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After a while, the demands of a 9-5 work week can wear on even the most dedicated employees, regardless of how perfectly their job title fits their professional aspirations. Most people dedicate the majority of their waking hours to working, and though productivity at work is both important and personally fulfilling, it cannot come at the expense of your mental well-being. Though time off, an amicable working environment, and generous benefits are measures taken by many employers to keep their employees happy, there are numerous steps an individual can take to make the most of their daily work life. The tips outlined below are written to maximize your productivity at work – with the importance of self-care in mind.

Take Small Breaks

There is a common misconception among professionals that “powering through” tasks without a break is the pinnacle of productivity; after all, less idle time means getting more done, right? Wrong. Multiple studies indicate that the most productive individuals schedule short breaks into their workdays: approximately 10-15 minutes of rest for every hour of productivity is said to be ideal. Of course, repeated short breaks do more than evidently bolster productivity at work; they afford your brain a chance to recharge, alleviating work-related pressure and anxiety. So long as you are disciplined about keeping your breaks within the suggested brackets of time, this could have a monumentally positive effect on both your productivity and mental health.

Stay Hydrated

This tip seems simple enough, but it’s wildly underrated (and underused!) by working professionals. Too often, coffee and sugary beverages replace water as the go-to drinks of the 9-5 work life. Though we all may need to indulge in a little caffeinated pick-me-up from time to time, these alternatives are by no means a replacement for water. Dehydration, even in mild forms, can have various negative effects. These range from lethargy to an inability to concentrate, and multiple studies have linked it to depression. Making a water bottle your go-to item to reach for throughout the workday is an easy, painless way to make yourself happier and bolster productivity at work.

Set Personal Goals

Deadlines, meetings, and projects are all hallmarks of the professional field. Though completing these can often instill in us a sense of accomplishment, it takes something else to provide continuous fulfillment. A finalized project may be your company’s marker of productivity at work, but you may be more satisfied by having finished a particularly difficult section of it. Your supervisor may make suggested changes to your work and consider it completed once those are implemented, but your own fulfillment may come from having tackled and completed a brand-new task. The point is this: meeting the standards outlined by your employer is crucial. However, your personal fulfillment can be drawn from outlining small goals throughout each project you tackle. Give yourself credit for the small personal accomplishments that you accrue between deadlines.

Love Your Space

No matter how beautiful your office may be, chances are that there’s a sense of uniformity throughout. Whether you work in your own office, a cubicle, or in an open floor plan, adding personal touches to your space can make a world of difference for workplace morale. Colorful accents like flowers, photographs, and other knick knacks liven up your workspace in more ways than one: bright colors have been demonstrated by research to be natural mood and productivity boosters.

Productivity at work is something to be aspired to and, when maintained, appreciated. However, professional accomplishments cannot come at the expense of personal fulfillment. In fact, chances are that placing personal happiness on the backburner at work will result in lower rates of productivity and professional satisfaction in the long run. Incorporate your self-care practices into your workday, channeling them into means by which to maximize your productivity. By taking into account the outlined tips, you’ll be more poised than ever to experience a robust professional experience that contributes to a happy personal life.