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11 Items Successful People Have at Home

11 Items Successful People Have at Home
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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 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.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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