November 8, 2013

Do Successful People Really do These 5 Things?

Hiker with backpack enjoying valley view from top of a mountainI recently read an article called, “5 Things Successful People do in the Evening.” Quite interesting.

We’re always seeing “five and seven steps to xyz” aimed to help us better our personal and professional lives. And while all this type of content can be considered a “good read,” some career advice should be adhered to while other advice should be taken with a grain of salt.

Below are the five things successful people do in the evening, and some more advice from on whether you should keep or pass on these tidbits:

1. Take a break in the afternoon or early evening

Many of the most successful and well-known night owls take a break from their day in the afternoon or evening – presumably to recharge – before returning to work and continuing much later than most people work. says pass. The old saying says to “work smarter, not harder.” Just because a person works longer hours into the night doesn’t mean he or she is going to be successful. Americans are already deemed “workaholics” and struggle with achieving work-life balance. A better alternative to taking a break in the evening before continuing to work is to learn to leave work at work. By this I mean setup a set schedule for yourself (or go by your current 9am-5pm work schedule) and work hard to stick to it. When cutoff time arrives, cut it off. This will help ensure you separate the office duties/work responsibilities from personal activities. Sometimes you just have to learn to say, “No.”

2. Finish the day by preparing for tomorrow – something anyone can do

One of the common themes with successful people of all kinds – not just night owls – is to end the working day by preparing for the next day. Anything from looking over the schedule, doing preparatory reading and research to planning and adjusting what will be done. says keep. This is actually a helpful piece of advice because it helps structure your schedule and daily tasks. By preparing the day before, when you come into the office, you’ll already have a set list of tasks to accomplish. Preparation helps workers to be more organized and productive.

3. Reflect and Adjust

A common practice for night owls is to use part of that time to look back at the day and reflect on it and use that reflection to adjust the way they do things or to learn valuable lessons. This can be as simple as keeping a journal. says keep. Although one may not have time to reflect on his/her day each night, setting a specific time to do so at the end of each week will be beneficial. Review your weekly goals and see what you actually accomplished. Take note of the tasks you didn’t complete and why. This will help uncover week areas and/or distractions in your work habits. Then, after review, you can set goals to properly adjust for the upcoming week.

4. Finish Things

Evening work is great for grabbing uninterrupted, clear time to finish things off. During the crowded, busy, interrupted day it can be hard to check, go over and draw a final line under tasks and projects. says pass. This is again talking about working late into the night. To avoid allowing work time to seep over into off-the-clock time, workers should focus on one or two priority tasks per day (if possible). We all want to multitask, and while beneficial, sometimes this can become overwhelming and unproductive. If possible, schedule out your day to concentrate on a couple tasks, making sure you’ll have adequate time to review each assignment upon completion. This will increase productivity so workers aren’t starting multiple projects at once only to allow some tasks to fall through the cracks as he/she crams to complete work assignments.

5. Do NOT do the little, ordinary tasks

It turns out that everyone finds it hard to do the annoying tasks like returning calls and answering email that is important but not critical. The evening turns out to be a better time for creativity and longer, harder projects and is best saved for that. says keep. Stick with doing the ‘housekeeping” when you first come into the office. Return calls and answer emails first thing in the morning to get these seemingly menial tasks out of the way, so you can devote the remainder of your workday to completing larger, more detailed projects.

Read more in Career Advice

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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