large_3977770653 As summer arrives – and vacations beckon – work-life balance really comes to the fore. It goes without saying that the best way to get the most out of summer weekends is to accomplish work during the workweek.

But it can be extremely difficult to stay motivated and get everything done that needs completing. Here are five simple steps to help you get the most out of your workday:

1) Start Your Morning Right. After a refreshing night’s sleep, you should be at your very best! Take the time to do those things that give you the most energy and inspiration. For some, it’s that perfect cup of coffee; for others, it’s a long walk with the dog, motivating mediation or breakfast with the family. Whatever gives you the biggest morning boost, be sure to do it daily!

2) One Thing at a Time. Most of us have many things to do throughout our workday. Getting it all done can be almost impossible, especially when the phone rings and emails pile up. If you find yourself multi-tasking throughout the day, you may also find you haven’t accomplished much. It’s important to focus on individual tasks so as to knock out your to-do list quickly and effectively. Here are a few simple tips for avoiding the multi-tasking trap:

  • Set times every day when you will look at your email. Then check only during those times.
  • Turn your smartphone to airplane mode when you’re working on important projects. Then return calls during a set period of time.
  • Schedule breaks throughout the day to keep yourself motivated and inspired.

3) Reward Yourself For a Job Well Done. When there’s a long to-do list staring at you throughout the day, it can become overwhelming, slowing you down. That’s why it’s a good idea to reward yourself when you’ve accomplished difficult action items. Tell yourself you’ll be rewarded when the job is finished and you’ll feel an extra push of energy needed to get things done.

Self-motivation can be extremely effective, whether you reward yourself with a coffee break, a relaxing massage or something else.

4) Know When Your Workday Ends. In today’s world of work, it can be hard to hew to a regular schedule. Instead, we end up slogging away into the night. This may be imperative to get the job done – but it can also lead to unproductiveness.

The mind and body need time to relax and refresh in order to function at their best. That’s why knowing when your workday ends is so important. Leave time for family, friends, relaxation and exercise. Try it for a week and see how much more you actually get done!

5) Prepare For Tomorrow. Before you go to bed, be sure to have tomorrow’s workday itinerary ready. Put all of the above in place in the evening – morning motivation time, set times for email and airplane mode for your phone – and you’ll be ready to tackle your to-do list head-on.

The more prepared you are, the easier it will be for you to go to bed relaxed. The better you sleep, the more refreshed you’ll wake – and that will lead to a productive day tomorrow. When your head hits the pillow, your mind should be free of work thoughts.

How do you get the most out of your workdays and make time for relaxation? Tell us in the comments below.