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5 Bedtime Routines of a Successful Entrepreneurs

To shut your body down for the day and get a restful night’s sleep, it’s important to put routines into place. This enables the body to relax and recognize that it’s time for bed.

Tanzanian fascination with entrepreneurial productivity is endless — just look at the waves of  young women and men with aspirations finding ways to wake up earlier each day. But it’s not just optimizing your morning routine or the approach to structuring your work day that’s important. In fact, one of the most overlooked productivity and schedule hacks is the entrepreneur’s nighttime routine. Here are some recommended steps.

1. Set three priorities for tomorrow.

What you do in the evening can ensure your success the following day. In his Vanity Fair profile of President Obama, Michael Lewis notes “the president’s day actually starts the day before.” He spends the evening reviewing schedules and briefs for the coming day. Similarly, many writers suggest ending the day’s work mid-sentence so they know exactly where to pick up with writing in the morning.

Use this principle of building momentum by thinking about your objectives, tasks, schedule and desired outcomes. Using the Most Important Thing (MIT) approach, define your top priorities for tomorrow before bed. You’ll wake up with a clear agenda and be ready to accomplish more.

2. Assess your day: what good did I do today?

Ben Franklin was famous for his rigorous routines and schedules. He ended each carefully mapped day by asking one single question, “What good did I do today?” The sentiment is right, but as an entrepreneur take a slightly more structured approach to examining your day. Take time to review your schedule, projects and insights.

Ask yourself three questions: What progress did I make toward my vision and goals today? What am I grateful for today, specifically? Finally, what improvements can I make with what I learned?

3. Plan your meals ahead of time.

If you take your lunch with you, prepare and pack as much as you can the night before. Invest in a programmable coffeepot that awakens you with the aroma of a fresh brew. Lay out the breakfast dishes and flatware. Place the cereal box on the table, or program a small overnight crock pot filled with oatmeal. Your breakfast will be steaming hot when you arrive at the table. Choose to start the day with a more nutritious and filling choice than simply drinking a cup of coffee on the go.

4. Lay out your clothing.

Check the weather forecast and lay out your clothing for the next day, including shoes and accessories. Make sure your shoes are polished and your outfit is wrinkle-free and ready to wear. You’ll feel more put together when you don’t have to make rushed decisions or search for the iron. Have cosmetic and grooming items organized and within easy reach. If the forecast calls for rain, place an umbrella and a raincoat by the front door.

5. Stick to a regular bedtime.

When you maintain a regular bedtime, your body starts to wind down by a certain each day. A half hour to an hour before bedtime, shut off all electronic devices (including the cell phone), lower the lights and engage in an enjoyable activity, like reading. Aim for at least seven or eight hours of sleep. When you do this, you’ll awaken more refreshed and ready to go.

Paying attention to your evening schedule adds a layer of control and sanity to a typically packed schedule. It allows — or forces — you to make time for important things such as family and your health. Ultimately, you’re able to keep your energy high and focus on your most important business priorities for maximum productivity the following day.