Thursday, July 07, 2011

When email and vacation don't mix

I'm off on vacation soon for a couple of weeks. Going to Canada to visit my wife's parents. They live in the back-of-beyond, which is great for getting away from it all. As usual I've promised my wife I won't be taking my work laptop with me, which means that I won't have access to our VPN and hence no access to work email. In the past this used to bother me, because I always want to know what's going on in case there are problems at work. But it's obviously not conducive to a relaxing time.

Now I know some people who go on vacation and can read work email do read work email just to keep the amount of catch up they have to do when they return to a minimum. I expect that after a couple of weeks vacation I'll have several thousand emails to go through, so I can understand what they're doing. However, it won't work for me: I tried it a few times and I just can't help responding to emails if I see them! So what started as a 60 minute attempt during a vacation to cut down on the junk in my inbox ended up several hours later with me only about 10% of the way through. So I don't do that any more and I just take the hit when I get back.

However, I did figure out a compromise (pretty obvious really): I have a backup email address that is accessible off our VPN and which only certain people know about. They know they can get me on this at pretty much any time of the day or night. So if something comes up while I'm away this year, I can find out about it. Of course this has a slight downside in that I know immediately that any emails on that address are probably emergencies! Well, you can't win them all I suppose!

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