How to “Turn Off” Outside of Work in a Digital World

I think everyone can agree that it’s nearly impossible to completely disconnect these days. Technology has helped our world evolve into a more productive, connected landscape. However, it has also made us quite reliant on it, at work and at home.

According to the American Psychological Association, 53 percent of Americans work over the weekend, 52 percent work outside designated work hours and 54 percent work even when sick.

Although it may be difficult, it’s imperative to take time away from your screens for a multitude of reasons including brain atrophy, eye strain and definitely lack of sleep.

This is why I make it a priority to actively seek out “off screen” time. It is especially necessary for people whose jobs revolve around computers or if you tend to spend a significant amount of your free time looking at devices (phones, tablets, tvs, etc).

So here are three steps you can take when you want to “turn off,” outside of work.

Put Your Phone in DND Mode

Or better yet, turn it off! This includes the smart watch on your wrist, too.

Each weekend I set aside one day where I turn off all of my unnecessary push notifications. This doesn’t mean I’m off the grid completely, but it does allow me time to truly be in the present moment. Which has really made a world of a difference.

Minimize Work Chat and Work Emails At Home

Even if you’ve had a stressful day at work you, you should consider leaving that outside as you walk into your house. Although debriefing through your day with your significant other or roommates may be standard, be aware of the negative energy that you may be holding onto and bringing into your down time.

Also, by turning off your email notifications you are able to be more present with those who matter most to you when you are home.

Charge Your Phone Outside of the Bedroom

I know, this is a tough one. Consider buying an alarm clock to replace the clock on your phone. By taking this step you are ensuring that the first and last ten minutes of your day aren’t tied up and focused on your screen.

Make a conscious decision to make time to check those early morning emails at the office, not while you are in your bed.

When utilizing these steps after my usual workday and throughout the weekend I am reinforcing the idea that when I’m at work, it’s time to work and be totally focused on what is in front of me. I find that because I unplug from work once I leave, I feel recharged and ready to go the next time I step into the office.

I hope my tips can provide you with ideas on how to turn off “turn off” outside of work.

Donelle Sirois, Intern/Executive Assistant