AirBnb’s Brian Chesky says making lists helps him stay organized.
Make your list and check it twice.
AirBnb CEO Brian Chesky recently revealed that making lists helps keep him on track. “If you have a list of 20 things to do,” Chesky told the “Masters of Scale” podcast, “you end up realizing, ‘I don’t need to do 20 things.’ If I do these three big things, the other 20 things will kind of happen as outcomes, or outputs, of it.”
Science proves that Chesky is onto something. A 2011 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that leaving goals unfinished could breed anxiety, while a simple strategy like making a list could reduce it.
Dr. Paul Wright, chair of neurology at North Shore University Hospital in New York, agrees: “It’s appropriate for [top CEOs] to do this,” Wright says, noting that professionals like pilots and surgeons are also famous for adhering to their checklists.
“Keep tasks to a minimum,” Dr. Wright recommends, adding that too many details on a list can cause runaway stress and inhibit your productivity.
Brian Chesky isn’t the only one with a unique morning routine. Here are a few others:
1. Jack Dorsey: The Twitter CEO wakes up at 5 o’clock, meditates for half an hour, does three circuit exercises, and then gets to work, Business Insider reports. “I look to build a lot of consistent [routines]. Same thing every day,” Dorsey wrote in 2015. “[It] allows a steady state that enables me to be more effective when I do have to react to something.”
Why you should try it: Morning workouts have been linked to enhanced productivity at work, higher metabolism (to help you burn calories), and better sleep compared to working out at the end of the day, says US News & World Report.
2. Arianna Huffington: The Huffington Post founder and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time wakes up naturally without an alarm, and spends some time reflecting on gratitude before checking her devices. Then Huffington does half an hour of yoga or the stationary bike, and meditates for 30 minutes. “Some parts of my routine vary depending on where I am,” Huffington admits. “[It] might be closer to 5 minutes of meditation.”
Why you should try it: There are mounting indications that meditation benefits people who experience acute anxiety, depression, or difficulty sleeping, MayoClinic says.
3. Reshma Saujani: The lawyer and Girls Who Code founder makes time for her son every morning: “I wake up, feed my son, read the NY Times, workout, come back to play with my son, and go to work,” she said last year. And, like Chesky, Saujani also makes lists. “What I want to accomplish this week, when do I want to get it done, how do I want to get it done … I just check them off,” she told Fast Company in 2014.
Why you should try it: Research from the University of Exeter and University College London found that quality interactions with your kids can have a noticeable impact on them: the cognitive (brain-related) skills of children between the ages of three and seven were “improved considerably” through more time with mom, The Guardian reports.
4. Gary Vaynerchuk: The communications entrepreneur and CEO of VaynerMedia starts every day with the news, including his daily sports fix on ESPN. Then, he tweets with as many of his followers as he can and, on the way to work, calls family members to check in. “I catch up with them. Talk to them. Just learn what they’re up to,” he says of his mom, dad, or sister. Total time for this routine: Three hours.
Why you should try it: A previous survey from the Pew Research Center correlated watching cable news with higher intelligence: 45% of US college graduates watch cable news regularly, and the number was even higher — 55% — amongst those who considered themselves “highly knowledgeable about current events.”
5. Viola Davis: The Academy Award-winning actress, one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2017, wakes up at 5:30 A.M. with her husband Julius Tennon, and they work out together — and then take a plunge in the jacuzzi. “That part of my day is completely about me and my husband,” the star of ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder told Refinery 29 last year. “It’s meditative for me.”
Why you should try it: Taking a dip in a jacuzzi can equate to reduced stress, better circulation, and the melting away of muscle pain, Livestrong says — making it the ideal post-workout remedy for Davis and her husband.
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