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5 things successful people do after 5 p.m.

African woman stretching out behind computer at work
iStockphoto

(MoneyWatch) You may have read the popular post by Forbes writer Jennifer Cohen about five things incredibly successful people do before 8 a.m., which highlighted smart suggestions like visualizing their day and making their schedule top heavy. But that's not the only outside of work window in which you can pump up your productivity. Recently, I spoke to some career experts about things you can do after 5 o'clock that can help rejuvenate you and get you prepared for a top-notch tomorrow. Here are five they suggested trying:

Wrap up your day

This includes responding to every email you received during the course of your day, says Julie Morgenstern, author of "Time Management From The Inside Out." "Do this, even if just to tell the sender that you've received their email, and will get back to them within the next day or so with an answer."

Plan for tomorrow

Take a look at the rest of your work. "See what's on their schedule for the next day (and two beyond that), pull necessary prep documents and files, and have everything set to hit the ground running the next morning," says Morgenstern. And prioritize that massive To Do list. "Name your top 3 (to 6) priorities for the next day-to ensure you proactively complete those priorities, no matter what else flies at you unexpectedly," says Morgenstern. Don't forget to do the same for your team. "Plan your team's next day's priorities, and send out instructional emails or check ins."

Take time for friends and family

Successful people invest intentional time in their personal networks, says efficiency expert Andrew Jensen. "They recognize that success at work is empty without success in their home and with their family," says he adds. The key is to make it quality time. "They actively exercise listening, while restraining from dominating the conversations," says Jensen.

They take care of themselves

Investing in your health is always a smart personal, as well as business decision (if you're constantly sick, or even just tired, you won't function at your peak). "[Successful people] eat a healthy dinner, understanding the value of nutritiously investing into themselves and the corresponding returns they can expect. They exercise, channeling away pent up stress while strengthening their bodies and helping ensure a better night's sleep," says Jensen. While you're taking care of your body, don't forget to keep your personal finances healthy, too. "Don't let it pile up and become an increasingly stressful distraction," says Jensen.

They sleep for 8+ hours

Think staying super late is great for your career? While there are some circumstances that warrant it, in general sleep is a good career choice. "A good night's sleep is the secret weapon of highly successful people," says Alex Doman, CEO of Advanced Brain Technologies and author of "Healing At The Speed of Sound." "In the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury," says Doman, adding that over time the effects may be even more grave. "In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and obesity."

Make these five behaviors after-hours habits, and you might find that you become efficient -- and successful -- over time.

  • Amy Levin-Epstein On Twitter»

    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.