If you’re wondering how to improve your morning routine, you might consider turning the clock back eight hours first.

Entrepreneurs and business owners know that morning routines are The Thing to do. While there is bountiful evidence to support the idea that fostering a morning routine leads to a successful day (and by extension, a successful business), there’s one small element that can have a huge effect on your next morning.

An evening routine is just as, if not more important than a morning routine yet is very much overlooked by most people. Think about it: how many times have you slaved away at the office or in front of your computer at home during and after dinner, while the kids go to bed, and into the late evening hours? We all do it, and there’s no shame in doing it . . . sometimes. But perhaps it’s worth exploring how you spend your time in the evenings so you can start improving your mornings and days. Here are five tips to help you use your evenings wisely. (Spoiler alert: they do not include working.)

REVIEW WHAT YOU’VE DONE

Taking time to go over your day and review all the tasks you’ve completed can not only give you an incredible feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment but also start your plan for the following day. There are always a million things to get done in a day which can leave you feeling like you’ve done nothing at all, even after working 12+ hours. If you didn’t make a To Do list in the first place, write down the things you’ve accomplished and strike them through so you can see where your time went today and begin planning for tomorrow.

SET TOMORROW’S PRIORITIES

This one is as common knowledge throughout the business world as morning routines are. Taking time in the evening to sit down and create a list of priorities for the next day seems paramount if you want to achieve your goals, and it makes sense. Knowing what your priorities are means you’ll begin your next day with clear expectations about how you’ll be spending your time. But don’t think you need a list that’s a mile long: there’s science behind having three items or less on your list so you do not become overwhelmed.

SET BOUNDARIES

As a business owner, one of the easiest things in the world to do is bring work home with you. Doing so is also the easiest way to decrease your ability to focus and prioritize, increase your stress, and strain your relationships. Yet for some, it’s unrealistic to not work from home, especially if you work in your home. Setting boundaries concerning where and when you work at home can help you transition from work brain to home/life brain. For example, if you have a home office, make a rule that you only work when in that room; set up your phone to charge when you walk in the door and glance at it two or three times throughout the evening, not every time it chirps at you; and don’t bring your phone or computer to the table during a meal.

CULTIVATE JOY

Much of the time, the life of an entrepreneur can feel like that Rhianna song – work, work, work, work, work, work. This is especially prevalent in the evenings when the house gets quiet and distractions lessen. To use the evening hours to your best advantage, do something that makes you feel good. If you’re not sure what might bring you joy – don’t laugh, it’s a common question for adults these days – try to remember what you liked doing as a kid. Oftentimes, childhood and teenage pursuits are still enjoyable for us as adults but we’ve let them fall away because they ‘don’t matter.’ Well, joy does matter and bringing some into your life before you hit the hay will make for a more enjoyable evening. Play a board game, or an instrument, exercise, meditate, go to dinner with friends, watch a movie – whatever makes you feel good.

SLEEP WELL

Getting a good night’s sleep might sound like a no-brainer. But sleep issues are rampant in entrepreneurialism. Creating an evening routine in the first place will assist you in getting better rest as your body and mind begin to adapt to your routine and anticipate quieting down. While rising at the same time every morning is important, so is going to bed at the same time each night. If you’ve been eyeing up a new mattress or an entire bedroom makeover, stop putting it off. The environment where we sleep needs to be comfortable and inviting for our bodies to take full advantage and make it to the REM cycle of sleep. Turn the thermostat down a few degrees, minimize outside light pollution with blackout curtains and, for goodness sake, turn off your damn phone.

There are an infinite number of ways to create an evening routine for yourself. Explore your options to discover what works and what doesn’t, and soon you’ll be killing your morning before it even begins.

Written By Jess Campbell