Dave Kerpen | Use Your Phone to Maximize Both Vacation Time & Business
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Use Your Phone to Maximize Both Vacation Time & Business

Use Your Phone to Maximize Both Vacation Time & Business

August is vacation time!

That’s fun and great, but we all know in today’s day and age it’s nearly impossible to completely shut off work. I mean, if you want to use your phone for anything while on vacation, (like taking pictures!) how can you escape email and notifications and work interruptions galore?

It’s a challenge, to say the least. So to answer this challenge, I asked successful young leaders from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs, for their thoughts. This is what they shared:

1. Turn Off Email Alerts

Phones can be a great way to accomplish an important item on the road. But if you are constantly connected with work, you won’t mentally relax. I recommend turning off any work email alerts on your phone while you’re on vacation so that you only see your business email if you specifically decide to go check for something important. – Elizabeth Saunders, Founder & CEO, Real Life E®

2. Stay in the Loop but Don’t Respond

When on vacation, it’s important to eliminate as much work-related stress as possible. You’re there to relax and clinging to work makes recharging difficult. I check my email three times a day to stay in the loop, but I don’t respond to anything unless it’s a dire emergency. Most of my vacations have been emergency-free, letting me unwind so I can come back refreshed and reinvigorated. – Vladimir Gendelman, Founder and CEO, Company Folders, Inc

3. Check in With a Limited Number of People

Preparation prior to vacation is key. Delegate higher-level functions/decisions to key members of your team, and take a small amount of time before bed (or before breakfast) to check in. Everyone is different. Some people can not pull themselves away from their email under any circumstances. – David Ehrenberg, Founder and CEO, Early Growth Financial Services

4. Plan Ahead

Vacation/relaxation time should not be taken for granted. The body isn’t the only thing that needs rest, so does the brain. Overworking yourself and not enjoying your vacation can hurt your performance when you come back to the real world. Plan out all your responsibilities ahead of time and complete them so that you have no worries. Life is short, emails can wait!   – Russell Kommer, President, eSoftware Associates Inc

5. Put Your Phone on Do Not Disturb

To avoid letting my phone ruin my vacation, I schedule a strict two hours of work post-breakfast. The rest of the day I have a no-phone policy. I squelch inbox fires in those two hours. Any non-urgent emails get filed in my to-do list, then archived. The rest of the day, my phone is on Do Not Disturb. The result is a clear inbox and my phone doesn’t rob me of much-needed downtime. – Cooper Harris, Founder & CEO, Klickly

6. Forward, Filter and Find a Friend to Help

Leave your day-to-day phone behind. Forward all calls and emails to an assistant so they can take care of things while you are away. Make sure they have a number to reach you in case you are needed. Gmail has feature called Gmail Delegation that was made for this exact purpose. You can avoid being a bottleneck and focus on why you went on vacation all at the same time: to relax. – Anthony Johnson, CEO/Founder, American Injury Attorney Group

7. Leave Work Behind

With a wife and four kids, finding the time to take a vacation is already hard enough. When the time does come, I try to take full advantage and remind myself that the purpose of this trip is to spend quality time with my family. It’s always tempting to check and stay in the loop on things. But then again, what else are auto-reply emails for? My mindset is that business will be waiting patiently for my return. – Wesley Mathews, CEO, High Level Marketing

8. Use Trello and Group Chats

We prefer Trello over Slack since it works better for task management and organization and allows for much less correspondence. Group chats, whether it be text, Slack, or WhatsApp, definitely help keep me aware of what’s going on without needing to check in on so many people throughout my vacation. And don’t forget Low Power Mode so you don’t have to charge so often. – Hesam Meshkat, CEO, Guzu

9. Put Fire Alarms on Hold

Have someone you trust in charge of your email while you are on vacation. Before they respond to someone’s email, have them send their drafts for approval, and give them the go-ahead or any needed changes. For calls and texts, find a time that doesn’t interfere with the vacation and designate it for replies. If they can wait until you’re back, then schedule them accordingly. – Jess Larsen, Founder, Child Rescue Association

10. Keep Everything in Moderation

There is a time and a place for everything. I don’t turn off or shut down for an entire vacation and I never use an out-of-office message. Instead, I set aside time each day to answer emails. If I have to respond from my mobile device, I never send it with a signature that reads “sent from iPhone.” This way no one even has to know that I am on vacation. It keeps people on their toes. – Cynthia Johnson, Director of Brand Development, American Addiction Centers

11. Rely on Google Hangouts

On my last vacation, I brought my phone with me, but turned off all functions except Google Hangouts. That’s how I remain connected with my staff in case of emergencies, and they can help filter client calls without getting to me directly. – Andre Chandra, President, I Print N Mail

12. Set Aside an Hour Each Morning to Go Through Emails

I find it important to stay on top of my emails while I travel/vacation. The thing that has worked for me is to set aside an hour or less each day to catch up, respond etc. when needed. My family understands that my work is important, and understands that I need 30-60 minutes each day to work (usually during breakfast). Also returning back to the office is much nicer as no time is spent on catching up. – Magnus Simonarson, Executive Vice President, Consultwebs

13. Check in at Specific Times

Set a specific schedule for when you want to use your phone for business, and when for personal time. Try not to use your phone, laptop, etc. for business as much during a vacation. Keep those things for urgent reasons. Set an autoresponder for your email that allows people to call you instead of emailing, but only if it’s an emergency. – Shahriar Sikder, CEO, Meridian Technology Consulting


These are 11 tips from productive young entrepreneurs who still manage to make time for vacation. How about you? How do YOU use your phone while on vacation? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section below. 

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