Every summer articles appear in newspapers and magazines extolling the benefits of taking a complete, utter and total vacation from work for an extended period of time.
This advice may have been feasible 15 or 20 years ago before laptops, iPhones, blackberries, telecommuting, few support staff and fierce global competition, but it isn’t practical now. How do you take a vacation from the computer in your living room? Because of the internet, customers and consumers expect timely, if not instant, answers.
On a practical level, if you don’t check your devices for one or two weeks, there will probably be 5,000 emails waiting for you, and voice mail and cell phone messages checking on your unanswered emails. The exhaustion of dealing with this avalanche of demands will wipe out the benefits of your vacation by the end of the first day back to work. It will be as if you never left.
Here’s my solution: check your email and voice mail once a day and respond to everyone very briefly. Keep things moving, but resist the temptation to start any new projects. Instead, keep a list of your ideas for when you get back to work full-time.
I find I’m less stressed (which is the point of my vacation) if I keep in touch lightly and don’t have to return to a mound of messes and demands.
How do you spend your summer vacation?