Updated: Aug 15, 2019
I recently took my first 'real' vacation since becoming a lawyer and it was amazing! Oh, I've travelled before but never really disconnected from the office. I've always kept my phone handy, answered quick emails, and generally monitored work (ostensibly to stay on top of things and minimize the stress of re-entry but we all know it's because I 'knew' chaos would ensue the minute I left the building!). I know I'm not alone either - taking a proper vacation isn't something we as lawyers do particularly well and it comes at the expense of our health, happiness, and overall productivity.
I won't bore you with all the statistics and studies that extol the virtues of taking an actual vacation and the positive impacts on your health and overall work performance - you know all that! But short of leaving our phones behind (eek!) how can we easily disconnect from the office?
Whatever you do, don't use willpower!!
Trying to ignore the siren call of that red notification icon screaming 'emails! emails! there are emails to be read!!!' will last exactly 0.03 seconds. Instead, create barriers to accessing your email. Make it a complete pain in the a** to access your email on your phone. If deleting your work email account from your phone is too drastic, simply disable your mail on your phone (instructions for iphone can be found here - Android users only have the option of deleting the account) Alternatively, change your email settings so that data is only fetched manually. Then move your mail icon to a different page or bury it in another folder so you're not tempted to open it all the time.
If necessary, set aside some time each day to pull out your laptop and check in. Using a laptop is not as convenient so it creates yet another barrier. Trust me, you'll come back ready handle whatever chaos has ensued. You can thank me later!