A routine, or set of rituals, provides structure and focus to each day. When used effectively, it ensures a balance between your work and personal lives. While you might think billionaires work around the clock, one of the reasons they are so wildly successful is that they make time for diverse activities and modes of relaxation.
People may be impressed by the concept of the early bird gets the worm, but night owls command just as much respect for what they accomplish after dark. Here are 12 evening rituals of billionaires you may want to emulate:
1. A Hobby: Spending time on a hobby completely different from your career often helps billionaires--and the rest of us--to relax, refresh, and reassess. For example, Clemmie Dixon Spangler, a banking billionaire, fixes old grandfather clocks. He noted, "I believe that using your hands and your eyes is relaxing and comforting. I think really good leaders can take a few minutes off to do what they like doing." Others, like Gordon Getty, compose operas. Still others have shared that they consider avid collecting--of something inherently valuable to us all--to be a worthwhile pursuit. Several of these people mentioned that they are intent on ensuring that many historical items are preserved.
2. Family Time: Connections with family are regarded as one of the most important ways for billionaires to spend their time. For example, Carlos Slim Helú, a Mexican billionaire, prefers to use his evenings as the perfect opportunity to enjoy his six children and numerous grandchildren. Many billionaires enjoy taking time at night to read their kids a story or put them to bed. This special time spent is a must, because family is the most important aspect of life and something that money just can't buy.
3. Exercise: Much of a billionaire's day is mentally focused, so the evening provides the opportunity to unwind and work on the physical aspect of health. While some billionaires prefer to do their exercise in the morning, others are more inclined to late boxing classes, swimming, or yoga, such as David Murdock, the chairman of Dole Food, who's in his 90s but still working and going strong because he has taken the time to take care of himself.
4. Meditation: Recognizing the need to decompress, some more spiritually inclined billionaires note that they carve out time to quietly reflect on the day or life in general. Many billionaires will tell you that the act of mindfulness has helped them identify a solution to a problem or given them new ideas for their pursuits. Billionaire mathematician James Simons has noted that he spends considerable time just pondering and reflecting.
5. Reading: Billionaires are avid readers and want to consume as much information and gain as much knowledge as possible, but they also enjoy reading as a pastime. Many have noted that it helps them see the perspective of people they admire in the business world. They also like reading for diversion, consuming every type of book, from mysteries or thrillers to science fiction novels or classics, as their bedside material.
6. Tedious Tasks: Billionaires do not necessarily leave everyday tasks up to the staff they have hired. In fact, they often relish doing such things because it grounds them, provides a diversion from daily stress, and is even identified as enjoyable. In fact, Bill Gates will tell you he likes taking care of the nightly dishes.
7. Preparation for Tomorrow: Since the minds of billionaires are always ticking away, they are thinking ahead to the next day and beyond, including what to wear tomorrow. Several billionaires mentioned that they even place their clothing out the night before, and plan the specific tasks and goals to accomplish the next day. Having this clear agenda already set up means being able to hit the ground running first thing in the morning.
8. Journaling: While some are thinkers, other billionaires like to write their thoughts down in journals. Whether taking a pen to paper or keeping a digital journal on a tablet, numerous billionaires realize that journaling provides a way to capture and remember ideas, evaluate material, and spend time gaining clarity on a concept. Since people admire billionaires for their success, their journals also offer a great framework for constructing a memoir or another book later on.
9. Escapism: Whether catching up on sports or a favorite show, or playing cards or board games, many billionaires like diversions. For example, Warren Buffett likes to play bridge.
10. Social Hour: After traveling, meetings, and high-pressure situations, the evening hours can go suddenly quiet, which leaves many billionaires anxious. Sean Parker, former Facebook executive, finds that evenings are best served in the company of friends in the form of an intimate dinner party or at a charity event. This provides time to unwind while still being stimulated by the conversations and ideas of others.
11. More Work: With business conducted in numerous time zones, there may be some emails or phone calls that need to be squeezed in to keep work moving. Billionaires like Larry Ellison use evening time to respond--once only--to voicemails or emails and then move on to keep work to a minimum and make it more efficient.
12. Gratitude: Before closing their eyes for the night, an astonishing number of billionaires focus on what they feel grateful for in their lives--no matter how small it might seem. Finding this sense of contentment helps them sleep well and adds a necessary dose of joy that keeps them grounded and focused on the important parts of life, not just grateful for how much wealth they accumulate.
These items are typically combined into a set schedule, with anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour dedicated to one or more of these thoughtful habits.
When it comes down to it, there is nothing spectacular about a billionaire's evening rituals. Most are very familiar to us, because we may try to do the same things. What makes a billionaire different is not what is in his or her bank account but in how the person approaches and is dedicated to these pursuits each day. They try to accomplish pretty much all of these tasks every night rather than spend hours on the sofa in front of the TV.
Billionaires really do live the adage that time is money. They make the most of every minute in the day, finding time for all the quality elements they can, with extreme multitasking, careful planning, and self-discipline seemingly the key to the billionaire's successful evening rituals.