What successful people do before going to bed
A lot has been written about early risers and what they do during their productive mornings. But how do the most successful people spend their nights before surrendering to sleep?
Some of these highly productive people are night owls, preferring to work while the rest of the world sleeps, like President Obama. Others know how important sleep is and force themselves to cool down, like media maven Arianna Huffington and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg.
Here’s a look at what the most successful people do during their last waking hours.
President Barack Obama is a “night owl” and likes to work late.
Unlike Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush who prefers to rise in the early hours, the current president stays up late, reports Carrie Budoff Brown at Politco. He is said to hold conference calls with senior staff as late as 11 p.m. and reads or writes before heading to bed.
In an interview with Newsweek, Obama calls himself a “night owl” and describes his typical evening:
“Have dinner with the family, hang out with the kids, and put them to bed about 8:30 p.m. And then I’ll probably read briefing papers or do paperwork or write stuff until about 11:30 p.m., and then I usually have about a half hour to read before I go to bed … about midnight, 12:30 a.m. — sometimes a little later.”
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg turns her phone off at night
Sandberg might work for a tech company, but she knows when to unplug. Sandberg tells Jefferson Graham at USAToday that it’s “painful,” but she turns her phone off at night so that she “won’t get woken up.”
“I check my e-mail the first thing in the morning, and the last thing at night,” says Sandberg.
Arianna Huffington only reads “real book” before going to bed
Sleep advocate Huffington recommends banning iPads, Kindles, laptops, and any other electronics from the bedroom to unwind. Instead, she likes to read the old-fashioned way, “real books.”
Kate White, former Cosmo editor-in-chief, likes to write while standing up in the kitchen
As a magazine editor, White preferred to work on her fiction writing in the early morning hours and switch to magazine editing and blogging at night.
“My craziest trick is that I regularly do my work standing up at a rolling butcher block counter in my kitchen. If I were to work sitting down, I’d fall asleep,” White told Dishman at Fast Company. “I know it sounds awful, but I think of it as if I’m tending bar in the evening — a bar of ideas. And I always keep the kitchen TV on so it doesn’t seem too lonely. I drink several espressos at night, which really helps.”
Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, writes down three things he wants to accomplish the next day
At the end of his day, Chenault likes to write down the top three things he wants to accomplish the next day. This helps him prioritize first thing the next morning.
Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne walks every evening right before bed
Gascoigne takes a 20-minute walk every evening to allow total disengagement from his work before turning off the lights.
“This is a wind down period, and allows me to evaluate the day’s work, think about the greater challenges, gradually stop thinking about work, and reach a state of tiredness,” he writes in a blog post.
Michael Lewis prefers to write between the hours of 7 p.m. and 4 a.m.
Author Robert Boynton asked Lewis about his ideal writing routine, as recorded in the book “The New New Journalism“:
“Left to my own devices, with no family, I’d start writing at 7 p.m. and stop at 4 a.m.,” says Lewis. “That is the way I used to write. I liked to get ahead of everybody. I’d think to myself, ‘I’m starting tomorrow’s workday, tonight!’ Late nights are wonderfully tranquil. No phone calls, no interruptions. I like the feeling of knowing that nobody is trying to reach me.”
By: Vivian Giang
Vivian Giang runs the Career vertical at Business Insider, where this article first appeared.