It’s easy to be fascinated by the habits of the world’s most successful people. Are there practices that differentiate business moguls, prominent leaders and creative icons from the rest of us? Have they uncovered all the secrets to high performance? And what do they do when they get home in the evening?
While some wildly successful people like to change in their PJs as soon as they walk through the door and turn on Netflix like the rest of us, others have idiosyncratic evening rituals.
From taking work home and tackling it in an unusual setting to disconnecting by doing mundane tasks or engaging in hobbies, here are four unique evening rituals of the world’s most successful people. Let them inspire you to personalize your own nighttime habits.
Vera Wang works in bed
Renowned fashion designer Vera Wang says a lot of her most creative design work happens in her bedroom, which she refers to as her sanctuary. “I spread out on my side of the bed, and I may be looking at books to get ideas, or just thinking things through,” she told Fortune in 2006. “Staffers send me stuff at home, and I always read it at night — the only time when seven people aren’t coming to me at once. I’m able to think in a more peaceful way than when I’m in my normal routine. My normal routine is pretty much putting out fires all day in my office.”
While media mogul Arianna Huffington would disapprove of this ritual (she says your bed should only be reserved for sleep and sex), retreating in a peaceful environment works for Wang. Working in bed might not be for everyone, but stepping away from your day-to-day routine to allow space for deeper thinking is not a bad idea — especially if you find yourself constantly dealing with external demands.
Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos do the dishes
You would think that billionaires such as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos have better things to do than scrubbing dishes. But both executives have revealed they do the dishes every night. They are onto something: Washing dishes can turn into mindfulness practice and reduce stress, according to a 2015 study.
So if you’re having a hard time decompressing after work, doing a mundane, repetitive task might actually help you unwind.
Kate White works in her kitchen
Former Cosmo editor-in-chief Kate White hits the bar after work — the idea bar, that is. “My craziest trick is that I regularly do my work standing up at a rolling butcher block counter in my kitchen,” she told Fast Company. “If I were to work sitting down, I’d fall asleep. I know it sounds awful, but I think of it as if I’m tending bar in the evening—a bar of ideas. And I always keep the kitchen TV on so it doesn’t seem too lonely. I drink several espressos at night, which really helps.”
Drinking coffee at night could be a recipe for disaster when it comes to your sleep hygiene. But if you do have to take your work home with you, finding an energizing setting to wrap up your tasks can help refresh your focus after a long day.
Arnold Schwarzenegger avoids talking shop
While some high achievers maximize every single waking hour to get work done, others are strict about disconnecting before bed. And they take it further than simply avoiding work emails. Arnold Schwarzenegger told The Tim Ferriss Show that he avoids debates about business two hours before bed.
Even if you’re super passionate about the work you do, taking the decision to set boundaries around work conversations after a certain time of the day could help you wake up feeling ready to dive back in.