You’ve read stories about how successful people spend their days, but what about the time that they’re not at work? There are many habits that productive people have to maximize their time working throughout the day, but they also tend to have strong habits when they’re not at work to so they can get the most out of their days. One thing that has come up numerous times is that being able to rest at night can help busy people be at their best so here are the top 6 evening habits of successful people.
1. Unplug and Turn Off Screens
It’s easy enough to relax in front of the television and watch some simple reality show while playing on your smartphone, but studies have shown that exposure to screens before bed time can make it significantly harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. The bright light produced by LCD screens can trick your body’s natural clock into thinking that it’s daytime and will stop your brain from releasing the chemicals that make you sleepy.
2. Walk for At Least 30 Minutes
Of course you know that exercise is great for you, but I’m not talking about vigorous exercise here. Several successful people have reported that an important part of their bedtime routine is to go for a 30 minute walk without their smartphone so they can clear their heads and prepare themselves for sleep. Allowing yourself to mentally decompress while getting a bit of exercise can help you take stock of the day you just had and get ready for the next day. In fact, some studies have shown that this simple 30 minute walk can actually change your brain chemistry to a state that is more prone to creative thinking and problem solving.
More than a few successful people report that they meditate in the evening before bed. Although you may think that meditation is some new age fad, there are many people who believe that meditation can work wonders for busy people. By taking a few minutes to perform focused meditation on your day, on how you feel, and to process your feelings in a conscious manner you can reduce your stress levels. Recent scientific studies of those who meditate daily and those who do not showed that people who performed even 15 minutes of focused meditation showed lower levels of stress, anxiety, pain, depression, and fatigue. You might think meditation isn’t for you, but give it a shot and you might be surprised that this becomes part of your evening routine.
We read all day, but reading something unrelated to work before bed is a great habit to pick up. When you read a book you are obviously gaining knowledge, even for fiction, but you are also forcing yourself to focus on the task at hand. Reading a book for an hour reorients your thinking patterns to deal with digesting the information you’re taking in while reading and when you read for leisure this can reduce stress. There is also ample evidence that reading daily can improve brain function and help keep your brain healthy as you age. People who read frequently outside of a work setting show lower rates of age related mental health issues than others and maintain improved cognitive abilities.
5. Plan Your Next Day (or Week)
I’ve written before that setting out in the morning to develop a list of things to do that day can help you be more productive, but if you aren’t a morning person you can do this the night before. After you’ve eaten and you’re close to going to sleep, think for a few minutes about the most pressing issues that need to be dealt with the next day and write them down. You may find that by writing each task out you realize that some tasks are less important than others or you may remember things that need to get done you’d forgotten about. Spending time to manage your schedule can work wonders on your overall productivity levels and reduce stress as you can keep things in perspective.
6. Do Something Creative
Most modern office jobs don’t allow for artistic creativity throughout the day and several successful corporate titans reported using their evening hours to be creative. To be successful you will need to maintain a structured life with routines and habits that maximize your productivity, so allowing yourself to let loose a bit and do something that is creative and unrelated to work can help you to think about work issues in a more creative light. Whether you are playing an instrument, writing in a journal, painting or sculpting, doing something artistic and creative right before bed will help you relax and get a better night’s rest.