Is work-life balance a myth or truly attainable? If you find that the demands of work have begun to eat into your personal time or moments with your loved ones, perhaps the following 5 tips that Julia Hogan from has for you will help you conceptualize how to achieve incorporate work-life balance into your everyday life. You may find Part 2 of the series here.

1. Develop a Morning Routine
If your morning routine begins with hitting the snooze button and ends with rushing out the door, granola bar in hand, you’re missing out on what could be your favorite part of the day. Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, looked at the habits of highly successful executives. She found that the majority had a productive morning routine that includes some form of self-care. Map out what your ideal morning looks like. Does it include 30 minutes of exercise? How about a leisurely breakfast while reading a new book? Set goals for making your morning routine a success—and something to look forward to each day. Pack your work bag and lunch the night before. Set your alarm an hour early. And be sure to get enough sleep!

2. Set Work Boundaries and Stick to Them
Always being “on call” is a big contributor to work-related stress because you never truly stop working. Decide how and when you will be reachable after office hours. Will you check your email three times a night, not at all, or somewhere between? Schedule specific time slots during work hours to check email throughout the day. It keeps you focused on the task at hand and not distracted by the latest email in your inbox. There’s no right answer, but discussing this with your boss will help you establish a workable solution. Remember, being available at all hours sends the message that you never stop working. And always being on call can lead to burnout.

3. Taking Vacations Seriously
In some workplaces, the underlying assumption is that taking a vacation means you are replaceable. So instead of taking the time to invest in your well-being, you feel expected to work long hours and eschew vacation days. But the benefit of vacation days is well-documented and a great way to reduce stress. Entrepreneur Seth Bannon explains the problem with not taking those hard-earned vacation days: “Professional runners take long breaks between marathons. They make no excuses for this, and no one judges them for it, because everyone knows that rest and recuperation is an essential part of being a pro athlete. The same is true for entrepreneurs (and everyone, really)… It’s time we stopped making excuses for rest and relaxation.”

4. From Meetings to Muay Thai
Life isn’t all about work. Consider taking up a hobby, whether that’s a sport or something creative like photography. Sign up for classes, join a club, or partner with a friend for the goal of learning something new. One of the best ways to prevent burnout and keep stress at bay is to have a rewarding personal life. Having a hobby that you enjoy is an essential ingredient to a healthy mind.

5. Incorporating Exercise
Fitting exercise into your day can be a challenge, but you can start out slowly and increase the amount you exercise over time. Taking group classes, joining a running or biking club, enlisting the help of a workout buddy, or using commitment apps like Gym-Pact will help keep you motivated. Adding exercise to your day will reduce stress and provide countless other health benefits.

This post was originally published here on in December 2014. takes no credit for the work of the author.

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