Shonda Rhimes shares her secret for staying happy and avoiding burnout

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Shonda Rhimes is one of the most successful people in television. As the creator of hit shows like "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" and "How to Get Away with Murder" she's known for being extraordinarily prolific.

But that doesn't mean that she works 24/7.

In an interview with Fast Company, Rhimes, shares trick for staying productive that every professional can use.

"I do not answer phone calls or emails after 7 p.m. I do not work on the weekends, which I have to tell you is incredibly difficult," she tells Fast Company. "I mean, I write. I just don't answer phone calls or emails."

For Rhimes, author of bestseller "The Year of Yes," saying "No" to dinnertime calls and past-midnight emails is crucial to her career. It ensures that she has time to relax, be with her family and avoid burnout.

Rhimes takes this rule so seriously that she makes sure everyone knows.

"My email signature says, 'I do not answer calls or emails after 7 p.m. or on weekends, and if you work for me, may I suggest that you put down your phone.'"

The strategy of having "off" hours where you don't answer emails can help every professional, career experts say.

I do not answer phone calls or emails after 7 p.m.
Shonda Rhimes
TV writer, producer and author of "The Year of Yes"

A study of 400 employees published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology says that those who engage in creative hobbies are more likely to have a better attitude on the job. Other research shows that employees with hobbies are more satisfied with their jobs and have a lower likelihood of burning out.

Rhimes isn't the only successful person who's tried to tame the endless onslaught of emails. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Google exec Jonathan Rosenberg and media mogul Arianna Huffington all take time to get away from their phones. It helps them connect with friends, enjoy their free time more and sleep better.

In fact, billionaire investor Warren Buffet says, "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say 'no' to almost everything."

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