Deleting All Those Emails! Follow-Up to Operation Vacation Salvation

White Lion — June 06, 2018

As promised, I headed off on vacation with a plan in place not to check email and to delete all my emails when I got back to the office!

I am sure you want to know how it went, right? Well, I am excited to tell you all about it. However, to be fully transparent, you should also know that I was concerned about the possibility of losing out on opportunities or missing something major.

Before we dive into the big takeaways of what I learned, take a peek at me deleting my emails and blowing out my RSS and my Twist feeds!


We as Americans have a huge problem with the way we vacation. We all need to completely rethink the way we unplug as we have earned the opportunity to fully recharge and to avoid the stress of getting caught up when returning.

The problem that ‘Operation Vacation Salvation’ solves is two-fold:

  1. Allow team members to be fully unplugged during vacation.
  2. Allow team members to delete all emails immediately upon returning so there is virtually no stress to return to. Sounds radical? It is, but the big payoff is they will be able to get right back to work without the stress and time needed to answer all those emails.

Be sure to read Part 1 to learn all of the key things need to be put in place in order to make ‘Operation Vacation Salvation’ a success.

A stress-free vacation

Alright…WOW! What I experienced was frankly transformative. My family Spring Break road trip to Durango from Austin was seriously the best vacation I have had in years. This was due in large part because I was completely unplugged from the office AND getting back to work was so incredibly easy! Not having to worry about missed messages and eliminating the stress of returning to an avalanche of emails was delightful!

Deleting all your emails makes that recharge feeling last

Do you know that recharged feeling you often get from vacations? That stored up energy of goodness almost instantly dissipates the moment you see all of the emails pour into your inbox. Not for me. That recharged feeling kept hanging around for days and I truly want the same for you.

How did clients, prospects, and the team feel about it?

Did deleting all emails when returning really work? Surprisingly, yes! When I got back, a few days later I did in fact receive follow-up emails from those who were told their email was being deleted when I was out. The feedback for ‘Operation Vacation Salvation’ was positive all the way around – there wasn’t one complaint. In fact, I received some positive feedback from the outside world. Internally, it was a hit as well. Here is a quote from Nicole…

“It is refreshing to see the leader of your organization take vacation and work life balance so seriously and actually implement it for his team members to emulate and follow. We know that if he is taking his vacation time with his family seriously then so can we.

It also goes to show how well run and empowered our organization is. He trusts that we will keep this ship running.

Operation Vacation Salvation proves, in my mind, that we can handle most anything when anyone is away from the office, including the owner of the company. That is a pretty great feeling.”

Nicole Hackley

My team rose to the challenge and performed wonderfully! Not one ball was dropped and no issues had to be escalated as my team was able to solve all issues that arose. I did not get one emergency call from the office which is a testament to how well my team runs things when I am away.

4 Key Takeaways:

1. Ringtones

Ensure I have custom ringtones setup for all friends and family on the trip so I can ignore everything else when my cell phone rings.

2. Uninstall RingCentral App

I should have uninstalled my RingCentral app before I left. My team uses RingCentral to manage voice calls. I have the RingCentral app on my phone so I don’t miss any work calls during the normal work week. The RingCentral app on my cell phone allows me to receive work calls and to call out from my cell while only displaying my work number. On day three of my vacation and after many work calls ringing through to my cell, I realized I should simply delete the app knowing my team was handling all work-related calls. Even though I wasn’t answering any work calls, deleting the app removed a good amount of unneeded ‘noise’.

3. No More Business Listening

As we were driving to Durango from Austin, with each drive taking around 15.5 hours, we learned driving straight through surprisingly worked great for our family of five, I thought…JACKPOT — I can really get ahead with some business reading by purchasing and downloading books through Audible and loading up my Podcast lists. I did crunch through lots of business learning, BUT that reading did somewhat put me in a business mindset at times. Now, I truly enjoy learning and discovering new business and personal frameworks, but next time I will avoid anything business related and stay in a personal mindset for the drive. On the opposite side of auditory business listening, my super crew did enjoy discovering personal storytelling with The Moth podcast series and listened to many on the way back.

4. Be Braver!

Okay, I bent the rules a little but won’t next time. When I got back from vacation, as you might have noticed in the video above of me deleting all of my emails, I did skim my two work inboxes and my personal inbox before deleting all of the emails. Next time, I won’t look and just delete straight away — no need to skim next time.

Taking the first step to make a big change is scary but I truly hope ‘Operation Vacation Salvation’ inspires you to take back your vacation time and you choose to share the concept with your team, so we can all learn to vacation better.

As some say, the days are long but the years are short. Make your precious vacations count! If you have any questions about the approach, let me know. Here’s to your better vacations!

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