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6 Habits Of Highly Successful People Before Bedtime

6 Habits Of Highly Successful People Before Bedtime

We’ve all heard the stories about the mega-successful who wake up early every day and conquer the world before most people put the coffee on. But what about the other time of day that plays an equally important role? What are successful people doing right before bed? Do you want to know the secret? They set themselves up to have an even more productive day tomorrow.

Here are six bedtime habits of highly successful people.

1. Read for an hour

Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates is an avid reader. Each night before bed, he spends an hour reading a book, ranging on topics from politics to current events.

Aside from the obvious benefits of gaining new knowledge, reading daily has also been shown to reduce stress and improve memory. A 2009 study from the University of Essex revealed that reading for as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by up to 68%.

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Another big benefit from cracking open a good book on a nightly basis is that it can improve the long term health of your brain. Every time you read, it’s like a mental workout for your mind. This study performed in Britain showed that people who stimulated their minds through activities like reading, reduced cognitive decline by an average of 32% as they got older in age.

2. Unplug

After passing out from exhaustion and injuring her head to the tune of five stitches, Arianna Huffington has been an evangelist for “unplugging”. Every night before bed, she puts her phone in another room so she’s not distracted by it before bed. And science proves that she might be onto something.

According to Dr Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard University, the bright lights produced by our cell phone screens disrupt our bodies natural sleep rhythm and actually “trick” our bodies into thinking it’s daytime. Those bright lights send a message to our brains that prevents certain chemicals from being released, causing us to have a much harder time going to sleep. So, if you want a good night’s rest, stash your phone in another room.

3. Take a walk

The busy CEO of Buffer likes to unwind with a brisk walk right before bed. He uses his walks to turn off his thoughts about work, and slowly work his self into a “state of tiredness”.

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For a busy person always on the go, Joel’s late night walk routine could be perfect way to unwind after a stressful day. And aside from the obvious health benefits of daily walk, there a couple of surprising bonuses that come along as well.

One study revealed that walking can increase creativity. When you’re walking, your mind isn’t working as vigorously, which “opens up the free flow of ideas.” So if you’ve got a tough problem you haven’t been able to solve, maybe a nice, night time stroll is all you need to find the perfect, creative solution.

4. Meditate

The media maven has long supported the idea of regular meditation. No doubt, Ms. Winfrey has a schedule that keeps her mighty busy, and what better way to unwind at the end of a stressful day, than with a focused meditation session.

There’s often times a stigma surrounding meditation, and there has always been a debate as to whether mediation is actually helpful. But when a 2014 study took a look at over 19,000 cases involving mediation, the results were clear. Meditation was found to help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain. So regardless of one’s view of mediation, you can’t argue with the results.

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5. Get creative

In 2006, Vera Wang stated to Fortune that her nightly routine includes, “a fair amount of designing — at least conceptually if not literally.” Sometimes, the quiet of the night can be the perfect remedy for a creative block.

What’s even more surprising is that there’s a study that actually shows night time can be the perfect time for creativity, even if you’re tired from a long day. A study from Albion College revealed that, “tasks requiring creative insight was consistently better during their nonoptimal times of day.”. 

So if you’re a morning person (raises hand), then your most creative ideas will come right before bed. Researchers believe this is true because your mind is less restrained at night. Your ability to make logical connections worsens, but it works in your favor because you’re able to make connections you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

6. Plan the next day

The American Express CEO likes to manage his time, and he does so by ending his nights in a very simple way. He plans out three things he wants to accomplish for the following day. That way, he can wake up in the morning, and get to work on his most important tasks, right away.

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This study from the early 90’s supports Chenault’s strange addiction with planning. Researchers followed a group of students from their high school years, until four years later at the end of their college careers. The researchers tested these students on their time management skills in high school, and when they caught up with those students four years later, they made a shocking discovery.

The students with better time management skills, had higher college GPA’s then their peers who had higher SAT scores. Basically, time management played a bigger role in their academic success than actual scholastic aptitude.

Featured photo credit: oninnovation via flickr.com

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How to Fight Information Overload

How to Fight Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

  1. Set your goals.
  2. Decide whether you really need the information.
  3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
  4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

The Nature of the Problem

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

Why information overload is bad

It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

1. Set your goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. What to do when facing new information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

3. Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

In Closing

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

(Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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