Mindful Screening//

6 Successful Executives Who Take Breaks From Their Phones

Amidst their busy lives, they find the time to set boundaries with technology — and they believe it’s key to their success.

Courtesy of Kimberly White / Getty Images / Bennett Raglin / Getty Images /	Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images
Courtesy of Kimberly White / Getty Images / Bennett Raglin / Getty Images / Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

We know there’s value in periodically taking a break from our smartphones and social media, but many of us also have our excuses for not doing so. Still, some of the smartest and busiest people in business, like Bill Gates and Marc Benioff, have found novel ways to unplug and recharge. Their practices may not all work in your particular office environment, but there’s still much to learn from these leaders about how to reevaluate our own technology use. Here are six ideas for you to try:

Leave your phone behind on your next vacation — Marc Benioff, Salesforce

Before a recent vacation across the South Pacific, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff reportedly mailed his phone off to his summer home, and was accessible only by landline. His practice of distancing himself from his phone seems to have inspired his colleagues as well; Salesforce SVP Jody Kohner recently shared her own practice of keeping her phone out of her bedroom.

Go somewhere to hear yourself think — Bill Gates, Microsoft

Bill Gates spends two weeks a year away in a forest cabin on his own, a practice he calls “Think Week.” He uses this precious respite from work and family responsibilities to read, recharge, and imagine new ways to to change the world.

Even a 48-hour break from technology can make a difference — Whitney Wolfe, Bumble

Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe recently acknowledged the detrimental mental health effects of dating apps, conceding that it’s “time to encourage our users to focus on themselves and mental health and not [get] trapped in this warp of a never ending stream of connection.” To help set this in in motion, Bumble implemented a “Snooze” functionality, where users can pause app activity and notifications for any given period of time. Wolfe gave it a go herself, and says afterwards, she “started relearning how to be human again.”

Keep technology out of your morning routine — Daymond John, FUBU, Shark Tank

Shark Tank investor and FUBU founder Daymond John recently told CNBC “Make It” that he prefers his mornings free from emails and Instagram.

“When you wake up in the morning and look at emails, you’re going to be consumed by everyone else’s emails of people asking you what they need to be done. I don’t look at Instagram because everyone there is skinnier and sexier and richer than me. So if I wake up in the morning, looking at everyone’s problems from an email, and then also thinking about how everyone is living a great life, then I walk out of the room depressed,” he says.

Take the scenic route to work — Sara Blakely, Spanx

Spanx founder and CEO Sara Blakely says she doesn’t need a vacation to disconnect. Instead, she’s known for taking 40 minutes to drive to work — even though she actually lives only a few minutes away. Her fake commute allows her valuable time to herself, away from technology and the demands of others.

Enjoy dinner without your phone — Mellody Hobson, Ariel Investments

Investor Mellody Hobson shared on a recent episode of the Thrive Global Podcast how she and her husband, George Lucas, keep their phones away from the dinner table in order to demonstrate positive behavior for their young daughter. “I have had that phone attached to me, so I don’t even take my purse when we go to a restaurant… I can’t even be tempted to look,” she told Arianna Huffington.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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