Being effective as an entrepreneur is often about hard work, but even more importantly it’s about smart work. Great entrepreneurs know that time is limited and valuable, so they need to make the most of each waking hour.
There are many factors that contribute to working smart — but planning and proper sleep are among the top performance increasers.
To maximize your time and efficiency, here are five essential and easy things you should do before bed that will make help transform your waking hours into super productivity.
1. Take a look at your calendar. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. By reviewing your calendar the night before, you’ll know what’s ahead for the day so you can be prepared and plan for the best method to tackle your objectives. You’ll sleep better knowing that you’ve already planned for the day ahead and you’ll rise in the morning knowing that you’ve already taken care of the leg work to get a jump start on the day.
There’s another old saying, “If you don’t use your head, you’ll end up using your feet,” and that proverb goes a long way for productivity! Come up with a strategy the night before on how to tackle tomorrow.
2. Get the gym bag ready. Whether you go to the gym, run in the neighborhood or walk your dog, have your exercise gear out and ready to throw on for when you wake up. Getting your clean clothes together and ready is a life hack lots of entrepreneurs use to minimize the risk of skipping their workout.
It only takes a minute to lay out your gear, but it’s a great shortcut for making sure you get your fitness in every morning. Taking care of your health is an important part of the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
3. Turn off your phone. Sleep is a crucial part of the successful entrepreneur’s healthy lifestyle. Once you’ve checked your calendar and you know what’s ahead for tomorrow, put the phone on silent or turn it off to ensure it doesn’t beep, chime or ring and disturb your REM cycle. Disruptions to your sleep will leave you tired and slow your performance.
To keep your productivity at its highest level, make sure you eliminate any hindrances to your sleep cycle. That email or text message can wait until tomorrow. Turn off your phone or put it on silent to ensure a good night’s sleep.
4. Write in your journal. No, not the “dear diary” kind of entries. Keeping a journal is a practice that can help you process the day and make sense of your thoughts. Keep your journal in the nightstand and every night take a few minutes to review the day’s triumphs and write down what you’re grateful for that day.
Don’t make this a boring, unthoughtful experience. Think of it as a nightly meditation — just two minutes of reflection thinking about the day’s highlights and writing them down will transform your waking and sleeping thought. It’s part of a wealthy lifestyle to appreciate all the great things of the day: doors held open, great conversations had.
Whatever the highlight, list it and prepare your mind for great sleep.
5. Read a real book. One last thing to contribute to your good sleep is to read a quality book. You can decide what a quality book is to you, but reading before bed is a great way to make that final transition into sleep.
It will also keep you away from bright lights and electronics (hint: don’t read on your phone or tablet, the light might disrupt your eyes and affect your sleep cycle) and soothe your body into the sleeping process.
Author: Matthew Toren
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley).