How you spend your night can have a huge impact on the day that follows. Do you spend your time ruminating over issues? Or maybe you stress over something that didn't quite go right during the day. There's no doubt: How you think affects how you feel. This is particularly important at night, as you try to unwind and prepare for rest. This sets you up for sleep, which serves many vital purposes. When I look at my clients who achieve the most during their days and are happiest, they are the ones who have a healthy routine at night. They set themselves up for success the following day by thinking and acting in a particular way.
Here's what you can do at night to ensure a successful tomorrow:
- Cut off work. Make sure you actually end your workday rather than letting it extend into your night. Set a time to end your business day and know when to stop checking emails, responding to calls, and most importantly, thinking about work. Accept the notion that you can only do so much in one day and tomorrow is another opportunity for you to get things done. Although overachievers and those who pull all-nighters might accomplish tasks in the short term, they eventually burn out and diminish their chances for long-term success. Don't be that person.
- Plan for your tomorrow. Spend a few minutes thinking about what you need to do the next day but make sure you don't dwell on it. Simply set your schedule and write out your day. Albert Einstein once said, "Paper is to write things down that we need to remember. Our brains are used to think". We can certainly heed Einstein's advice here.
- Forgive. By letting go of grudges and conflicts you may have had during the day, you're freeing your mind of stress and distractions, allowing for better rest. Know that any such situations will lead to anxiety and not calm, while resting will provide clarity of mind for you to reevaluate any outstanding issues the following day.
- Create friends and family time. Use your time at night to connect with people you care about and enjoy spending time with. These relationships need to be nurtured, and doing so during the week will help you to create balance. It's also a good way to take your mind off of work.
- Unplug. I'm sure this comes as no surprise. There's no doubt, today, that there are more stimuli available to us than ever before. Twitter, Instagram, 24-hour news cycles, Snapchat, tablets in every room in our homes, watches with internet access, and more. Because of the abundance of devices and ease of staying connected, it may be even more challenging to disconnect. One sure way to make it happen is by making a conscious decision to do it. Successful people know when to cut off technology. For example, if bedtime is at 11:00 p.m. then shut down devices by 10:00 p.m. or even earlier. Devices = stimuli, and this is entirely incompatible with what you're trying to achieve at night: winding down and resting. Similarly, don't do anything too stimulating. That means avoiding heated conversations, scary movies, and loud music. Dim the light and pull down the shades to create a calm atmosphere as you ready yourself for bed.
- Think positively. So many people stress out and feel anxious at night. They think of all the things that didn't quite work out for them during the day and worry about a multitude of things for the following day--all of which are entirely incompatible with rest. To counter this, reflect on the day you're leaving behind and look forward to the day ahead by doing the following brief exercise: Think of three positive things from your day. For example, what are you happy about? What did you accomplish? Perhaps you had some friendly interactions with people. Next, think of three things you look forward to the next day. It could be a meeting that you feel well-prepared for or maybe it is simply your delicious cup of coffee in the morning.
- Prioritize sleep. Understand the importance of getting adequate sleep, including the major restorative functions it provides to the body and its rejuvenation of the mind.