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Remember that old tongue twister: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Well, it turns out the woodchuck could probably chuck more wood if he/she would take breaks, get more sleep, spend more time with the family and just relax.

Are you a woodchucker who can't stop chucking the wood when the clock says it's time to go home?

A Feb. 9, 2013 New York Times piece by Tony Schwartz, founder of The Energy Project, points out that "taking more time off is counterintuitive for most of us." Schwartz notes that many companies view downtime as wasted time. But, he warns, "spending more hours at work often leads to less time for sleep and insufficient sleep takes a substantial toll on performance."

Here are some steps you can follow to keep your work life balanced and your body refreshed:

  1. Take five: During the workday, take five-minute breaks every 30 to 40 minutes. Stretch. Walk. Drink water. The change in pace will re-energize you for the next block of work time. Make this a habit and you'll find your five-minute investments will bring you returns in greater productivity.
  2. Let's do lunch: Schedule personal time for your important relationships. Studies show that at least 20 minutes a day are needed to maintain a relationship with a greater amount of time needed to improve and grow a relationship.
  3. Family dinners: Have dinner with your family. Share the day's events. Two questions I like to use to get conversations going are: "What is your 'peach' of the day?" and "What is your 'pit' of the day?" These are questions easy for children to understand and respond to.
  4. Sweet dreams: Research healthy ways to help you add in more hours of shut-eye. Does your bedroom provide a soothing environment? Are you engaging in too much screen-time before bedtime? What does your body need to relax into a natural and refreshing sleep?
  5. Take a vacation: Make time to plan and prepare for a vacation. And when the time comes, make sure you disconnect from your workplace. No phones, laptops, emails! Make sure a co-worker is backing you up while you're gone.

Whether you are leading an entire business, managing a team, or working on your own, the benefits of integrating a time-out/time-off routine into your workdays will let you achieve more in your job and reach greater levels of health.

What do you plan on doing differently tomorrow to balance your work life?


Larry Hart

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