All work and no play indeed make Jack a dull boy. The good news is you don’t have to work 80+ hour weeks to be the next Elon Musk or Stephen Spielberg. Surprise, surprise, sleep makes this list of habits you can easily adopt. How you spend your time off away from your work may be the actual key to your success.
Playing with swords, reading comic books, or even making snow globes in your spare time may be the golden ticket to your winning the next multi-million dollar idea lottery. Yes, snow globes. Taylor Swift admittedly makes snow globes in her spare time as Christmas gifts and, like her or not, she has a net worth of over $300 million.
Empires and successful lives are not typically built in a day – takes a lot of work and dedication to be the next big thing in Hollywood or the business world; but, it also takes some “you” time.
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, said it best: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.” And who lays in their death bed saying they wished they spent more time at work?
Sure, be the first one into the office and the last one to leave, but don’t forget to do something outside of work that will help you succeed. You may even find you can do more than one item on this list at the same time, and while you’re at it add “multi-tasker” to your resume.
Donald Trump purportedly can get by on one hour of sleep. Symptoms of sleep deprivation include: emotional imbalance, cognitive deficits, loss of creativity, sudden mood swings, social irritability, poor judgement and memory loss – to name a few.
Trump may be a billionaire, but studies have shown that, on average, people with higher education and higher incomes have less insomnia. And interestingly enough, the average Trump supporter has little education and is of low income status. People who chronically lack sleep typically have the most disadvantages socially and economically.
Aside from a good night’s sleep, a power nap can boost creativity and alertness all day long. Some famous nappers include: Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Bill Clinton, and Muhammad Ali.
14. Wash, Rinse, Repeat
If it works, do it again. Replicate the win. If it worked for you in the past don’t give up on it. The whole Saw movie franchise, Microsoft Windows, iPhone, and multiple versions of Oreo cookies – if it is successful, run with it.
Perhaps you are more creative in the morning; you’re on fire after lunch; you seal the deal with a smile, not an e-mail; conflict resolution is your baby; delegating is your thing, if it isn’t a disaster than why deviate from it?
Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results is not the definition of insanity, but the inability to distinguish fantasy from reality is. Every billionaire typically has failed more than succeeded. Nothing wrong with trying again and nothing wrong with the redo, or trying something new; but, check yourself, is it worth the risk, has it already been done? Know when to keep it, know when to fold. Every failure has a hidden success.
Trivia time! WD-40, the popular stuff that stops your bedroom door from squeaking, is actually called: Water Displacement, 40th attempt. That means the first 39 versions failed. In terms of beer companies, one of the top dogs, Coors, successfully failed at trying to bring their own version of bottled water into the homes of Americans. When it finally clicks, you’ll know. Just like a key sliding perfectly in and unlocking that door.
13. Daily Mantra
Have a great day, or don’t – no one cares.
“Which is going to get you out of bed faster: ‘You’re ugly and worthless, why bother?’ or, ‘I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me’?” said Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley. How about this cliché: “If today was the last day of your life” or “Be the change.” You could also try, “I want to be better today than I was yesterday.” How your day goes is really all up to your choosing.
Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, start your day with internal inspiration and find your motivation. Steve Jobs, net worth of $11 billion, started his day with looking in the mirror and asking himself, “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?” If he responded “no,” he knew something needed to change.
Interesting lives involve interesting hobbies. Not only are hobbies proven to be a healthy distraction from work and often help destress, but people are far more interesting talking about repurposing garbage than what they watched on TV last night.
A surprising number of celebrities enjoy fencing in their spare time. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer bakes cupcakes. Quentin Tarantino collects TV board games. Each in its own right a tad snore to the average person, but consider for a moment what these successful people have that most of us don’t, and that’s millions of dollars. Before Jack Dorsey gave us Twitter he learned the art of botanical illustration, a.k.a. drawing plants.
