Can I Live Without Email? Stay Tuned……

Today is my first day of vacation — I am off for the next 12 days. For the first time in memory (and it might well be the first time ever), I have decided to try to avoid looking at my work email while I’m off (with the caveat that I may have to send a couple of messages after a meeting on Thursday before I leave town. And yes, I am having a work-related meeting on my day off. That’s a separate issue that probably should be addressed). At any rate, my friends and colleagues are skeptical as you can see from this Facebook thread:

So far, I’ve lasted close to 14 hours, not having looked at my email since I left the office around 5 p.m. yesterday. We’ll see how it goes.

If you follow this or the Student Affairs Women Talk Tech blog, you may well be wondering why I am doing this, as I’ve made no secret of the fact that I generally don’t do tech breaks (see here and here, for example). This year, though, I felt like trying something different as the memory of being ticked off last year by an annoying email resurfaced while getting ready to take off again. So, here’s what I said I would do:

Can I do it? I’m honestly not sure, but as I said on Facebook, if I could manage to quit smoking forever (as of 2005), surely I can quit email for a week. What I’m most dreading is coming home to who-knows-how-many messages in the inbox, but I imagine I can probably handle that.

Oh, and I should also note that this is by no means a tech-free vacation. I will have my iPhone, iPad, and Kindle with me (and possibly laptop — I haven’t decided on that yet. The only reason to take it would be for photo processing, which I could do when I get home) — and will be keeping up with friends and posting about our vacation via Facebook and Twitter (I have, however, disabled the work email on both my iPhone and iPad. Yes I could turn it back on fairly easily, but that’s a little more work than just hitting the mail app icon). If someone really needs to get in touch with me, they will be able to. I’m just trying to wean myself a bit from the email tether. Finally, one more thing — I always say that I don’t mind (and in fact, prefer) being connected all the time, but how would I really know when I’ve never tried not being connected? The closest I’ve come is when traveling in places where access wasn’t great, but even then there was usually a computer to be found somewhere at some point — and that was pre-iPhone days, making it impossible to check in if no computer was around. What I want to know and can only learn by doing this is what it’s actually like to really just forget about work for a week or so. I don’t know that I can do it — and I’m not entirely sure that I will like it, but I want to try.

What about you? Do you turn off completely when you’re away? Or check in now and again? Why?

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