More and more, the amount of time that people dedicate toward work has increased while the amount they spend at home or pursuing personal interests has decreased. Canadian Social Trends published a study that found that “on average workers spent 45 minutes less with their family during workdays in 2005 than they did two decades earlier”. Many employees are also missing breaks, lunches and vacations. A Harris/Decima survey found that almost 25% of all Canadian workers do not take all of their annual vacation time, an estimated 34 million unused vacation days each year.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce your stress and get back more of your time.

Try to reduce your distractions at work. This will allow you to stay focused and increase the likelihood of getting everything done and leaving earlier than you currently are.

Don’t work non-stop. If you do your productivity will decline more and more over time. While you may not have enough time for actual breaks or a full lunch hour, at least get up after an hour or two and move around for a few minutes. Go get some water or have a chat with someone. When you get back to work, you’ll have less stress, be more refreshed and will be better able to complete what you need to do on time.

Use the vacation time owed to you throughout the year. This will not only give your more personal time, but you’ll also come back rejuvenated and with less stress.

And finally… Have a Black Berry? Turn it off in the evenings to spend quality time with family or simply unwind with your favorite book or TV show.

About Tom Drake

Tom Drake is the owner and head writer of the award-winning MapleMoney. With a career as a Financial Analyst and over nine years writing about personal finance, Tom has the knowledge to help you get control of your money and make it work for you.