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.
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.
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.
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.