In today’s hyperconnected world, it can feel nearly impossible to take a step back from our devices. Luckily we have role models to look to for real-world unplugging inspiration and insights, including many in the business world. Here’s what eight successful leaders say about taking breaks from tech to unplug and recharge, their relationships with their phones and how they deal with email.

1. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn

From Weiner’s Thrive Questionnaire

On whether his phone sleeps in his bed:

“My phone is the most essential device I use, though it’s not in the bedroom while I’m sleeping.”

On how he deals with email:

“To receive less email, I try sending less email. I also try to clear out all unread email at least once each morning and each night. Lastly, I don’t send email after 11 p.m. or before 5 a.m.

2. Megha Mittal, Chairman of ESCADA

From Mittal’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I have made a conscious effort to not have my phone with me in the evenings when I am with my children because they deserve my undivided attention, which is impossible around one’s phone! I have also stopped sleeping with my phone. I still check my phone too many times during the day. So this is work in progress.”

3. Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.

From Bergh’s Thrive Questionnaire

On whether his phone sleeps in his bed:

“No, it charges in the closet. I try to keep it in my back pocket when I’m with family or in meetings. I’m not always successful.”

On how he deals with email:

“I check regularly but I am purposely not on email all day. If I have an urgent question, I’ll call or text. And when I’m in meetings — and that’s most of my work day — I make an effort to be present and not multi-task. Instead, I run through email in the morning first thing; again late morning; and again end of the workday in the office. Occasionally I check in the evening at home. I’m also very conscious of the ‘signal’ the time of my emails send to people — so I try not to send emails late at night or extremely early in the morning.”

4. Mike O’Neill, President and CEO of BMI

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When asked by the New York Times about his work culture, O’Neill said:

“One of my favorite things when we go into a staff meeting is to say: ‘Anybody waiting on a call? Is there an emergency? If not, turn your phones off. We’re here for 35 minutes to an hour, whichever it may be. We can focus for that. If you have something that’s time sensitive, you can step out of the room and do it, but just let us know beforehand.’”

And when asked if that’s a rule he’s always enforced, he said:

“Always. It’s like sitting on that lifeguard stand. You could focus for an hour. The internet is very intrusive in that way. I used to sit in meetings and see people on their phones and wonder, ‘Why are you here?’”

5. Alexandra Cavoulacos, founder and COO of

From Cavoulacos’ Thrive Questionnaire

“My phone and I have a co-dependent relationship, but I’ve done a better job of drawing boundaries since I did a tech curfew last year. The key for me has been removing all alerts and notifications from my phone, so that I choose when to check it, and then being super careful on weekends and on vacation. It’s easy to develop a Pavlovian response to your phone, reaching for that Gmail app without even realizing that you’re doing it. I like to use airplane mode strategically and on my honeymoon went so far as to delete email off my phone for two full weeks.”

6. Martin Lindstrom, corporate and consumer branding expert and NYT Bestselling author

From Lindstrom’s Thrive Questionnaire

On whether his phone sleeps in his bed:

“Absolutely not — you must be crazy. Seven years ago, I made a very conscious decision not to jump onboard the smartphone wave — simply because I noticed how it kills our lives. We never get bored anymore — yet boredom is the foundation for creativity. So I bought an old analog Nokia — yes they’re hard to get hold of these days. Only option: eBay. But they’ve allowed me to be present. We’re never present these days — thus we never observe, never connect with people (in the physical world), and, yes, never get bored. In fact, now when we’re talking about it — I can’t even tell you where my phone is — perhaps because I only use it a couple of times a week.”

On how he deals with email:

“I have appointments with my emails twice a day. That’s it — it’s addictive, I know — so I try to control ensuring that I allow time for what really matters.”

7. Susie Lee, CEO and co-founder of Siren

From Lee’s Thrive Questionnaire

On whether her phone sleeps in her bed:

“Since I run a tech company, I require it far more than my natural inclination, but heavens no, I don’t sleep with it. The phone is, by far, the least interesting partner in bed.”

8. Danielle DuBoise, co-founder of Sakara Life

From DuBoise’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I’m pretty attached to my phone during the workweek, but it’s important to unplug. My husband and I practice something called ‘Sacred Sundays’ every week…no screens, no emails, no texting, no calls, just connecting with each other and being in the moment!”

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