03/27/2012 10:55 EDT | Updated 05/26/2012 05:12 EDT

How to Achieve Modern-Day Work-Life Balance


Is the nine-to-five grind getting you down? (Or is it the eight-to-five grind? Maybe, if you're really unfortunate, it's the nine-to-nine grind?) These days, employees are expected to be more productive than ever before. So much more is being demanded of our time and energy than any other generation of workers. So how can we ensure that we're achieving an adequate work-life balance? Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of your working day, as well as the time you have to yourself.

How to Achieve Modern-Day Work-Life Balance-from-mt-217156

Get sweaty at lunch

Whether it's a brisk walk around the neighbourhood, a bit of circuit training at the gym, or a full-on lunch hour run, getting some exercise during the noon hour does amazing things for your mind, body, and general outlook. It really does wonders to break up the day, and getting your exercise break in during your working day will save you an extra hour after work. Spend that hour making a truly fabulous meal for dinner, or indulging in a bubble bath, an hour of fun book reading, or some utterly mindless television time.

Work harder, not longer

Sometimes working late is out of our hands with meetings, delays and deadlines! At other times, it's entirely avoidable. Focus on being productive, especially during your afternoon block (when you start to get a little tired and your mind wanders to what's happening on Facebook and Twitter). That way, you may not have to put in an extra hour or two at the end of the day to wrap up projects that could have been properly time-managed between nine and five.

Go on vacation

Are your vacation days piling up? Still have unused days carried over from last year? We're all guilty of this! No matter how crazy work gets, it's important to detach and take a breather. The world won't end if you're not in your cubicle for five days. We promise. Use your vacation days. Use them. Enjoy them. It's what they're there for.

You are what you eat

Had a stale danish pastry for breakfast? Grabbed a quick burger for lunch? Have every intention of microwaving your dinner? No wonder you're feeling out of it! You may think you don't have the time for nutrition, but all it takes is adequate planning. Stop skipping breakfasts and opt for a quick smoothie or a bowl of oatmeal. Wake up 10 minutes earlier than usual and pack your lunch with leftovers, raw veggies and a couple of your seasonal fruits. Invest in a slow-cooker for the amazing convenience of having dinner ready as soon as you walk in the door. (Mom? Is that you?) Eating right is key to feeling good physically and staying sharp mentally. Everybody wins!

Put it out of your head

Make sure you're not agonizing about work problems while not at work. Don't be one of those people who stays up at night, thinking about a stressful work project (and then proceeds to dream about being at work). Change the channel in your head and focus on other things. Oh, and most important of all, be sure to get a good night's sleep.