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5 Evening Habits of Successful People

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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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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