Are you a workaholic? Or does your boss expect you to be one? Either way, follow our expert tips on how to have an "unplugged vacation" without getting fired.
1. Tell your coworkers not to call you unless there's a hostage situation. The more memorable your message, the more likely it is that you'll be left alone.
2. Get a cell phone that makes it difficult to send e-mail. And don't tote a business-connected BlackBerry. For domestic trips, Virgin Mobile sells prepaid phones for as little as $15 at Target stores and elsewhere. (Note: Virgin's phones come with mobile Web access. If that seems too tempting, you'll have to ask the company to turn it off when you call customer service to activate the phone.)
3. Give your hotel's name and number to only one colleague. If any other coworker needs to reach you, your point person can decide whether revealing your whereabouts is warranted.
4.Stay at hotels that are known for offering activities. For example, many Kimpton and Omni hotels host frequent wine tastings. Social mixers may especially appeal to solo travelers, who tend to find it hard to unplug from BlackBerry-based interaction.
5.Don't over-schedule. Or else your vacation will seem like work. As you plan your itinerary, allow free time for strolls and other spontaneous adventures.
6.Make an "unpacking" list before you go. In his book Work to Live, Joe Robinson suggests you jot down the stuff that has no business going with you: work worries, the boss, colleagues, career progress, laptops, pagers, cell phones....
7. Only respond to four-alarm emergencies. This advice is especially worth following whenyour boss insists that you check your e-mail and voice mail periodically, says NFI Research CEO Chuck Martin.