The email peek-a-boo

I was away camping in Joshua Tree recently and it took everything I had not to check email while I was away. We’ve all done it; we set the vacation message saying that we’ll be back Tuesday and then we get into our trip. But not too long after, we start looking at email on our phones just to see what’s transpiring while we are away. The unspoken truth: It’s not like we are going to be able to do anything about those emails anyway. SHUT OFF THE PHONE.

What I realized on my recent trip is that I probably check email for my own benefit as much as for the sender’s. Sure, we want to respond and help those that have sent over requests while we’re away, but I also think we get some sort of hit off it all. Some sort of sick endorphin rush from the fact that someone actually needs something from us – a response, an idea – and they need it right now on the day we told everyone we would be away. The truth that I learned on this trip: “IT CAN WAIT!” The world does not come to an end while you’re away for a couple days; people figure things out or they just wait.

On the road back to OC, I told myself that I’m not going to check email on my phone; I’m not going to check it when I get home. Instead, I’m going to unplug, play with my kids, go for a bike ride with the family and check it tomorrow morning when I’m back in the office and can actually do something about it. The result? Absolute clarity and I’m recharged from a couple days away.

So, quit playing peek-a-boo with your email. Don’t read the first few lines on vacation only to then wait until you get back and draft a response. Take a couple days without looking at it. Trust me; the world won’t end.

One Response to “The email peek-a-boo”

  • Well put, Luke. I think it’s getting increasingly impossible for people to unplug for fear everything will completely fall apart around them. It’s a condition self-imposed in a 24/7 world. It could also be the strong work ethic most of us have (we’re known for in in Minnesota) that we feel we must always ”be on.” I don’t know what will change this, other that setting an example. I for one, am an oddity, I don’t own a cell phone and guess what — my world spins pretty comfortably. I’ve never had a client complain that they can’t get in touch with me. Nor have I lost business. As a rule, the computer is off limits on weekends unless I’m on a tight deadline.