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Cell Phone Use and a Healthy Work-Life Balance

“It’s a constant effort to ensure that my phone is used only as a business tool”

How do you balance your cell phone usage to ensure maximum productivity and a healthy work-life balance?

IN 2024, when phone communication is no longer contained to just calls and texts, a healthy work-life balance is more important than ever.

During the first four years of my current sales role, I had no work email on my phone; I used a tablet instead. The goal was to create an obvious separation between work and my growing family. As more clients have required my attention, I’ve made changes while adding boundaries.

Although I’ve added my work email, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn to my cell phone, notifications are silenced. Once I leave the office, my calls and texts are also silenced. I now have a separate business cell that I use for potential clients and other business calls. That phone stays in the office. My current clients will still always have my personal cell.

I don’t check my emails, WhatsApps, texts, or calls each morning until I finish davening, minimally helping my wife get the kids off to school, and my morning learning seder. If a client requires my attention before 11 a.m., my customer service team will be happy and available to assist.

To quote the best time management advice I’ve ever followed, “Be easy to find, hard to reach.”

—Shalom Markman, Account Executive, Fidelity Payment Services


A cell phone can be a tool to help you achieve your goals, or it can be very distracting. I work in blocks of 15 or even five minutes set for specific tasks. During those blocks of time, there’s no checking email or allowing other distractions.

Home is always a challenge, especially for business owners or anyone in sales. The best idea is to charge your phone (away from you!) during dinner and while putting the kids to bed.

—David Gabay, Senior Vice President, Banquest Payment Systems


It’s a constant effort to ensure that my phone is used only as a business tool. I have no browser on my phone, and I only download productivity apps with no news or social media. This ensures that my phone remains a tool to be used for specific tasks, without distractions and updates.

I have WhatsApp on my computer, and when I need to open it on my phone, I use it mostly without notifications. I also disabled most notifications even for productivity apps, such as email, during specific times (such as the evening). I utilize the do-not-disturb feature to finetune the settings based on the time of day to turn off all calls and notifications besides those from immediate family during those times.

It’s still not perfect. Every few months I need to reevaluate to ensure a healthy work-life balance.

—Gershy Roth, Founder of Redsyte


AT work, the number one thing I do to ensure productivity is to block notifications on all unnecessary apps. The only apps I have notifications on for are email, WhatsApp, and text messages. Even on WhatsApp, all group chats are muted.

I always put away my phone for the first hour or so once I get home. I have two young kids, so I also make sure to put it away until they’re going to sleep.

—Nathan Halberstam, Founder and CEO, Bound Logistics


Like many others, I’m addicted to my phone, but I have two restrictions. I leave my phone in the car when I go to shul, and I put my phone away until after supper when I come home from work.

I always tell people: I never lost money, my wife never gave birth, and no one ever died during the times of day when I disconnected from my cell phone.

—Shneur Mueller, CEO, Midway Business Brokerage


Although I have a smartphone, I’ve tried to make it as unattractive as possible so it’s not too distracting. I have zero notifications, beeps and buzzes when anything comes in. I have boring apps, with no element of entertainment. I can’t even see other people’s WhatsApp statuses.

You would expect the owner of a web design company to need a browser on her phone, but I don’t have one! If someone from the office wants to show me a website they’re working on when I’m away from my computer, they send me a screenshot via message.

I also label any client (who somehow gets my cell phone number) with a hyphen before his name and I simply don’t answer his calls after 3 p.m.

One day I hope to get rid of my smartphone. I am a work in progress.

—Chaya Fischman, President, Brand Right Marketing Group


IT takes constant adjustment to find the right balance and reevaluate what works. My business relies heavily on WhatsApp communication for initial inquiries, so that takes up 90 percent of my phone activity. WhatsApp isn’t great for productivity though; it took time to figure out how to move on from the initial WhatsApp communication stage with our new clients.

 —Mendy Hershkowitz, Bandleader/Producer at Mendy Hershkowitz Band


It’s a daily struggle that I’m always working on, especially because my entire business is on my phone. But I keep in mind that in 20 years, the only ones who will remember that you worked so hard are your kids. So I try my best….

During meetings, I put my phone away completely. Sometimes, if I’m in the middle of a deal and awaiting a response (and I know I’ll be tempted to keep checking my phone), I’ll just leave my phone in the car.

I try to do this for at least an hour when I get home. Some nights, I’m able to do it even longer. It’s a work in progress.

Every day before Shacharis, my phone goes on mute and into my tallis bag. I was mekabel not to touch my phone until after Aleinu. The same goes for Minchah and Maariv. When a bochur once asked to borrow my phone for an important call, I motioned to him that he could take it from my tallis bag on his own.

—Shea Spiegel, Licensed Realtor


I have a flip phone and a separate tablet with WhatsApp and email that is only with me during business hours and doesn’t come into my house until the younger kids are asleep.

As for avoiding distractions while working, I try my best to focus on the task at hand and only review WhatsApps at set times. Not everything needs an immediate answer.

—Isaac Weiss, CEO, Avalon Benefits Group


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 996)

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