My husband and I are off to Hawai’i today for our babymoon and a much-needed week of general sloth and eating way too much food. I’m determined to unplug this week with limited time online and little interaction on social media. I just need a little mental break from the craziness of this world. So much so, that I’m publishing this week’s post two days early so that I don’t have to worry about it during my trip.
Surprisingly, given how much of a workaholic I am and how I usually can’t stand being idle, I’ve actually always been very good about disconnecting (from work, at least) during vacations. I think part of it is that I’ve always gone out of town for my breaks, and I appreciate travel as a valuable and productive experience in life.
But I know that a lot of people have a hard time completely unplugging, often finding themselves checking in on work email during their vacation and maybe squeezing in a little bit of actual work. So, for today’s post, I scoured the internet for some good tips on disconnecting from work during a vacation:
Declutter your digital space
It takes a lot of time to unsubscribe from emails you don’t care about, unfollow accounts that annoy you, and tailor your notification settings. The quickest way to have the same effect? Deleting the entire app. You know your problem apps; just uninstall them, even if it’s only during your trip or for a few days at a time. Turning your phone back into a phone is pretty liberating.
Turn off your push notifications
You’ll be far less tempted to check in if there’s nothing new and exciting calling to you.
Set up a smart out-of-office reply
When you set up the vacation auto-responder message on your primary work account, write a message that helps you avoid the dreaded backlog that typically awaits your return: let your correspondents know that you may not review all the messages you receive in your absence, and that they should email you again after X date if they need a reply. As a courtesy, provide an alternate way of addressing their issue more quickly, such as contacting your assistant or colleague.
Assign a gatekeeper
Find a co-worker to notify you in case there’s an actual emergency at work. Give this person your hotel phone number only. And, heck, let it ring if you want.
Leave your work computer behind
You probably don’t need a computer on vacation at all, but you might want to bring one (or a tablet) for watching movies, researching things to see and do or to spontaneously book a hotel somewhere. But leave your work computer behind. There are too many temptations to check email in the morning, get a head start on a project or even pop over to Slack. Remember, the point of vacation is to disconnect from work, so leave the computer behind and you won’t have the option to open it.
Ask your travel companions to hold you accountable
The people with whom we share our vacations want to spend time interacting with us, not listening to or watching us interact with our technology. If we need help dealing with technology withdrawal during that first day or two, we can make a pact with a friend or spouse to swap cell phones, so no one gets distracted.
Until next week. Aloha!