8 nighttime routines that Jocko Willink and 7 other highly-disciplined people swear by

© Crystal Cox/Business Insider

From Business Insider

  • The Oracles is a networking group of the world's most prominent entrepreneurs and CEOs.
  • If you want to maintain a healthy work-life balance, it's important to make the most of your nighttime routine, and use evening free time to unwind and set yourself up for success the next day.
  • Real estate executive Gail Corder Fischer puts all electronics of reach before bed, entrepreneur Lukas Mankow stretches and drinks tea, and investor David Imonitie ends his day by reflecting and writing in a gratitude journal.

With today's life challenges and changes, it's a good time to reevaluate your habits and routines. So we asked eight highly disciplined people — from a former Navy SEAL officer to the CEO of Hint, all Advisors in The Oracles — to share the nighttime routines that will set you up for success the next day. 


1. Create an execution checklist

© Courtesy of The Oracles

In the military, we used execution checklists to ensure we completed every task on a mission. Make your list each night so you don't waste time in the morning identifying what you're supposed to do that day. Write down everything you need to accomplish in detail, including when you want to get out of bed in the morning, and organize your tasks in the order you plan to achieve them. Break down big projects into smaller steps so you can track progress — because things that don't get tracked don't get done.


2. Take time to unwind

© Courtesy of The Oracles

I try to relax after dinner to prepare myself for bed. Unwinding leaves space for curiosity, ideas, and innovation. I might help my kids with homework, call a friend, catch up on a show, and breathe. I take care of anything that I meant to do earlier and check email for pressing matters, lowering the chances I'll wake up to something urgent. Then I prepare for what's on my schedule the next day. If I'm not wound down enough to sleep by 9 p.m., I'll read or snuggle with my dogs. As a morning person, I go to bed by 10 p.m. so I can be my best self, ready to tackle my toughest projects in the morning when my energy is at its peak.


3. Create the right sleep environment

© Courtesy of The Oracles

A good night's sleep starts with your environment. A sleep doctor once told me that your bedroom should be for sleep and sex, nothing else. This rule alone can improve your sleep — and the better you sleep, the better you perform. Ensure your bedroom is clean, peaceful, dark, and cool, with d├ęcor, a mattress, and sheets you love. I even hired a feng shui consultant to align my environment with my energy needs.

My nighttime routine includes reviewing tomorrow's agenda and documenting any lingering to-dos. I like to drink warm turmeric golden milk or Sleepytime tea before bed. CBD is also fantastic for relaxing and enhancing sleep. At my bedside, I keep an inspirational daily devotional that inspires peace, calm, and gratitude. I also use the Calm app for a guided sleep story or meditation and use a white-noise machine.


4. Stretch, meditate, and read

© Lukas Mankow

I stop working at least two hours before bed and plan out the next day in my notebook. I usually group smaller tasks and reserve time slots of one to three hours for each of my most important projects. Then I don't need to think about what to do when I wake up, because I already know I'm focused on the most effective tasks with the biggest leverage, which helps me clear my head and be present. After planning for the day ahead, I stretch, meditate, read, and drink tea with lavender, chamomile, or fennel, which has a relaxing effect. What's most important is keeping your routine simple.


5. Journal about what you're grateful for

© James Mansfield

About eight years ago, I was having a tough time with my business and working in a high-stakes environment. I would wake up at 3 a.m., anxious about money, deals, clients — you name it. My wife bought me an appreciation journal and told me to write down five things that I appreciated every night. I was skeptical, but she insisted. So I started with five things — some big, most of them small — and soon was writing a page a night. It takes five minutes and has changed me significantly. I always feel better when I'm done, as I realize how much I have, how lucky I am, and what great people surround me. This exercise taught me that life isn't happening to me — I'm creating it. I've never slept or felt better.


6. Put electronics far away, and keep a pen and paper nearby

© Courtesy of The Oracles

Before bed, I shut down all electronics and put them out of reach. I keep a pen and paper next to my bed to capture ideas in the middle of the night. I try to go to sleep at the same time each night, so my mind and body know when to unwind and relax. If I find myself tossing and turning, I do some deep breathing to calm myself and center my thoughts. If that doesn't work, I get out of bed or read, but I try not to turn on the TV.

Once I created positive sleep habits, I saw a vast improvement in my performance and ability to fall asleep. Quality sleep impacts everything from our motivation to our immune systems. Some sports teams even require players to get at least nine hours of sleep — that's how important it is.


7. Take a hot shower

© Courtesy of The Oracles

A hot shower helps mark the end of a long day. Before bed, I also sit with a pen and paper and make a to-do list for the next day. There is something peaceful about lighting a candle, sipping tea, and writing on a piece of paper without my phone or Asana management app nearby. Having that to-do list gives me peace of mind knowing I have a plan to make the next day a productive one.


8. End the day with gratitude

© Courtesy of the Oracles

I've gone from a childhood life of humble beginnings to running a multimillion-dollar empire, and one thing has stayed with me through it all: gratitude. Whether I'm showering or eating a bedtime snack, I create space to say "thank you" before bed. Every evening, give yourself the gift of grateful reflection. Meditate on things you're thankful to have in your life, and write down three to five things you're grateful for from the day. Consider getting a gratitude journal.

Gratitude is a lighthouse to your next breakthrough. We move toward whatever we focus on. Gratitude creates positivity, shifts your focus, and impacts your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. It shows you that whatever you're going through will pass, and you'll emerge victorious.

See more at: Business Insider

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