that day, while juggling other business ventures over the phone.
I do phone calls from somewhere between 10:30 a.m. and noon. I’m usually entering the studio between 12 and 1. I work from 1 or 2-ish to maybe 9 or 11 every day. Somewhere between 4 and 6, I may have to get on one or two conference calls about things outside of music.Get Busy: Pharrell’s Productivity Secrets | Fast Company
Williams will be heading to bed anytime between midnight and 2am, but not before unwinding with some TV. “When I get back to my room late at night, I first watch MSNBC, then some Discovery Channel stuff. Then I’ve gotta go to TiVo and look at all my esoteric aliens stuff, like Ancient Aliens. I have to spend at least 30 minutes on that a night.”
Before you go…
Check out more daily routines from Barack Obama, Joe Rogan, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and plenty others.