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Work/Life Balance… it’s kind of possible. Want to know how?

We all need more work/life balance in our lives. Between managing a heavy workload, family life, exercise and other commitments most of us feel as if we are constantly rushing from one thing to the next. In a new book on time management called Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time, Brigitte Schulte, a reporter for the Washington Post, writes about her struggles with being a good mother, a good wife and a reporter for the Washington Post. Schulte met with a Time Management Specialist to show her how to really see her busy schedule in a new light and to re-interpret her time running around with her kids as leisure time.

It’s an interesting approach, and it’s always interesting to see what happens when we think outside the box. But if you’re more of a pragmatic thinker, and you truly want to lower the stress in your life, then follow these 5 tips to lower stress and increase productivity with these 5 tips:

1. Schedule family time and make it sacred. If you are not able to spend enough time with those you love most during the week, then make it a priority by putting it on your calendar. This will give everyone something to look forward to, but most importantly, if you are committed to spending quality time with loved ones, remove distractions like cell phones and iPads so that you can all truly connect.

2. Say no! We often feel obligated to say YES to those things we really don’t want to do. When we say yes to every carpool or every meeting then we fill up our schedules with unnecessary commitments and this causes stress and resentment. So get comfortable with just saying NO.

3. Exercising will increase your energy, reduce your stress and charge up those positive endorphins. Exercising is as simple as going for a walk. A new study has shown that people who walk more are more productive. You may want to think about a walking meeting or stepping out of the office for a 30-minute break.

4. Schedule a Hard Stop – when we are at work, we often say, “I’ll leave really soon”, “I just have one more thing to do and then I’ll be done” and this can go on until 11 PM at night. A hard stop is a scheduled time that you determine to shut everything down and leave the office. If you honor your hard stop then you are giving yourself the gift of time.

5. Take breaks throughout the day. Research shows that if we don’t step away from our work and take real time away, then we risk burning out and that can also have a negative impact on our health. A recent article in the New York Times by Phyllis Korkki suggests that breaks are important to long-term health and improved productivity.

Work/Life balance is not always achievable but we can take steps to reduce our stress and improve our health with awareness and discipline.

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