Many entrepreneurs focus on establishing a powerful morning routine. But an even better way to set yourself up for success? A productive evening routine.
1. Leave the office on time.
As CEO, it's important to remember that your employees look to you for behavioral cues, both spoken and unspoken.
If I set an expectation that my employees are expected to be in the office until 8 P.M., I would be doing a disservice to our team.
I want to set a clear example: Our employees can get a lot done, be very effective and still be able to leave the office at a reasonable time to enjoy a life outside of work.
That's why I always make it a point to end my day at the close of business. Not only is it a cue that your entire team will follow, but you'll be able to value your personal life -- and reap the long-term benefits.
2. Set aside time for your passions and priorities.
When my first son was born, I decided that I couldn't be an entrepreneur who gave lip service to putting family first. I had to do it.
When I walk in the door, usually at 6:30 P.M., my phone is in my bag -- and, for the most part, it stays there. The two-hour period between arriving at home and putting the kids to bed is focused on one thing: family.
My husband and I will cook dinner, help the kids with homework, and simply ask them about their days. After we put them to bed at around 8:30, my focus shifts to tomorrow morning.
3. Prepare for the next morning.
What's the easiest way to simplify your morning routine? By preparing for it in advance.
Every evening, I review my calendar for the next day to understand what I'll need, and I'll pick my outfit based on my schedule. Recently, I've started stacking up all the things I use each morning -- my journal, a book I'm reading, my iPad -- in a spot that's out of arm's reach from the bed.
If you're typically slow to wake up, try moving your phone away from your bed, too, so that you need to get up to turn off the alarm. It's all about doing the little things to help make that early-morning wake-up easier.
4. Practice affirmations.
If you end the night by passing out while mindlessly watching Netflix, it's easy to lose track of your morning motivation. I start my morning at 5 A.M., and rising before the sun isn't easy without a clear vision of why.
Before bed each night, I verbally remind myself why I am choosing to wake up so early the next morning. It's easier than it sounds. Before you doze off, recite the following to yourself out loud:
"I'll choose to wake up when my alarm goes off tomorrow because it's important for me to..."
Then fill in the blank. Remind yourself of the accomplished feeling you get after a morning workout. Remind yourself that without working hard tomorrow, that long-term goal doesn't get any closer to fruition.
Find what drives you and say it to yourself. Out loud. Every night. It may seem odd at first, but the next time that alarm goes off, you'll have a little extra motivation that wasn't there before.
5. Reflect on today with intention for tomorrow.
Closing out each day with intention is key. I have a goals journal designed for evening reflection, in which I outline three things every night.
The first things I'll jot down are any victories I had that day. I'm an advocate for highlighting any kind of wins -- big or small. Close a new multi-million-dollar deal? Write it down. De-clutter your desk? Jot that down, too.
Second, I record any lessons I learned, or my thought process for any important decisions I made. This acts as a mini history lesson, should I ever run into a similar situation in the future.
Finally, I take stock of the things I'm thankful for. I find this part particularly helpful -- especially when things aren't going as well as they could.
Your evening is the time to set yourself up for success in the morning. With a positive bookend to the day -- and ending with intention -- you're already on your way to a successful tomorrow.