Dec 15, 2015

3 Ways to Avoid an Email Disaster at the End of the Holidays

3 Ways to Avoid an Email Disaster at the End of the Holidays

Holidays are meant for relaxing and spending quality time with friends and family. We have however become a generation of workers who are too afraid to disconnect from work even for a week or so of downtime. A Harris Interactive study conducted on behalf of the American Psychological Association found that,

- 44% of workers checked their email over a vacation

- 53% checked their email at least once a day over a weekend

- 54% checked their email even when they were home, sick

So why this obsessive relationship with our inboxes? Here is the ugly truth: Most of us are afraid that losing sight of our emails during a vacation, will mean coming back to a mutated inbox that will undo all the de-stressing that you did over the holidays, in the first few minutes itself!

Here are 3 ways you can protect yourself from the far-reaching tentacles of your email:

  1. Stop sending emails at least 3 days before you leave on vacation
    It’s natural to want to clean your plate before you leave for the holidays. But remember that if you fire off a long list of emails just before you leave, there is a good chance you’ll get a long list of replies during your vacation time too. So unless you want to spend the holidays responding to these replies, stick to sending out only critical messages or emergency contact information for the last 3 days before you leave on vacation.
  2. Leave an appropriate auto-response email
    Your out-of-office email informs those trying to reach you when you left on vacation and when you’ll be back? That doesn’t cover all your bases. If you don’t want to return to an overflowing mailbox, let people know that you will not be checking your email during this time and to please reach out to your colleagues if the matter is urgent. Also, it might help to request those with important messages to email you again once you return.
  3. Set up a separate account for only urgent messages
    Worried that you may miss an important email from your boss or an important client while you are away? Instead of wading through the clutter in your work mailbox every day to check, simply set up a mail rule that will forward any of these critical messages to a separate vacation account that you can check at intervals. Or even better, set up a text-messaging notification that will let you know when a critical email arrives at this account. Then forget about your email and enjoy your holiday!

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