2 Things I Did to Make Post-Vacation Work Email Not Terrible

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This is an older video I filmed back in June… and am just now getting around to posting it! In this video, I note a few things I’ve changed up for managing email over vacation so you avoid the dreaded “re-entry day of email” horror.  As always, enjoy the transcript below if you want to skip the video.


Video Transcript

Hey, Kirk here. So, I was just on vacation. One of the reasons I’m doing this video is because I haven’t done a video in a very long time. That has less to do with you actually wanting me to do a video, and more with me kind of feeling guilty because I wanted to keep doing LinkedIn videos. On the other hand, I don’t feel too guilty because I actually was trying to make this vacation be somewhat of a rest time.

So I’m actually procrastinating right now from email. So that’s what I’m going to talk about.

Basically your email inbox after a vacation can be horrifically, terribly awful, right?

So, a few things that I’ve learned and that I’m still learning and that probably I’m not doing well (so if you have ideas, definitely please share them in the comments below this video or on Twitter).


THING 1 – Cautiously keep up on your work email inbox
One of the things I’ve learned about vacations and emails is it is worth it to cautiously keep up on emails. This is me personally, but I actually like to not check-out completely. Admittedly that requires some level of self-discipline, because I don’t want to check out completely but I need to guard against getting sucked into work.

What I’ve been able to do is to keep up on things and keep my inbox clean, as well as deal with any emergencies that come up, but to make sure that I’m not responding to things that really don’t have to be.

That probably looks like beforehand getting an idea in your mind of what actually is a priority and what’s not.

Someone saying, “Hey, I have this question for you. Do you mind answering it real quick?”, that’s not a priority.

A client maybe getting ready to leave because they’re upset about something, that might be a priority . It’s kind of your call.

But what I found is on this day getting back from basically a two week vacation where I was kind of in and out, I was still doing some work. What I found is that I am not remotely, horrifically overwhelmed with email. I think that’s because I was able and willing to do certain things periodically at specific points during the vacation.

During the vacation, I actually would get done with an hour of work here or there, and I was actually able to then enjoy my vacation even more because I got rid of that looming sense of dread that was in my brain of like, “What if something is blowing up and going wrong?” I knew it wasn’t, because I had just verified it wasn’t, I actually was able to enjoy vacation more. That might not be the way you’re wired, that’s fine. That is how it was for me.


THING 2 – Create a buffer day post-vacation to sift through remaining work email
Then the second thing that I did well this time that I’ve not done well in the past, was I created a buffer day.

Basically, I cleared my schedule the day after I got back in-office and kept my out-of-office reminder running, but I made sure that nothing was scheduled. So aside from checking in with my team in a meeting, I have no client meetings, I have no new prospect meetings, I have nothing on my task list other than making sure that basically I’m getting my head back in the game. That has been amazing and has worked wonders as well!

So really, I’m coming off of a two week vacation and not stressed out with my inbox.  I wasn’t totally on vacation, but it was probably one of the longest vacations I’ve taken in a few years where I did feel the liberty to check out and I’m finding that I’m not horrifically overwhelmed with email because of those two things.


So hopefully that will help you.

If you have some tips or some ideas along that line, please share them as well on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Help us all figure this out, because this is definitely something that lots of people go through. All right, thanks and have a great one!