Should you unplug while on vacation?

(MoneyWatch) Will you keep your smartphone by your side 24-7 while on vacation this summer? If so, are you doing it to finally beat your sister-in-law at "Words with Friends" because you can fully focus on the task, or to stay linked in to the office?

If it's the latter, you're in good company -- but that doesn't mean it's the smart choice. Unplugging, even if only for a short time, can really help you re-charge. I recently spoke to two executives about why they take some time off from their smartphones when they take time off from work (but check in sporadically). Here's what they had to say:

I travel for business often and am almost always on my smartphone. But since starting a family my holiday travel is much more meaningful, so I take time to unplug. If I'm in Greece on the beach with my family, the smartphone is at the hotel and I check email on my computer once a day maximum, even though I get email from a half dozen different regions and time zones. Because I know how important it is to re-charge, I try to respect all my employees by minimizing the emails I send them when they're on their own vacations. I think that's very important -- that mutual respect for time off. All this said, with a growing business and family, I take fewer and shorter vacations but always try to maximize my re-charge time.  -- Michael Kirban, CEO and co-founder of Vita Coco, a global beverage company

I find it difficult to unplug, but I have a conscientious team of bright, focused individuals whom I trust in my absence. Most recently, on my family beach and fishing vacation, I did two things: First, I put the "I am away until" outbound reply on email, which seemed to reduce the number of emails sent once people received the first message. Second, I physically turned off my Blackberry and left it behind in my room so I wouldn't be tempted to periodically check messages. About every one or two days I would scan my email for urgent messages and respond to them, but skip the others until I returned. I did this because a year or so ago I tried not looking at email for 10 days. When I returned, the stress of reading and responding to all the voice and email messages wiped away all the benefits of my vacation. -- David Braun, CEO of Capstone Strategic, a Washington, D.C.-based M&A consulting firm

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Zach Vega

  • Amy Levin-Epstein On Twitter»

    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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