Dave Hultin / August 30th, 2022
About seven years ago, I shared a tip about one way I stay in vacation mode when I’m on vacation.
It’s important to me to honor my family by not letting my attention drift back to work. Knowing that “checking my email just for a few moments” is a surefire way to get sucked back into work, I established a safeguard.
I asked Rachel to read my email for me. That’s why I wrote about how Rachel, the Human Auto-Responder, Reads My Email at that time. And there’s the big, bold headline: I Don’t Like Auto-Responders
It’s funny how time can change one’s perspective because today, I’m going to share a different tip on preventing emails from sucking you out of vacation and back into work.
And guess what, this tip requires autoresponders!!!
So what changed? Rachel changed! She’s no longer in a position to read all my emails. As the Director of Marketing at Marketing Ideas For Printers, her day simply doesn’t allow her the time required to be my email babysitter.
In that same post, I said,
I understand that not everyone has the luxury of having someone like Rachel available to respond to emails.
Well, guess what? I no longer have the luxury of having Rachel respond to emails, so keeping my mind on vacation involved a different approach.
This year my vacation email avoidance strategy was modeled after a tip from Michael Hyatt in his blog post, How to Unplug While You Are on Vacation.
This year during my vacation, anyone sending an email to me received this one-time auto-responder before their email was deleted from my inbox:
Hello, and thanks for your email. I am out of the office until August 11th with my family on vacation. During this time I will not be checking this email account—at all.
If you have something urgent requiring immediate attention, please contact [email address].
This ONE-TIME auto-responder is being sent to you to let you know that all messages sent to this account will be auto-deleted as they arrive. Why?
1) So I don’t return to an inbox full of messages that have already been resolved.
2) So I am not tempted to check email while I am gone. 😉
If for some reason your issue is not resolved before I return, please re-send your message to me after August 11th.
It worked! I was able to keep my mind off work and on vacation!
And guess what, a really bizarre emergency requiring my team to interrupt my vacation did pop up, but I heard about it in a very thoughtful manner from my team, so I was able to assist with the emergency and then return (unscathed!) to my vacation!
The people who are sending emails to you aren’t on vacation with you. They can wait until you return or get help from others on your team in your absence.
Whether you prefer to use a human auto-responder like a previous version of Rachel or an automated reply email similar to the one shown above, I hope these out-of-the-office email tips will lead to happy vacations you can enjoy with those you love.