Don’t you just love your smartphone? It allows you to text photos and instantly look up directions to restaurants and do all sorts of wonderful things that weren’t possible a decade ago, and you’d be lost without it. Unfortunately, it also lets you check email wherever you go, and if your work account is hooked up to your device, that means you’re always connected to the office. Always. Even when you’re on vacation and supposedly relaxing.
In a terrific post for the career site Glassdoor titled “5 Ways To Be On Vacation When You’re Actually On Vacation,” writer Rusty Rueff offers tips for putting some much-needed distance between yourself and your job. It’s nice to feel like you work somewhere you’re truly needed, and being “indispensable” isn’t a bad thing, but every now and then, you really do need to get away and recharge those batteries. Read on to find out how.
1. Be Realistic With Yourself — If you know you’re probably going to check email — and this is especially true if you’re going on an unusually long vacation — be honest about it. Talk to your colleagues in advance and develop a protocol for who you’ll be interacting with — that way, you won’t get bombarded with messages from everyone in your department.
2. Stay Consistent — Once you tell your colleagues you’ll only be checking email on certain days, or at certain times of the day, don’t deviate from the schedule. If people see that you’re available more than you said you would be, they’ll be more inclined to hit you up with questions and the like. “Consistency and predictability is your best offense and defense,” as Rueff puts it.
3. Use Time Zones to Your Advantage — Vacation likely means travel, and that means different time zones. Let people know that you’ll be checking email during times of the day they’re likely to be away from the office, and by doing so, you won’t feel guilty about turning off the computer, stepping away, and getting back to the beach.
4. Don’t Start New Stuff — Answering email may be unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you have to ask a lot of questions, propose new ideas, or start modifying the terms of agreements. Engaging coworkers and colleagues on this level will only lead to more emails and more questions, and the ice in your umbrella drink is already start to melt!
5. Deal With Work Emergencies — If something major goes down that demands your attention, you should handle it. Otherwise, you’ll worry about it the rest of the trip. “But, once the fire is out, don’t keep going back,” Rueff writes. “Smother it and get back to the kids and enjoying yourself poolside.”