1. Simulated Sunrise Alarm Clock
The alarm clock is one of the most hated and yet most necessary items in anyone’s home. It’s the first thing you hear every morning, but certainly not the first thing you want to hear.
Part of the problem is that human beings, like most diurnal creatures, respond to sunlight. Ever try to sleep in on the weekend with the shades open? It’s really hard to do. Your body goes into overdrive when the sun rises and tells you “it’s time to wake up!”
A simulated sunrise alarm clock will slowly brighten as the time to wake gets closer, and just in case you can’t wake up on any particular day, it has a traditional, sound-based alarm built in.
2. The Means with Which to Exercise
I won’t advise you to buy an overpriced exercise bike or treadmill, but one thing all successful people have in their homes is SOME means with which to exercise.
Whether it’s a yoga mat, a large open space, some free weights, or a jump rope, have something in your home you can turn to for exercise when needed. There are days when the gym is too far and the weather too nasty—don’t let that be an excuse to fall into bad habits.
3. Books That Motivate and Inspire
Even the world’s most successful people sometimes need a pick me up, and a good book can do just that. Filled with stories of successes achieved, failures learned from, and obstacles overcome, good business and lifestyle books will motivate you to get the most out of your day.
There are numerous articles about books you can read to fill that gap—from ones that will make you think by Malcolm Gladwell, to motivational stories of extreme productivity from Tim Feriss. Here are a few more to help you get started.
4. Isolated, Quiet Space for Working
Successful people inevitably have to work at home sometimes—it’s a necessity. But when they do, they have a space that is separate from the rest of the house. One that allows them to shut out distractions and focus on the tasks at hand.
This is good for a couple of reasons. One, it allows them to get that work done faster. Rather than sitting on the couch working for four hours between distractions, they shut an office door and get the bare necessities done in 1–2 hours—much faster and better for the work-life balance.
5. A Handwritten Notebook for Setting Goals
There are three types of goals. Long term goals like those you’ll set every year in January, short term goals to complete specific projects or hit certain milestones, and daily goals to just plain get things done.
Successful people have efficient systems in place to set and manage all three of these, and the best way to handle it on a daily basis is with a handwritten notebook you can check. I recommend moleskine notebooks that fit in your back pocket.
6. Hardwired Telephone and Internet Connections
This is a basic productivity tip but it’s a must. If you’re working at home, you need to know that your phone and Internet connection will be reliable. Wireless connections, whether a cell-phone that can get choppy or drop calls or WiFi Internet, are neither reliable nor the highest possible quality. Install hard lines wherever you are working.
7. A Standing Desk or Versatile Working Space
You’ve read the articles about the dangers of sitting. But forget the fear of being unhealthy for a moment and focus on the many benefits of being upright for longer periods of time each day. A more active body leads to a sharper mind and more productive output. Even if you don’t plan on getting a standing desk, look into other versatile working space options.
8. A Visual Representation of Goals
In my home office I have a white board and a cork board. On the former I will draw diagrams showing how much work I have left to achieve a specific goal—at any given time I can create a reminder that I’m getting closer to my goals. On the cork board I will pin successes as they occur. This means printing out metrics from a recent project, putting up the business card of someone I met at a conference, or posting the most recent article I wrote as a reminder of what I am working towards.
9. A Fridge Full of Healthy, Lifestyle-Oriented Foods
A healthy diet is a must, and successful individuals know this and live their lives by the maxim that a healthy body, well-cared for will fuel a healthy mind.
So toss the junk food and beer and work towards a better balanced, healthier, and generally better balanced lifestyle that will allow you to think better and have more energy on a daily basis.
10. A Dining Room or Kitchen Table with No TV in Sight
Successful people tend to have a better handle on the balance between work and life, especially in the 21st century as the psychological and emotional benefits of doing so have become so apparent.
To foster this, make sure you have a dedicated space where you and your family can sit and eat dinner together, discuss your day, and bond outside the realm of work.
11. A Hands-on Hobby without a Screen Attached
Screens are everywhere. On average you will look at a screen 45 out of every 60 minutes during the day. So a hobby that involves playing a computer game or watching movies isn’t the best way to rest your mind.
Instead choose a hobby that uses your hands and puts those hyperactive neurons in your brain to rest. Painting, playing a musical instrument, gardening, woodworking—whatever you enjoy that doesn’t require a screen can be great post-work therapy.
Without fail, the most successful people in the world will have some or all of the items listed above in their homes in some form or another. The key is to maintain balance, seeking success at work while enjoying peace and love at home. With the right balance or productivity and family, you can do the same.