Working long hours at the office and going the extra mile is a de facto expectation in today’s competitive world. While this trend is becoming increasingly common at many big and small corporations, it comes at a cost – your health and personal time off. As work takes increasing precedence, we end up working all day, eating poorly and enduring  never ending stress at office, which can easily take away few years of our life. It’s easy to see why the saying   “sitting is the new smoking” is turning into the new mantra.

While you devote a substantial part of your day to work, it is important to pay an equal measure of attention towards yourself as well. You can better manage the daily chaos through some thoughtful planning and time management, ensuring your days are less stressful, tiring or boring.

Here are five activities you can integrate into your schedule to get through a long and hectic workday.

prioritize your work and set an intention for the day

Maintaining a tight schedule and prioritizing work is what separates ‘busy people’ from ‘productive people’. Always remember - ‘first things first’ is the key to time management. When you start your day at work, pen down your to-do list for the day and prioritize important projects that are due soon and close them first. Follow this up with projects that are faster to execute even though they may rank lower in terms of importance. This will help you achieve your daily targets and become more efficient. Also, setting a one word intention at the start of the day such as ‘collaboration’ or ‘innovation’ can help you focus on the execution of your tasks for the day.

eat well and stay hydrated

To sustain a long and hectic workday, you need to stay energized throughout the day, and that can only be achieved through a proper diet. To get through ultra-stressful days, bring in some snack options or liquids that can keep you going. But make sure that you are eating healthy snacks that provide fuel to your body and not make you feel sleepy or lazy. Quick snacks that are high on nutrition such as fruits, juice, energy bars, dates etc. are some options that can be considered. While eating well is important, it is also imperative to stay properly hydrated in order to avoid headaches or body aches on a long and hectic workday.

keep your workstation clean and tidy

Having a clean and tidy workspace not only helps in lifting your mood and keeping you productive, but also in improving your mental and physical health that ultimately fuels your energy levels. A disorganized workstation, with stacks of paper, sticky notes and general clutter, acts as a visual reminder of all the work that you need get done, and can stress you even further. Organizing your paper work and your immediate surrounding environment can help you to become more efficient, ultimately leading to reduced levels of stress.

take frequent breaks

When you know that the day is going to stretch out beyond the usual hours, and you still have a lot of ground to cover, make sure that you don’t sit on the chair for extended periods of time. Instead step away from your work at regular intervals, stretch and take short walks. Changing up your environment for a few minutes can be refreshing and at the same time help you to be more focused, boosting your overall productivity. Experts advice that working in intervals of 90 minutes with quick breaks in between for a cup of tea, coffee or even a quick chat with your colleagues, can be highly beneficial.

stretch at your desk

Sitting at your desk for a long time can wreak havoc on your wrists, back, neck, and spine. Stretch your body at regular intervals to keep you going and avoid any sort of body ache. Taking a five or 10 minute break for a series of simple stretches will get your blood pumping and the joints moving, so remember to get up and move around.  Investing in various health tools such as desk bike, portable pedals or a standing desk can go a long way in making you more active and productive at work.

While the survival tips for getting through a long and hectic workday can differ from person to person, the key element remains the same for all - time management and a sense of wellbeing. Having a stress free environment and ensuring you are dividing your time between your work and health, especially on hectic and action packed days requires a little planning and some intentional actions. The more you practice and implement routines that work for you, the more adept you will become towards achieving a better work-life balance.