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5 Evening Habits of Successful People

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5 Evening Habits of Successful People

Many have heard the phrase “The early bird catches the worm,” and that may be true, but the truth is that highly successful people have habits for both the morning and the evening that make both time frames more productive. The evening is a crucial period of resetting, and maximizing the use of that time can do wonders.

To ensure you never fall behind, I’ve compiled a list of the evening habits of a few highly successful people. Incorporating these into your daily routine will give the strength and introspection to make a real difference.

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1. President Barack Obama’s next-day preparation

Whether due to his nature or the demands of his job, President Obama often spends a few hours each evening analyzing the following day’s schedule and tasks. He gets a thorough idea of the next day’s run down so that he can be as prepared as possible to make smart, informed decisions on a repeat basis the following day. If tomorrow is known to be a hectic day, go through your schedule the day before and visualize what success means in each scenario.

2. Fashion designer Vera Wang’s free associative period

After checking emails from her staff, Vera Wang allots a portion of her evening to simple free-form thinking about design. Because of its unguided nature, this allows her to simultaneously decompress while also providing opportunity for that “Aha!” moment that many creatives constantly pursue. At the end of the day, you would do well to allow yourself to unwind. You may naturally think about work, but try not to take action unless a major epiphany strikes.

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3. Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne’s walking habit

Each evening, regardless of the day’s events, Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne takes a 20 minute walk, one that he has worked to associate with shutting his mind and body down for sleep. Gascoigne uses walking to, “reach a state of tiredness,” so think of a way to incorporate activity to bring your mind to a state of rest. Many great minds have used walking as a tool, and it could easily be incorporated into any schedule.

4. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates’ reading habit

Bill Gates spends an hour before bed reading every day. Doing so helps to relieve stress levels and to boost cognitive function, all the while creating new knowledge from which the next great innovation might spring. Spend some time every night before bed reading on any subject. The stimulation can work wonders for creating new connections between work and play, bringing you one step closer to the next big break.

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5. Ariana Huffington’s shutting down of her phone

Many workaholics have a hard time turning off their phone for the night, but the ones that do advocate for this process. After passing out from exhaustion on one occasion, Huffington has become an advocate for leaving the phone off and away from her while sleeping. Others, including Facebook leader Sheryl Sandburg, would agree with Huffington’s habits. It is often said that the bright lights of cell phones trick the human brain into thinking its awake, so shut it down unless you want to be up all night.

6. Podcaster Alex Blumburg’s family discussion time.

In an episode of his new hit podcast “Startup,” former NPR producer Alex Blumburg speaks of his desire to spend a significant amount of time with his young wife Nasneen. The entire series is a collection of the insights and work it takes to start a business, and Blumburg, while desiring more than anything to succeed at starting his own company, also makes sure he carves out time to discuss how his work is affecting his family and his wife. Make sure that your choices about work incorporate the opinions of your family, and you will be better off.

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What habits do you have that kick start your next day? Is it a certain exercise routine? A specific time frame in which you must brush your teeth? Share it with us, we are always looking for feedback from our community.

Featured photo credit: jesscalive via flickr.com

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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