On Monday I leave for a two-week vacation outside of Canada.
I haven’t had two weeks off for ages and am really looking forward to the break. The way technology helps (and hinders) us these days; we rarely get a day off let alone 2 weeks.
Where I am going I won’t have access to a computer and therefore can’t do any in-depth work, but there will definitely be WIFI and I will have my phone.
So the question is…to check or not to check emails.
There are definitely two schools of thought on this. On the one hand you hear wellness experts tell us that we must have time where we turn off and tune out. The theory is that we are so “connected” in this world many of us are reachable at every moment of the day either via Internet, PDA, cell phone, home and work phones. Being reachable is a source of stress in that it is not allowing us to relax, decompress or get away from the rest of the world.
However, in my mind this kind of broad statement assumes that we all suffer stress from the same source. That being constantly connected is stressful to everyone. We have a new generation of children (recently named Generation Z) who were raised on technology. Their norm is to have easy access to information and people at all times. Try telling my fourteen-year-old daughter that she can’t access her phone for a day and then you will see stress! For many people, being without the connection is far more stressful than having it on.
In my opinion the important message is that we all need to understand what causes us stress and then put actions in place to help minimize it. Personally I am an in-between person. I do need the peace and quiet of no dinging, buzzing or ringing. However, I feel very anxious if I am not aware of what is going on in my professional life. Not checking my email for two weeks would cause me a great deal of stress wondering about what I am coming back to. A lot more stress than having the phone with me.
So for this wonderful two week of vacation I will be moderate in my checking. Yes I bought a cell plan and intend to check my emails once a day. But I won’t be obsessive about it. And if you send me an email you will get the out of office note saying that I will answer your message upon my return.
Bon voyage and enjoy the rest of your summer!