How To: Unplug from Work

Sure, a good escape artist knows how to surreptitiously scoot out of the office at 2pm on a Friday. But more importantly, he’s capable of unshackling himself from work stress (so his smart phone isn’t an unwelcome guest on his vacation). Here we offer a few tips for turning off and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Control your Email Urges

These days, "inbox zero" is all the rage, but trying to maintain it while you’re off duty is hardly feasible. In order to really unplug, you have to learn to live with a little unread email for a few days at a time. The nifty Mailbox app for iPhone can help you there. A simple swipe to the left over any email lets you send it away to return at a later time—say tomorrow morning during actual work hours—so you can focus on more important things.

Play Games

Here’s a good exercise when you’re out to dinner with close friends and want to take some time away from your mobile device: Everyone places their phones face down in the middle of the table. First person to touch their phone loses…and has to pick up the tab.

Clear your Mind

Studies have shown that just 20 minutes a day of meditation can improve both physical and mental health. Set aside a spot in your home to help separate your quiet space from the rest of your busy life.

Sweat out the Stress

It’s no surprise that exercise can help reduce stress, but what most people don't realize is that a simple brisk walk during lunch is enough to boost your energy, improve your productivity, and give you some perspective. After work, try more aggressive pursuits like boxing or squash to give you an outlet for extra energy or tension.

Let the Sun Set…On your Desktop

Your desktop is meant to mimic the light from the sun, but nothing will mess with your circadian rhythms worse than a blazing noon sun at midnight. The f.lux app for your computer automatically adjusts your monitor's light settings throughout the day, mimicking sunlight during the day and switching to a warmer, redder tint at night.

Photo: Columbia Pictures Corporation

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