The ubiquitous smart phone often makes it hard to distinguish between our personal and professional lives and we can find ourselves checking our work inbox when reconfirming reservations or inspecting google maps for directions. The impulse is strong and experts say the addiction to technology is a very hard habit to break – even if you are on a fabulous vacation.
Here are some tips to help when you want to disconnect – but can’t seem to totally pull the plug on your connection to the office:
Delegating projects during your absence is a must for peace of mind while you are traveling. Make sure your colleagues know what is urgent and what can wait until your return.
Create an out-of-office message that is very clear with dates and who to contact if there is a true emergency.
Set Some Boundaries
Make a pact with yourself that you will limit the amount of time you check emails. Perhaps you give yourself 20 minutes in the morning before everyone else is up and then 20 minutes again before bed. This will help you stay in the moment when you are out on a tour, on a beach or enjoying a meal.
Reading your email is one thing, responding is something completely different. When you engage with any kind of action the sender gets the signal that you are online and paying attention. Your reply encourages more response from them and gives them permission to interrupt your vacation with more emails. Try to scan your emails without hitting reply.
Prepare for Your Return
If you are going to take the time to look at emails while away from the office, you might as well organize them at the same time so re-entry is not so difficult. Try creating folders with “follow up” or “for meeting agenda” or “for accounting” so that when you are back at your desk there is some organization to your to–do list.
The urge to stay connected is quite strong and most of us cannot fully unplug on vacation. But, if you can decrease the amount of time you are dealing with work, it will be a gift to yourself and the loved ones you are traveling with. And – if you have an enlightened boss and company – they will understand that you will come back with a renewed spirit and increased energy.