It’s almost time for some much-needed vacation in a (hopefully!) sunny spot. For many, the job never really takes a break, even if you do. Clients still need help, projects need to be completed, and the emails just keep coming in.

Just because you can’t completely disconnect from work doesn’t mean your vacation has to suffer. Taking time off, even if it’s just a “staycation,” is crucial for maintaining balance in life.

Here are our 5 tips to manage your inbox without ruining your vacation:

Prepare Your Team Before Vacation

Set up routines and expectations so your team knows what to do. Have them write down possible scenarios where they might need to contact you and give them clear instructions on how to handle these. Prepare manuals if necessary or record a video with Loom.

Use Auto-Reply

Set up an auto-reply that says you’re on vacation and won’t be checking emails (even if you plan to!). It’s always better to lower expectations on response time and then exceed them! Provide an alternate contact if needed. Example:

“Thank you for your email. I’m on a much-needed vacation and will be checking emails sporadically. I’ll be back on [date]. For urgent matters, please contact [alternate contact] at [phone number/email].”

Schedule Email Times

If you have to check emails, set fixed times for it. For example, once in the morning and once in the evening. Remove work email from your phone to avoid mindlessly checking throughout the day and only do it on a computer where you can focus and respond within 15 minutes. By mentally preparing to only check emails at these times, you can enjoy your vacation more.

Delegate as Much as Possible

When you check your emails, delegate as much as you can. Let your team handle what they can on their own.

Use Auto-Reply When You’re Back

Keep your auto-reply active for a few days after your vacation to catch up. Adjust the message to let people know you’re back but might take a little longer to respond. Example:

“Thank you for your email. I’m just back from a fantastic vacation but may take longer than usual to reply to all emails in my inbox. Thank you for your patience.”

Enjoy your vacation and don’t forget to take a few days to completely disconnect from all work-related activities!


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