For many the most stressful aspect of taking a proper vacation is the horror of returning to hundreds even thousands of unread emails. That is one reason many executives tell me they check their emails constantly whilst on holiday. Indeed it was interesting to read how several top executives will be spending their time away from the office. At least half said they will stay in touch. The others decided to switch off completely. A wise decision.
Now that we play with our smart phones and associated devices more than we sleep it seems to me that this might be one reason many are in desperate need of recharging their batteries properly. Yes, we all know that Baroness Thatcher survived on about five hours sleep at night. But, and it's a big but, she was a fairly unique person and had a huge support mechanisms. She did not have to worry about shopping, child care, the washing and all those mundane chores in between doing a demanding day job.
So what if you come back to a mega attack of holiday email overload? What are your options? On the one hand you can diligently plough through the email backlog. We previously logged a seven step plan to help you save time and which many have found very helpful. The alternative is to declare email bankruptcy, delete the lot and wait for someone to re-contact you about anything either urgent or important. Would this be such a radical move? Probably not, given that Mesmo Consultancy's research shows that at least just under half (46%) of the emails we receive are unnecessary. During the holiday period you can be sure that of the remaining half, at least half are past their sell-by date and about a quarter will be cc'd emails with long threads which you will read and be non the wiser.
So if you cannot stomach dealing with the holiday email overload backlog why not be bold and delete the lot. Tell colleagues that you have declared email bankruptcy and to re-send anything they think you should see. That is what many even put in their Out of Office message. The result is just a few important emails and an otherwise empty inbox. More crucially you remain chillaxed on vacation and return ready to do some real productive work after your break.