Unplug & recharge: Vacation tips for the technology addict

Posted by Amanda Augustine

December 17, 2013 @ 10:20 AM

Unwind during your time off with a tech detox.

Skippy_Vacation_SunglassesHello, my name is Amanda and I suffer from SSA: Smartphone Separation Anxiety.

Okay, maybe I made that term up. But even when the Blackberry first came out, people referred to them as “crackberries” because they were so addictive. As the technology has evolved, the addictive nature of these devices increased as well. Now instead of just a smartphone, we also have feather-light laptops and tablets vying for our attention when we’re away from our desks.

If you’re like me and suffer from SSA, then you know how difficult it can be to put your devices down when you’re away from the office. In fact, a survey by CareerBuilder found that 30 percent of workers planned to contact the office while on vacation. Here are three tips to help you unplug from your electronics, enjoy your time off and truly relax.

Tie up loose ends

Start preparing for your time off well in advance. Communicate your vacation plans to your team at least two weeks prior to your departure date so they can plan accordingly. Identify and train, if necessary, a point person for any major projects or weekly activities which need to be covered in your absence. Set up your out-of-office messages for your phone and email, detailing a point person for inquiries, and articulating communication expectations.

Open one window

If it’s absolutely necessary, choose one specific window of time each day to check in, taking time zones into consideration. Define which issues should be considered “urgent” with your colleagues and ask them to flag those emails with a specific subject line. This way you can quickly skim your inbox and identify which emails require your attention immediately. If you think of an idea or something you want to address after your time off when you’re back in the office, write it down in a notepad or on your smart device. Document the item and quickly return to your vacation.

Lock it up

If you have a work-issued phone, turn it off and leave it at home or in your hotel safe. Unless you’re in the middle of an important project, there’s little reason to carry the phone around all day. If your personal phone is used for work purposes, change the settings so you won’t receive work emails or simply set it to airplane mode. If you can’t see the emails coming in, you’re less likely to jump back into work mode.

If you take these steps to unplug during your time off, you’re sure to reap the benefits of being fully recharged and more productive when you return to work. Click on the following links to learn more about setting boundaries with your smart devices.

Looking for a job or preparing for salary negotiations? Download TheLadders’ free iPhone app to review job matches and use TheLadders Scout, our competitive analysis tool. Look for the Android version of our app in January 2014.

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Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.

Topics: Ask Amanda, Work-Life Balance, Workplace