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What the Most Successful People Do in the Evening

What the Most Successful People Do in the Evening

If you Google “morning routine”, you will receive around 20 million results in less than 62 seconds. Morning routines create productive days and happier people. They allow the busy mom to meet her deadlines or the CEO to prepare for the day filled with meetings, yet they both make it home for dinner.

But having a strong morning routine is only half the equation. A strong morning routine starts with having a strong evening routine.

A Powerful Evening Blasts off Your Morning

Benjamin Franklin has famously asked himself each evening,

“What good have I done today? What good shall I do this day?”

By asking himself these two questions, Benjamin Franklin could reflect on what worked and what did not work. He could reflect in gratitude and saw his accomplishments and then set himself up for success the first thing in the morning.

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In fact, these are the two characteristics of having a strong evening routine:

  • Reflecting and winding down for the day.
  • Creating a follow-up plan for tomorrow.

An evening routine like this helps you focus on the positive outcomes and it also helps you wind down from the day. You are able to shut your electronics and your mind off.

You know exactly what you are working on tomorrow and you can let your subconscious mind take over to problem solve for you while you sleep.

The Evening Routine of Successful People

When we look at successful people like Benjamin Franklin, Arianna Huffington and even Ludwig Van Beethoven we can see that going to bed early and waking up earlier was key to their success.

They were up and working on their careers before the world started around them. This freed up their minds to focus on what truly matters and they could take action each and everyday toward their goals.

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It is with this consistency in routine that they were able to reach success.

Arianna Huffington sips tea, takes a bath and doesn’t allow electronics in the room at night. She is very methodical in her routine. This routine allows her body to shut down and focus on what matters—sleep. She discusses this in depth in her book The Sleep Revolution.

Ludwig Van Beethoven was in bed by 10pm each night allowing himself to wake up and get right to work on his art.

An Unnoticeable Change with a Significant Result

Creating an evening routine is about changing habits.

When I started an evening routine, I went from staying up late (11 pm) and eating pints of ice cream because my kids were finally asleep, to going to bed at 9pm and not eating past 6:30pm. It was a drastic change but it didn’t happen overnight. In fact, I started with one simple shift and added more over time.

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Often, we want to bite off more than we can chew and will never reach our goals. I knew that by changing my habits I could build an evening routine for myself that would allow me to reach my definition of success.

I started with going to bed earlier, this required me to shut off electronics sooner and pick up a book. I then shifted my meals naturally and even stopped drinking caffeine at 11am each day.

This became a natural domino effect. Having an evening routine can change the structure of your day. It opens up a lot of space for you to take action instead of sitting back and letting life pass you by.

Anytime I wanted to fall back on old habits, I would connect to the benefits of change and would look at the success of others and remind myself that it was their routines that gave them the space to change the world. If you look for tricks to prevent yourself from falling back on bad habits, read this: How to Program Your Mind to Kick the Bad Habit

Start Small and Start Simple

Your evening routine doesn’t have to be complicated and extreme. Each step in the right direction gets you closer to success.

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There is something romantic about being a night owl but studies have shown that the success comes from going to bed early.[1] Yet, it isn’t just about going to bed early, it is what you do in the evenings that also matter. For example, reading a book and shutting down electronics, or spending time with family and in gratitude.

If you are ready to get more done and see success start with your evening routine, follow these steps:

  1. Go to bed and wake up early (and at the same time) every day.
  2. Shut down the electronics at least an hour before bed, and read or spend time with family.
  3. Reflect on what worked and what did not work every night.
  4. Create your plan for the next morning.
  5. Hit the pillow.

These five steps will help you wind down and allow your mind to make the shift to bedtime. You can let your subconscious mind work on the plans the next morning while you get a good night’s sleep.

Evening routines gives you the structure to build better habits and better habits create success.

Reference

[1] Forbes: Benefits of Early Risers

More by this author

RebeccaLynn Bologna

MBA, Mom mentor and Business coach

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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