Advances in technology have done many wonderful things for us and made our lives easier in a variety of ways, but those advances also require us to make certain adjustments as a society and sometimes making those changes is easier said than done.

With smart phones and tablets, many people can access their work from anywhere, which is great news for those who hate being chained to the office, but it can also make maintaining a healthy work/life balance more difficult than ever. Many of us carry our cell phones with us everywhere we go and are addicted to checking our email. It’s great that we can be so accessible, but at some point we have to draw the line.

Quality time with friends and family isn’t very high quality when we’re constantly checking our phones. There are certainly advantages to being able to work outside the office, but the disadvantage is that, mentally, you never really leave the office. It’s hard to fully relax and unwind when you’re constantly checking your email, waiting for your phone to ring, or thinking about a project at work. With that in mind, here are some tips for enhancing your downtime:

1) Have two cell phones.

Some employers provide their workers with a cell phone when they want to be able to reach them outside the office. Rather than accept it as a perk that means you don’t need to buy your own cell phone, you should maintain it for strictly business purposes and have a personal cell phone for everything else. Even if your employer does not provide a company cell phone, it’s always a good idea to maintain two phones: one for work and one for pleasure.

2) Define your work hours.

Depending on the industry you work in and your job description, your employer might require you to be “on call” at odd hours. In that situation, it’s impossible to avoid having your phone on hand, but when you’re not on call, put the phone away. This is where having two phones really comes in handy, because you can put the work phone away while keeping your personal phone on hand to communicate with friends and family.

3) Leave the phone outside the bedroom.

Many of us sleep with our phones on the nightstand or even in bed with us. We can use the alarm function to make sure we wake up on time, but then we often check our email and/or social media accounts before even turning off our alarm. Keeping our phones on hand when we’re in bed disrupts our sleep. We don’t sleep as well when part of us is always waiting to hear the phone ring, and the blue light of the phone screen tells our bodies it’s still daylight and time to be awake. This makes it harder for us to fall asleep and to get quality sleep. The result is we are more groggy and less productive during the day.

These three simple tips can have a huge impact on the quality of your downtime, which, in turn, will increase your productivity when you’re back on the clock.

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