Peter Pastino wakes up at 7:00AM thanks to the same alarm clock he's had since his undergraduate days. A man of consistency and routine, Peter has found that the best research happens with a good night's sleep and an early start to the day. Now that he teaches, he doesn't see any reason to change that—even if his first class isn't until 2:00PM.
Peter, or Professor Pastino, as he's known around campus, goes through his typical morning preparation. A shower, a shave, and a sharp jacket and tie are the sign of someone who pays attention to the smallest details. His breakfast of two eggs, toast, and a watered-down glass of OJ is more of the same. Professor Pastino likes to do things a certain way because it helps keep him clear and focused on history.
In the car by 8:00AM, Peter turns the radio to NPR. A lot of people think public radio is only good as a sleep-aid, but the professor is a big fan of all the history talk early in the morning. Today they have a guest discussing some of the causes that led to the Spanish-American War.
Peter listens to this the way some people listen to Beyoncé—just without all the embarrassing alone-in-a-car dancing.
After rolling into the parking lot, he greets some undergrads he recognizes on the way into his building. He's sure a lot of his fellow professors in the university's history department are sitting in the faculty lounge, but rather than join the fun, Pete heads straight for his office.
Like we said, the good professor enjoys his routine, and until 11:00AM he pores over a manuscript his friend in the government sent for his expert opinion.
With the manuscript historified (not a word), Peter can safely open up the door to his office to the outside world. It's his office hours, a time when any student in one of his classes can come in and see him.
After office hours, Peter has a quick lunch in the closest cafeteria, then puts on his best Professor Pastino face and walks into his lecture at 1:58PM. He sets out his notes on the lectern as the sixty or so history students settle in for what is to be a long and awfully boring seminar. Two minutes later, he's presenting the finer points of tribal histories in Afghanistan.
Believe it or not, he gets three hours out of the subject.
You'd think that, after a serious nine-to-five workday like today, Peter would unwind with a hobby. And at 5:30PM, he does—in his office at his computer, where he puts another few hours into the manuscript for his own novel. History isn't just his money-maker, it's actually the thing he's most passionate about.
That means spending most of his evening hunched over his notes doesn't really feel like work to him. In fact, it feels like just another major part of his routine.
He's also passionate about getting on to the New York Times Bestseller list. Doing historical research has its upside, but a national book tour means he actually gets to get out there to see some of those sights. And as much as Peter loves routine, he also likes to break it every once in a while.