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Summer is here and for a lot of us that means taking a well-deserved break to recharge our batteries! However in this hyper-connected 24/7 world, getting away and more importantly staying away can be quite a challenge. The best way to unwind is to unplug from all the devices we’re attached to and embrace the world around us.

Last month we provided 5 tips for things to do before you go on vacation. Here are five more tips to ensure an unplugged and refreshing vacation:

1. Use your out of office message and really be out of office

Before you head out the door, set up your email with an out of office message. In your message, specify that you will have no access to email or voicemail for the entire period of time. Critically, enforce that rule upon yourself. If necessary, include the contact information for someone who can cover for you for any ‘real’ emergency that might happen during your absence. Most people will respect your vacation, as everyone needs time off to rest and recharge.

2.  Log out of social media

Part of the information overload we experience is contributed by the absolute non-stop information barrage of social media. Since social media isn’t any longer just a way to stay connected with friends and family, it is now just as often used as a tool for work. Constantly checking social media may prevent you from disconnecting from the workplace. If you want to be ‘completely present’ on your vacation, the best thing to do is to just log out until back from vacation. At minimum, consider staying away from work related social media accounts or turn off notifications.

3. Go ‘old school’ and read print books or magazines

We all love our phones and tablets, but using them to read creates the temptation to surf and log into work. Try to remove that temptation by reading paperbacks and magazines during your vacation. As a bonus, reading (non-work related material) is a great tool for recharging your batteries.

4. Limit screen time to the bare minimum

If you aren’t able to be completely unplugged from work, then make sure that you only allot yourself a limited amount of time to check email each day. Be strict with your time (say 15 minutes), and only check once or twice a day perhaps in the morning and again in the afternoon. Only respond to emails that have to be answered immediately. The rest can and should wait your return.

A good idea is to disable any work-related notifications on your phone and computer for the length of your vacation. On an Apple device you can disable notifications on an app-by-app basis or by using the “do not disturb” function. Android users can turn off notifications for individual apps or download an app that lets them turn off notifications globally.

5. Consider going someplace without service

If all else fails, go to a location with no cell service or internet connection. A location without service means you avoid temptation. For example, go camping or rent a cottage in a more remote area. Another possibility is taking a cruise, since there is almost no cellular service at sea, and usually only very slow internet connections. 

Completely unplugging from work will benefit you and your employer. You will be refreshed and once again ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities that come your way.

Bonus Tip: Keep the out-of-office message on just a little bit longer

Since you’ve created an out-of-office message for your vacation, keep it on for an extra day or two. That extra day or so gives you the time to sort through things that came up while you were gone. This will help you get back up to speed before any new obligations are introduced.


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This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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