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What the Most Successful People Do in the Evening

What the Most Successful People Do in the Evening
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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

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster How to Fix Burning out at Work and Get Back on Track What the Most Successful People Do in the Evening Real Passion Will Never Die Out? False.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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