Off Email For the First Time Since 1994

Just reading the title that I just typed is really unbelievable, but in hindsight it’s true.

I’m not good at taking time off.  Part of it is that I love what I have done professionally, but a lot of it are my issues.  Vacations are not a natural act for me.

That being said, even when I have taken vacations, I’ve always been under the impression that the re-entry to email would be worse than staying in touch.  My behavior has been to take a day or two off from email, but then to check in to make sure the email queue didn’t grow too large.   

Inspired by my partner Seth who recently went "off grid" and teased by the rest of my partners, I decided to take a week off email recently. 

It wasn’t easy at first.  What I realized is that I probably suffer from a mild addiction to working my email queue down to near zero every day.  When my mind would settle, my instinct was to check email.  And I was in Mexico, so it wasn’t like I was sitting in snow-bound Boulder with nothing to do. 

After about 4 days, however, this changed.  I broke the cycle and was enjoying y time away from email so much that I’ve know decided that there is no other way to take a vacation.

When asked how long it had been since I’d been off email for a week, I spent a bit and realized that it had been 1994.  Egads. 

So I’d suggest that if you are like me and can’t be off your email for more than 48 hours without feeling your heart rate kick up a notch or two – fight the feeling and get over the hump.  I hadn’t realized that my vacations really weren’t vacations until very recently.  It’s all the difference in the world.

  • Dave

    Jason–good for you. I have a serious email habit that someday soon I will try to break and my vacations often are not vacations. You planted another seed that I need to figure out how to take a break…


  • mark

    could not agree more. Two years ago, my wife wisked me away to Mexico for 5 days for a surprise 40th birthday trip. I literally had 4 hours notice and it focused me to turn everything over the other people (my wife had collaborated with my business partners ahead of time so they had were prepared and my assistant had kept everyone away from my schedule for the week). Once I did that, I got on the plane and felt like everything was being handled.

    After two days, I was really having the urge to take a quick look as I could feel the email backlog growing but fought threw it and the urge passed and I was able to forget about it.

    Before we left Mexico, I logged in a downloaded all my email so I could start working on it on the flight but as I sat in the airport, I really did not want to. It was Friday so I knew I would have two days at home to catch up so I called my partner and asked if there was anything on fire that I needed to look at and was told he would see me Monday and he hung up.

    Needless to say, it was eye opening. I spent the weekend leasurly catching up on things and hit the ground running hard Monday morning.

    I have become a big believer in my wife and I getting away for a week every year just the two of us (no grid, no kids) and every few months having a weekend completely off the grid either while traveling for a long weekend or just at home.

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