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11 Items Successful People Have at Home

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11 Items Successful People Have at Home

Success is more than a measure of someone’s achievements. It’s an indicator of their habits, their productivity, and the choices they’ve made. So it’s no wonder that successful people tend to have many of the same habits.

In particular, those individuals tend to have certain items in their homes—tools that make them more productive, layouts that help them connect with their family, or resources that keep them focused on their most important goals.

Here are eleven of those items and why having them in your home as well might offer the boost you’ve been looking for to jumpstart your productivity.

1. Simulated Sunrise Alarm Clock

The alarm clock is one of the most hated and yet most necessary items in anyone’s home. It’s the first thing you hear every morning, but certainly not the first thing you want to hear.

Part of the problem is that human beings, like most diurnal creatures, respond to sunlight. Ever try to sleep in on the weekend with the shades open? It’s really hard to do. Your body goes into overdrive when the sun rises and tells you “it’s time to wake up!”

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A simulated sunrise alarm clock will slowly brighten as the time to wake gets closer, and just in case you can’t wake up on any particular day, it has a traditional, sound-based alarm built in.

2. The Means with Which to Exercise

I won’t advise you to buy an overpriced exercise bike or treadmill, but one thing all successful people have in their homes is SOME means with which to exercise.

Whether it’s a yoga mat, a large open space, some free weights, or a jump rope, have something in your home you can turn to for exercise when needed. There are days when the gym is too far and the weather too nasty—don’t let that be an excuse to fall into bad habits.

3. Books That Motivate and Inspire

Even the world’s most successful people sometimes need a pick me up, and a good book can do just that. Filled with stories of successes achieved, failures learned from, and obstacles overcome, good business and lifestyle books will motivate you to get the most out of your day.

There are numerous articles about books you can read to fill that gap—from ones that will make you think by Malcolm Gladwell, to motivational stories of extreme productivity from Tim Feriss. Here are a few more to help you get started.

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4. Isolated, Quiet Space for Working

Successful people inevitably have to work at home sometimes—it’s a necessity. But when they do, they have a space that is separate from the rest of the house. One that allows them to shut out distractions and focus on the tasks at hand.

This is good for a couple of reasons. One, it allows them to get that work done faster. Rather than sitting on the couch working for four hours between distractions, they shut an office door and get the bare necessities done in 1–2 hours—much faster and better for the work-life balance.

5. A Handwritten Notebook for Setting Goals

There are three types of goals. Long term goals like those you’ll set every year in January, short term goals to complete specific projects or hit certain milestones, and daily goals to just plain get things done.

Successful people have efficient systems in place to set and manage all three of these, and the best way to handle it on a daily basis is with a handwritten notebook you can check. I recommend moleskine notebooks that fit in your back pocket.

6. Hardwired Telephone and Internet Connections

This is a basic productivity tip but it’s a must. If you’re working at home, you need to know that your phone and Internet connection will be reliable. Wireless connections, whether a cell-phone that can get choppy or drop calls or WiFi Internet, are neither reliable nor the highest possible quality. Install hard lines wherever you are working.

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7. A Standing Desk or Versatile Working Space

You’ve read the articles about the dangers of sitting. But forget the fear of being unhealthy for a moment and focus on the many benefits of being upright for longer periods of time each day. A more active body leads to a sharper mind and more productive output. Even if you don’t plan on getting a standing desk, look into other versatile working space options.

8. A Visual Representation of Goals

In my home office I have a white board and a cork board. On the former I will draw diagrams showing how much work I have left to achieve a specific goal—at any given time I can create a reminder that I’m getting closer to my goals. On the cork board I will pin successes as they occur. This means printing out metrics from a recent project, putting up the business card of someone I met at a conference, or posting the most recent article I wrote as a reminder of what I am working towards.

9. A Fridge Full of Healthy, Lifestyle-Oriented Foods

A healthy diet is a must, and successful individuals know this and live their lives by the maxim that a healthy body, well-cared for will fuel a healthy mind.

So toss the junk food and beer and work towards a better balanced, healthier, and generally better balanced lifestyle that will allow you to think better and have more energy on a daily basis.

10. A Dining Room or Kitchen Table with No TV in Sight

Successful people tend to have a better handle on the balance between work and life, especially in the 21st century as the psychological and emotional benefits of doing so have become so apparent.

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To foster this, make sure you have a dedicated space where you and your family can sit and eat dinner together, discuss your day, and bond outside the realm of work.

11. A Hands-on Hobby without a Screen Attached

Screens are everywhere. On average you will look at a screen 45 out of every 60 minutes during the day. So a hobby that involves playing a computer game or watching movies isn’t the best way to rest your mind.

Instead choose a hobby that uses your hands and puts those hyperactive neurons in your brain to rest. Painting, playing a musical instrument, gardening, woodworking—whatever you enjoy that doesn’t require a screen can be great post-work therapy.

Without fail, the most successful people in the world will have some or all of the items listed above in their homes in some form or another. The key is to maintain balance, seeking success at work while enjoying peace and love at home. With the right balance or productivity and family, you can do the same.

Featured photo credit: success/Grinapple via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer 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.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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