(Editor's Note: Although our local summer ends with the return of students to Ithaca, this article regarding vacations is still useful. It's all too easy these days to stay connected which is a blessing and a curse. But it does allow many of us to take vacations at any time of year.)
The rise in mobile tech has made it possible to work remotely—but it's also made it harder to truly disconnect during that much-needed vacations. Just in time for that summer trip, here are some tips for unplugging the right way—before, during, and after your next vacation.
- Set expectations and delegate. Whether it's an out-of-office notification, a calendar notice, or an announcement during a meeting (or all three), tell everyone you'll be away. Work out a detailed plan of action with your manager and coworkers that covers who's to take care of what when you're gone. Remember, if you truly want to unplug it's best not to leave your cell number (in case of emergencies.)
- Don't pack the laptop. Leave your laptop home and try to get by with just your phone and tablet. This way, you'll think twice about doing any "heavy lifting" while enjoying your vacation. If you absolutely can't leave it home, try disabling Wi-Fi and limiting the amount of time you use it.
- Give your phone email a break. Remove temptation by adjusting your settings so emails don't come in automatically. It's easier to unplug if your phone isn't constantly buzzing with work updates. Plus, those interruptions have a way of creating a false sense of urgency when, most of the time, the dilemma works itself out.
- Skip the inbox and go face to face. When you return from vacation, sorting through the deluge of emails in your inbox might not be the best use of your time. Instead, check in with colleagues in person. This will help gauge the urgency of various situations and make it easier to prioritize tasks.
On vacation, just because you can access the office with a touch of a button doesn't mean you should. Take time to plan ahead, consciously disconnect from the office while away, and be strategic during your first days back so that you don't get overwhelmed. After all, vacation is a break—and you deserve it.