Device-free Days Off: 3 Tips for Powering Down

by Vault Careers | July 03, 2012

How many hours a week do you work?

Chances are, about 7 more than you think you do.

According to a new study by Good Technology, Americans are working almost a full extra day per week—by answering phone calls and emails from home, and (shudder) vacation.

With a precious holiday coming up in the middle of a work week (Happy 4th!), it may be unrealistic to encourage everyone to go cold turkey on work correspondence.

But there are ways you can get control over your iphone—and even use it to your advantage for optimal downtime.

1. Taper your usage

There's a theory about the one week vacation: that the first three days of vacation are spent desperately trying to unwind, the middle two are relaxing, and the final two are spent dreading the return to work.

That's sort of a raw deal, especially if your time off is only one day.

Know thyself. If you're used to constant connectivity, immediately shutting off your device is probably going to be more stressful than it's worth: you'll just obsess over what you're missing, and squander time with family and friends by fretting over Something Important That You're Not Reading (!!!).

Is that you? Take the two seconds to check your work emails, and put your device back in the car. Just be disciplined about it: limit the number of checks per day, or do it in time intervals (checking every three hours, for instance). That should keep your worry brain in check, without driving everyone nuts.

2. Flag it—and forget it

Get an email that demands an answer? If you have one off the top of your head, shoot off a quick reply, but politely remind your contact that you're away from the office.  They should get the message.

If task isn't urgent, but it is important, flag it for follow up when you're back on the clock. If you're the type to worry a lot about how you'll handle something, just knowing that you've designated it for later will give you permission to forget it. And a physical reminder will assure that you actually will get to it, which of course is important too.

3. Know your real reasons for checking

Sometimes it's not really concern for work matters that drives us, but that little shot of dopamine we get from seeing a new message in our inbox. Ah, we are indispensible. Knew it!

It's a great feeling to be needed, but if you're going to be at your best for those that rely on you, you need to recharge. Set aside your work self, and the needs of the office. Those can wait until after the barbeque. Instead, soak up sun, fun, and family for your personal self. Your relaxed, tanned, and well-fed work persona will thank you.

--Cathy Vandewater, Vault.com

Read More:
Good Technology Survey Reveals Americans are Working More, but on their Own Schedule (Good)
10 Ways To Get More From Your Summer Fridays
Are You Leaving Vacation Days on the Table? Don't!

Filed Under: Workplace Issues


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