Success and happiness are built on layers of science.
Let me explain.
Habit #1 | The Common Element to Irritability and Worthlessness (The Opposite of Happiness and Success)
Nick chucked his controller into the Nintendo, hard.
It bounced off the front plastic and flew to the floor, but he wasn't done. He picked it up in a fit of rage and threw it again, and again, and again. With every throw, his face grew hotter until he looked like a ripe cherry about to pop in the hot sun. He threw that controller over and over with all his might, cracking the plastic until the Nintendo relented and shut down (for good) when he finally destroyed the on/off switch.
No judgment here. He was my friend, and I was pissed too. Plus, I've played my share of video games that boil my blood.
In this case, We were playing Contra, a shoot-em-up game that starts off easy and gets so fucking hard you'd have better luck free-soloing Yosemite's Dawn Wall, Alex Hanold-style.
On most days, we'd easily get past this tricky end-boss. But today, it wasn't happening. We had stayed up until 4 in the morning, woke up at 7, and our sleep deprivation struggle was clearly rearing its fugly head.
So was Nick's (usually unremarkable) temper.
You've heard before how important it is to get sleep. Hell, you've probably experienced the "boy I'm an asshole" irritability that comes with too little shut-eye.
But what you may not have realized is that sleep is also the single most important function to a successful day.
Lack of sleep is linked to procrastination.
Lack of sleep negatively affected your mood, which is linked to a lack of motivation.
After 17 to 19 hours of no sleep, your brain works about as well as it does after a few glasses of wine. After 24 hours, it acts as if it has a blood-alcohol concentration of .10; considered "under the influence in all 50 states."
Sleep-deprived surgeons are 20-30% more likely to commit errors than those with enough sleep.
You don't think of sleep as a habit, but you should. Procrastination, negative mood, lack of motivation, walking around in a state of drunkenness, and committing errors at work are pretty much guaranteed to lead you away from happiness and success.
Prioritize sleep every day, and make a habit of getting to bed with enough time to fully recharge your batteries.
Otherwise, you'll find yourself distracted by unimportant shit, working on other people's tasks, or chucking controllers at Nintendo's until you're red in the face.
In which case, it's going to be hard to live a happy and successful life.
Habit #2 | Exercising (the Right Amount, at the Right Time)
While chucking controllers at Nintendo's is a form of exercise, it's not going to contribute to success and happiness.
First, it's borne out of frustration so is more damaging than helpful from a stress perspective alone.
Second, you probably won't be doing it at the right time or for the right duration.
And there is a right time and duration.
A Briston University study of 200 employees showed that people rated themselves 22% higher levels of concentration, 22% more likely to finish their work on time, 25% more productive without breaks, and 41% more motivation to work on days when they exercised vs. days they did not.
Low-intensity exercise is effective for reducing fatigue and avoiding the decline of attention, memory, and problem-solving.
Working out in the morning will give you an energy boost and flood your system with endorphin's, which is exactly what your body needs to be more productive and happier.
Exercise is a habit. It's something you feel either compelled to do or feel is an interruption. Given the benefits, you need to make sure you are feeling the former, compelled to get moving for the right time and length each and every day.
Build exercise into your daily routine so that you can experience the benefits of increased motivation, productivity, focus, memory, and problem-solving ability--all sure ways to increase happiness and success.
Habit #3 | Prepare for Your Moments
Every day is made up of moments.
One moment after another, good or bad, fast or slow.
Moment after moment, built up until it's time to crash for the night, only to wake up to another series of moments tomorrow.
Moments are the Lego's of your day.
They are the building blocks if happiness or despair; success or mediocrity.
So why on God's green earth do we go from one moment to the next without having a plan for what we'll get out of each moment in time?
If you're going into a sales meeting, you'd have your slides ready. You'd know how long it would take check in. You'd know how long the drive would be, when to expect heavy traffic, and to how much time to account for eating on the road. You'd schedule, you'd prepare, and you'd know the outcome you want.
Why should literally anything else you do in your life be any different?
It's just science.
You are more likely to reach your goals when you imagine the outcome and plan backward the steps it will take to get there.
Knowing what you will do in advance helps you avoid decision fatigue (where you're ability to make decision weakens with every decision you make in a given day).
If you follow the average, you'll need 17 minutes of rest for every 52 minutes of work. Planning allows you to maximize your productive time around necessary breaks.
Following a plan helps you avoid multi-tasking, which is shown to decrease productivity, increase stress, thereby reducing happiness.
Design your day.
Plan out how you are going to use each moment, each building block, so the whole comes out looking just the way you want.
A perfectly happy and successful day may still be few and far between, but without planning to have one, you're leaving your success and happiness to chance.
Layers of Science
More sleep, daily exercise, and advanced preparation are all habits that can, in and of themselves, lead to a better life. But layer them on top of each other and you’ve got a recipe for success and happiness .
About the Author
HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE
I help high-achieving entrepreneurs organize their brain and schedule so they can organize their life and business.
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