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Checking e-mail on vacation -- a do or don't?

One of the most difficult work/life balance issues is whether to check e-mail on vacation. Some workers say not checking e-mail is stressful. Others find checking e-mail puts them back into the work frame of mind instead of the vacation frame of mind.

The reality is before e-mail, people relaxed more. As I get ready to leave on vacation, this time I'm going to take my cellphone with e-mail access. But, I've decided to make a rule for myself -- one check in mid-week, just to clear out my box.

The pros of checking in: Many people loathe returning from a nice, relaxing vacation only to be inundated with a million e-mails

Some suggestions: Resist the temptation to check your e-mail during a hike or in a line at Disney Word. Leave your gadget in the hotel when you go out. If you need a phone, ask to use your traveling partner's. If you both need your phones--well, are you sure you're really enjoying this vacation?

Here's a dose of reality from John Martin of PC World: Everyone deserves at least one week off a year from all responsibilities, or at least from as many as possible. But how can you accomplish this if you're continuing to check e-mail? The truth is, you can't. Each message you read, asking your opinion on this or your help on that, requires you to mentally break away from your vacation and focus on something back home.

Will you be checking your e-mail on vacation this year? Does it stress you out not to check your e-mail? Have you set any rules for yourself?

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Comments

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Dave Doran

I have to confess as promising myself (and my wife) that I will not be checking my email whilst on vacation but unfortunately always do. But next year I wont...I promise!

Ishani Mitra

Vacations are meant to be blissful and we should avoid everything realated to work. A good idea is to outsource necessary work for the period and enjoy it to the fullest.

Cindy

Outsourcing is a good idea. It's crazy how hard it is to relax these days.

Executive Suburbanite

I need to check my email once a day, or else the account shuts down and I miss out on important stuff. That in itself is stressful. But, I have to really watch not to let myself go overboard and sneak checking the BlackBerry when my family isn't looking.

Rob

I started leaving my laptop home in the early 90s, then got rid of it altogether. Traveling to far away places makes it seem even more ridiculous to be checking on mundane items. Americans have a reputation for believing such things are "important." It is a pain to go through hundreds of emails after being gone a week, but that's the biggest downside of going off the grid and getting back to being a human on earth. When traveling to islands in the Caribbean, or more so in the remote South Pacific, let your friends and associates know that you'll be out of touch for a while. They'll probably say you deserve it.

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