Reducing the vacation email overload is one reason why many business people refuse to switch off during their holiday. Nonetheless, all the research indicates that switching off from business email when on vacation improves your productivity and well-being.There are many ways to reduce and manage the vacation email overload. This is a topic we have written about on several occasions. Here are five top tips for 2019.
Before you go
1) Go for inbox zero before you go on vacation. Make time the week before your vacation to create a clean inbox. Sort by person/project etc then use conversation mode to batch together all the email threads. Flag any which need your attention on your return. Then either delete the ones you really don’t need or move them out to a folder. Alternatively archive the lot (if you don’t have an automatic archiving system).
2) Treat your inbox as an information highway. Only let the really important emails into your inbox. As you clean the inbox, note the low priority emails you really do not need. Write rules to automatically folder them as they arrive (eg newsletters, cc’d emails, Out of Office messages etc.). Thus, keeping them out of the fast lane going directly into your inbox. Click here if you need help writing rules.
3) Set a simple clear Out of Message. Give the minimum of information to preying eyes (either cyber criminals or the competition). Just say you are out of the office with limited access to your email. Provide a point of contact for any urgent matters (having checked that the person is both available and happy to buddy up for you).
Set the OOO for one day before you go and two after your return. This gives you time to clear up and catch up and look supper efficient on your return!
On your return
4) Triage the inbox to identify the really important emails. Again, sort by person/project and use the conversation view to group the threads. Deal with the important emails which need your attention. Use the Pomodoro technique to deal with these in batches.
Accept that not all emails either need or warrant a reply. Once you’ve dealt with the essential ones, move the rest out into a holding (pending) folder. Check these at your leisure during the week. Then be ruthless, delete all the other emails which you do not need (eg conversations, cc’d emails). If they are important the sender will soon re-email you.
5) Create templates of text and automation reply quickly. If you find several emails need similar words in the reply (eg a holding response) create templates of text to help you save time retyping the same text. Click here to see how to use Quick Parts in Outlook. For Outlook users create a Quick Step for emails which need a repeat action, eg sending invoice to finance.
If you find these tips useful don’t forget there are many more like this on the Mesmo Consultancy Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Why not join us on or both one of these social media platforms. Also, there is Mesmo Consultancy’s Smart Email Management Workshop. Either click here or call us for more information.
Managing the vacation email overload possess the perennial dilemma of whether or to put your inbox on vacation too. This article looks at how to reduce the vacation email overload. it reviews the pros and cons and of having an inbox vacation. It looks at ways to manage the post vacation email overload. For example, how to pack your inbox properly so that you don’t drown in an email tsunami on your return. It shows you how to have a really email free vacation, setting a safe Out of Office Message what to do if you feel you really must log-in whilst away.
Published in Executive Secretary Magazine March 2017
It’s that time of year, many of us are either on or planning a vacation. The perpetual question is whether or not to have an email free vacation.
We found that 80% said that dealing with the holiday email overload is one of the most stressful aspects of having a vacation. More stressful even than loosing your passport. Hence why they did not dare have an email detox. As stress and mental health rises up the corporate agenda, the reasons for disconnecting are ever more pressing to preserve our well-being.
Organisations have adopted many ways to lessen the holiday email overload effect from an ‘Out of Office’ messages asking you to re-send the email when the other person is back to adopting an email free vacation charter. But what if your company has no such policy? Here are the top ten actions you can take by yourself to have an email free vacation and reduce the holiday email overload mountain.
Pack the inbox properly
The email free vacation
Unpack the inbox on your return
Do you have any tips to share about dealing with the email free vacation challenge? There is a free copy of either Brilliant Email or Taking Control of Your Inbox for the best response. Email us your suggestions by 10 August.
About to take a few days out of the office? Here are give top tips to avoid coming back to a chronic attack of business email overload.
You should just be left with emails needing attention on your return. You could be bold and move these too into a folder ‘awaiting action’. Now you have an empty inbox. How does that feel? To keep the inbox clean and de-cluttered see item 4.
Now go off and relax safe in the knowledge that you have taken adequate precautions to reduce a chronic attack of business email overload.
Not surprisingly most articles which have caught our attention relate to the challenge of whether or not to disconnect whilst on holiday. Here are a few which should give you food for thought about why and how to go for an email detox and disconnect.
And just in case you are careless with your Out of Office message.
So before you take your vacation, be sure to set a safe and simple Out of Office message which discloses as little information as possible. Then switch off and have a proper break to re-charge the batteries.