The opportunity to be plugged in is all around us – portable chargers, charging stations, screens everywhere you turn, but being constantly connected can be incredibly draining. By unplugging, we can give ourselves the opportunity to refuel, expand our thoughts and ultimately enhance our productivity and creativity at work.

To recharge, I try to designate my free time to touch one or more of the following categories: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and Intellectual. By designating these spaces, I can create a clear focus, and thus am more likely to achieve my goals. Below are some tips I like to follow to unplug from work and feel more in control:

Put Your Devices Out of Sight

When I am at home, I turn off my devices and try to be present and focused on whatever I’m doing. For example, when sleeping, all my devices are in a different room. This helps for a few reasons, first there are no distractions, second when the alarm goes off (on my phone), I have to get out of bed and go to the other room. When I’m out in a non-work environment I try not to keep my phone visible; especially while dining. That is one of my biggest pet peeves – I think it is so important and respectful to be present with the people I am with, not fixed to a screen and blatantly ignoring company. I mean, I can order in and relax in my PJs if we are all going to just be on our phones.

Set Boundaries and Stick to Them

I make it a point that when I’m not working, I do not check emails. I inform my colleagues that if it is an emergency, call or text. Otherwise, it can wait until the next day. Creating processes and expectations for myself and my team builds better and more effective communication and working environments. Of course there are always exceptions to any rule – in this instance, if there is a deadline or a time sensitive issue. I’m not saying to put off work because it isn’t pertinent, I’m saying be smart and selective.  

Take Breaks

I make a point to take breaks, it’s that simple. Sometimes I block time in my calendar or set an alarm on my phone to stop what I’m doing and walk away for a short period of time. The mental break is a game changer! I’ll go for a run, walk around the block, anything to take my mind off of the tasks that can become too consuming when we haven’t let our brains or emotions breath. By decompressing, I can return with a clear head and make decisions much more quickly. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Surround Yourself With Friends

Sometimes life gets busy and you may find yourself postponing plans with friends to get ahead at work or because you’re just tired and prefer a night in. I make a point to plan or attend at least one outing with friends a week so I can feed off of their energy and find balance. It’s important to surround myself with engaging, positive people in my personal life who naturally encourage me to just be me. By letting my guard down, I can relax, put otherwise consuming situations into perspective and likely feel more level headed and in control.

Push Yourself to Try New Things

The key here is to unplug by experiencing new things. Getting yourself out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to see, hear, and feel things for the first time will invigorate you and give you new perspectives that can make you ready to learn and lead in the office. Either solo or with friends, I will try something as simple as a new restaurant, exercise class, cultural experience such as a show or performance or by just wandering through a new neighborhood or area. By continuously trying new things I’m able to expand my ideas, processes and network.

Everyone’s schedule and working style is different. The more that we can each take a step back and evaluate what is working and what is not, the more energy, clarity and happiness we are bound to find!

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  • Anne Huntington Sharma

    President and Board Member, Huntington Learning Center

    Anne Huntington Sharma is the President and a Board Member of Huntington Learning Center, the nation's leading tutoring and test prep provider. Anne oversees business strategy and growth initiatives, including partnerships, marketing, digital and technological transformation, and franchise development.  Anne is involved in the arts as a collector, producer, philanthropist, curator, and founder of AMH Industries, a creative agency for contemporary art and culture. She is an associate producer on the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary, 'The Price of Everything’ and an associate producer on the documentary ‘The Art of Making It’. To date, Anne has curated more than 30 exhibits across the country and raised over $30 million for various philanthropic causes. Additionally, Anne is active with arts, education, and business organizations. She is a board member for the Learning Disabilities Association of America, Art Advisory Board member for NYC’s Coalition for the Homeless, member of the Women’s Franchise Committee for the International Franchise Association, member of the International Director’s Council at the Guggenheim Museum, and a founding member of the Future Leadership Council at the Whitney Museum. For her service, Anne has been recognized by SmartCEO, Apollo Magazine, and Moves Magazine. She has also been honored as a Woman of Wonder by Franchise Dictionary Magazine, named to the NJBIZ Education Top 50 list, as well as the NJBIZ 40 under 40. Most recently, Anne was named one of NJBIZ’s Best 50 Women in Business and was awarded the Silver distinction for the American Business Awards, Maverick category. Anne received her BA from Colgate University.