Do you check your work email right before bed and the moment that you wake up? In fact, do you sleep with your cell phone next to your bed? Are you constantly checking Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram—for work or for yourself?
If so, you’re not alone. Being connected to work electronically 24/7 via phones (and tablets and laptops) has become the norm in business today. But that doesn't mean we should all be tethered to our electronic devices after work and on the weekends.
Those of us who are continually connected to work would be a lot less stressed and a lot more productive if we unplugged completely after hours. An “always on" mentality can result in physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
Here are tips for how to disconnect so you can relax and recover.
- At work, check email at a few set times during the day to ensure that you don’t miss urgent communications.
- After work, use your Out of Office message to let people know that you’ll respond to email the next business day.
- Create boundaries between work and home. Tell colleagues if and when you can be contacted after business hours. (Of course, and you may need to be available for a true emergency.)
- Ban electronics from the bedroom at least a half hour before you go to sleep.
- Turn off your phone, tablet, and laptop at a set time each day. Dinnertime is the perfect opportunity to power off so that you can stay connected—to the needs of yourself and your family.
- Don’t check email or electronic updates while watching TV.
- Keep your cell phone or tablet out of sight when you’re at dinner with family or friends. Better yet, leave them home. If you have only one phone, turn off your work notifications.
- At least once a week—a Saturday or Sunday is ideal—go completely off the grid. Take a walk, meet with friends, spend time with family, exercise, listen to music, or just relax and recharge.
Turning off electronic devices gives us a true mental break from work. And that can make us more productive, as we enjoy more positive emotions and satisfaction. Try it soon!