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6 Habits Of Highly Successful People Before Bedtime

6 Habits Of Highly Successful People Before Bedtime
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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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Tony Robinson

Tony writes about mental strength, happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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