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Take a Vacation (and that includes from your inbox!)

Take a Vacation (and that includes from your inbox!)

The weather is warm. The sun is shining. The kids are on break from school. Twilight is lit up by fireflies. It’s summertime!

And with summertime, comes travel. And with travel comes time off from work.

If you’re among the 68% of Americans who are planning a trip this summer, it’s likely that you’ll be taking some time away from work to accomplish a little rest and relaxation. But we all know how hard it can be to shut work off during our downtime.

Emails continue to flood our inbox, our phones continue to alert us to all messages and notifications, which during work hours means we won’t miss something important. But while we’re on vacation, it only interrupts our pleasure and put us back in full-work mode.

However, it’s important for everyone to take a break from the daily grind. And for those of who work in PR and other industries that work round-the-clock, though it may be difficult, it is not impossible to successfully unplug during vacation.

Here are some tips on how to unplug while you are away from the office:

1. Set a good out-of-office message. Make it clear that you will not be accessing your email. Also, let them know that if it can wait, it may be best to resend after a specific date. If you have a job that requires immediate responses, provide another contact number if they need to reach someone right away. While clients always come first, it’s good practice to provide ways for them to receive excellent service, even in your absence.


2. Turn off notifications on your phone. I know this may seem obvious, but it’s good to just remove the email from your constant access. If necessary, only check in once or twice a day on a laptop.

3. Avoid last-minute emails that need a response.  Try to utilize your time before leaving for vacation for cleaning up your inbox, not for starting a new thread of emails. If you need to respond to an email, be clear that you will be out of the office over the next few days. If possible, schedule your email to go out towards the end of your vacation, so any responses will likely hit your inbox when you return.

4. Utilize the Send-to-folder feature. Set up regular emails to go straight to folders that you can review when you get back. For instance, if you are on a mailing list and receive 2-3 emails a day, then send it to a folder for you to review when you get back. If you have a group that sends lots of internal messages, create a rule for them to go to a certain folder. It will help you manage your inbox when you get back.

5. Take a break.  Now that you’ve prepared for taking off of work, the secret is to actually unplug from work. That will require a little self-discipline, but it will be worth it when you are well-rested and ready to tackle your workload (and inbox) when you return.

I hope you enjoy your weekend holiday and get to unplug a bit.

Happy travels!