An experiment in disabling email when on holiday

Taking a vacation in a place where there is no internet access is becoming increasingly difficult (and unwanted) and this sort “digital detox by force” is pretty impossible.  Internet access is everywhere these days and why wouldn’t you want to be able to watch Netflix while on holiday or be able to share photos of your holiday with friends and family on Facebook?  But the problem is with disconnecting from work completely without disconnecting from the internet.. and allowing yourself to have some valuable downtime.

Like most people, I have my work email enabled on my iPhone, my iPad and my personal laptop.  In the past, I would quite often be on vacation and spend most of every morning and late afternoon reading and responding to emails.  During a couple of holidays in recent years I have had to deal with employee disputes, contract negotiations and have even taken part in conference calls.  It was more like “working from home” where “home” just happened to be a hotel room or vacation rental somewhere.

Last October, I tried something different.  I deleted my work email account from all of my devices – including my laptop.  I was only away for a week and so it was worth a try.  And you know what?  It was blissful.  I love my company and everyone I work with but they don’t need me to be checking emails every day.. I am available by phone for true emergencies and so deleting my email accounts (albeit temporarily) was more about stopping me than blocking them.

Right now I am at the end of another week off and have tried it again.. and yep, this is definitely the way forward with all vacations in the future.

Removing your email accounts on an iPhone, iPad and from a Mac is dead easy and hurts nothing.  When I add them back tomorrow morning (yes, I am waiting until Monday morning), it will take only a few minutes.

So, the next time you take a vacation – delete your work email account from your phone and every other device you take with you.  Go cold turkey. You are not deleting your actual email account, it still exists.. you are just disabling it from your devices and preventing yourself from falling into the habit of checking your emails and getting involved with work when you are meant to be relaxing.  Just do it, it works for me and I am sure it will work for you too.