Hobbies can also strengthen and sharpen talents or skills, and can foster new connections in the community and the outside world. Studies show a social connection is key to happiness and a meaningful life, which brings us to the next two subjects…
Sorry, this does not mean spending hours on Facebook (even though the creator of Facebook is a billionaire). How you present yourself in person means more with the first handshake than it does with a tweet. Socializing with non-digital friends helps break that social angst that comes with new encounters, builds negotiating skills; but, more importantly, it teaches how to effectively react in a positive way when faced with rejection.
It also means spending some actual face time with friends and family – the people who will be there for you through your triumphs and tragedies. Who better to celebrate success with than a good friend or to seek help from during a trying time with someone who knows you best. Neither of these people will readily answer your call if you’ve been locked away in your ivory tower for years. It’s also harder to pick up the phone to make that call if it wasn’t a habit to begin with.
Golf haters rejoice! The super-rich today don’t do it the way it was done back in the day – gone are the days of making deals on the golf course. Today it’s all about being seen by their peers at exclusive venues across the globe. They want to find value in their travels, whether it’s for business or leisure; to mingle with likeminded people and to find a transaction in every event. That transaction could be monetary, could be an increase in access or intellectual status. Surround yourself with successful people.
Socializing is to connect with people in a pleasurable way. Networking is to connect ideas and to exchange information by developing contacts for business. The difference is all in the interaction. If you’re a foodie, you are not going to find value in an auto parts swap meet but you will find likeminded people at a winetasting. Now it’s okay to go on Facebook or Twitter, or what have you, to show where you’re at to connect even further via the digital world. Just keep the pics of the tequila shots to yourself.
Hey, you’re reading this aren’t you? Of the 1,200 wealthiest people in the world they all have one thing in common, reading as a pastime. What lifting weights do for the body is what reading does for the brain, and just like any muscle in the body, use it or lose it.
Seth Meyers, host of Late Night, reads comic books. Bill Gates says he reads 50 books a year, reading anything and everything mostly non-fiction. Whether it’s reading the news or Macbeth or Fifty Shades of Grey, just like walking to the store or running a marathon, there will be benefits that put you further ahead than most. As any teacher would say – read anything, read plenty.
Mindfulwhat? Be a Jedi Master, you will. Success begins in the mind. Mindfulness is living in the moment and being awakened to experience. Basically, living with a clear head, remaining calm no matter the situation, and living in today not the past. Being awake to opportunity. Living with less distraction, and finding the positive in everything. Get rid of those negative thoughts that drive your next move. See the big picture.
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn; Arianna Huffington, CEO of Huffington Post; Oprah; Evan Williams, Co-founder of Twitter, the list just goes on – all practice the art of mindfulness meditation, daily. They each believe meditating – ten minutes a day, 30 minutes a day, at your desk, on the beach, whatever works for your lifestyle – is crucial to success.
“Do rich people volunteer?” results in nearly 40 million hits on Google. Yes they do, and according to most of the Google responses more than 80% of successful people volunteer or provide some service for free in the community. Typically this only involves a few hours each month.
Dare it be said that from a public relations view point volunteering makes you look good. You’ll find a lot of celebrities supporting organizations involved in third-world countries and you’ll find many CEO’s are philanthropists within their own country helping in their own backyards. For people making their way to the top, volunteering can help land a better gig, gets your name out into the community, improves skillsets, and it’s a sure mood booster resulting in better health.
Volunteering can also be a sneaking way to socialize or network. Non-profit organization boards and committees are typically run by people already established in the business world, and people with money.
6. Take a Class
The only thing in life that is constant is change. How many IT people from yesterday got fired because they didn’t keep up with today’s technology? How many companies are no longer in business because they didn’t research current trends? Many politicians face public shaming and international embarrassment because they didn’t understand the world around them. Learning is for life for the rich and powerful. Information is power.
