As you get ready to enjoy Labor Day weekend, many of you will be taking your last summer vacation. How do you think your weekend would go if you didn’t check email?
Last week I went on vacation with my family. I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t check email for the entire week and I’m proud to say that I stuck to that vow.
I didn’t check email for seven full days. Not even once.
As I look back on this experience, I’d like to share a few reflections and offer a couple tips that can help you stay off email during your next vacation (or long weekend away).
Two kids, two dogs, and enough supplies to last a month. After a last minute Amazon Prime purchase of a soft top carrier for the van, we packed everyone in and began our journey to Lake Michigan.
It was the first official trip with the entire family. Our daughter is five-months old and our son is about to be three. Spending quality time together was my main goal. Key word being quality.I spend plenty of time with my wife and kids however, it’s not always quality time. This is often due to my impulse to check email which shifts my attention to work as opposed to being present with them.
As an added element of motivation, I wanted to test my will power. Sounds crazy, but coming from someone who teaches people how to create healthy digital habits, I’ve often resorted to an app or piece of technology to help out.
But this time was different. I scheduled my ‘Out Of Office’ message, set expectations with my team and clients, and never looked back (or down for that matter).
Ten Immediate Benefits
I experienced several benefits by not checking email while on vacation.
I was less irritable
I was more patient
I laughed more
I wasn’t always thinking about work
I processed (not just listened to) to what my wife was saying 🙂
I slept better, I didn’t have random stressful dreams
I felt more present
I was less stressed and enjoyed my time away from work
I was refreshed and ready to get back into work
You’ll Feel Better
Studies show that taking time off from work — and work-related email — lowers levels of fatigue and job burnout. Employees who come back rested tend to perform better at solving problems and other creative tasks.
Inspired by an article in the Harvard Business Review, a friend of mine recently sent an email to his team with the subject line: “Make Not Working Part of Work”.
He stated it was just as important to disconnect from the office and take time off as any other project the team was working on.
He also suggested that people leave their ‘Out Of Office’ response on for one additional day after their scheduled vacation so that they could catch up on email and reduce the stress that comes from being away from work.
Spice Up Your ‘Out Of Office’ Response
With Labor Day weekend upon us, it’s a perfect time to test out taking a hiatus from email.
Here is a great ‘Out Of Office’ template that you can use to help foster the benefits of taking time off from checking email while you enjoy some fun in the sun!
Trust me. The benefits of going a long weekend without checking email will pay dividends to your mind, body, and spirit. Give it a whirl, you have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
Mark has been compulsively checking his phone for over a decade. He finally mustered up the courage to do something about it. A man of many interests and a wellspring of energy, Mark is on a mission to teach people healthy digital habits. A sought after speaker on the Psychology of Technology, Mark teaches you how to defeat distractions so you can connect with purpose.
Mark is on a mission to help professionals, teams, and leaders connect with themselves, each other, and their collective purpose by restoring energy to organizations battling modern life’s non-stop pace and growing sense of disconnection.