It is one thing to remain informed with current trends, technology, politics, whatever, but it’s also another to understand and interpret the information in front of you. Something not too uncommon to hear about is musicians and actors being screwed out of millions because of a contract they didn’t understand, or haphazardly signed. Take a class at your local college, or there are plenty of free online courses available and many communities have some organizations offering free business courses to get you started. Already educated? Teach someone. You can’t keep it if you don’t give it away.
Nothing to be afraid of here. Knock a few of the above items off your list with this one, at the same time. Exercise allows an opportunity to socialize or network, or even meditate, at the same time. And you’ll sleep better. If so inclined, you can even read while on the treadmill. Walk, swim, Frisbee, throw a football around, racquetball – no matter how you swing it, 30 mins of any exercise of any movement a few times each week is going to be a benefit to your mind and body.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, is quoted as saying: “Staying in shape is very important. Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you’re fit.” He only works out on average three times a week, usually a jog with his dog. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, claims he gets an additional four hours of productivity each day by exercising.
Exercise is a discipline that will help build the fortitude you will need to make it to the top.
Practice is not perfection, but perfection is practice. It took Natalie Portman a year to learn ballet before taking on her role in Black Swan. Stephen King worked as a janitor, where he found inspiration to write his break out novel Carrie. Practice your sales pitch in front of the mirror. Have a co-worker interview you before the big interview. Learn how a car actually works before you try to sell one.
Fully attempting 10 items on this list today may drive you mad and to quit outright. Socially awkward? Practice meeting people, one person at a time, in a setting you are comfortable with. Not ready to read a text book or to take a course? Pick up a magazine or any book that looks interesting at the library – build the habit of reading and putting your mind at work to learn. Need to learn a second language for work? The first thing you’re not going to do is take a university level course from third year, correct?
The baby step you take today may be the biggest step for tomorrow.
3. 15 minutes
Work at something for a little bit, even when you don’t want to. Really, this whole list is full of habits you can do each for 15 minutes daily, in some shape or form.
Quick math test…15×10? That equals 150. Hopefully you already sleep about seven hours each night and then take 150 minutes each day to work on this list. After sleep, that amounts to less than three hours of your day on your way towards success, leaving you with 870 minutes (over 14 hours) each day to do what you do. Netflix approves this message.
So, why not work at something for 15 minutes? That time will make it or break it; maybe you’ll get into it and want to spend more time on it, maybe you’ll want to quit afterwards. Doesn’t matter, you can sit back today and easily say you tried. Too, 15 minutes a day of something can easily turn into a healthy daily ritual that you’ll do automatically with little effort. Muscle memory. Research shows it takes about three weeks for something to become a habit.
2. Shut it Down
Ya, ya, we’ve all heard it before, an hour before you plan to sleep power down. Shut the screens off, put the phone away blah blah blah. Again with the math, what could you possibly do on your phone 60 minutes before bed that can’t wait until the next day? Consider for a moment, if you practised better time management you wouldn’t need to reply to those emails when your brain wants to naturally go to bed. Perhaps playing games on your phone before bed helps you unwind. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that; however, as noted above, you’ve got 14 hours each day to figure out work and play. Why not dedicate, or at least try for 30 days or your money back, an hour before bed doing something without a screen that makes tomorrow better?
Simply put, what could you do to make the start of tomorrow morning more tolerable?
Take this time to make lunch for the next day, or read, or talk with family, or prepare your schedule for the next day. Anything you do at this point that, doesn’t involve the stress of today, will make tomorrow even easier to bear.
1. Have Fun
According to Psychology Today, “recreational deprivation” as it’s called, is linked to criminality, obesity, and declining creativity. Most criminals report in their psychological assessments that they were denied the chance to have friends and to have fun. All work and no fun can derail all your dreams.
What does the busiest person in the world do while running the United States? President Obama always finds time for vacations, shooting hoops, and couch time watching movies.
Have fun can also mean enjoying your day job. Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. No one said success was a breeze and, again, on their death bed no one reflects back on their life regretting they put less hours in at the office. Speaking of regrets, according to the millions of successful people today and in the past, you won’t regret fitting the items of this list into your life.