The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

To Automate this Season or Not?

As always, I never sugar coat my blog posts, so I am not going to start today.  I promised a backstage pass to my adventure, and that is what you get all the time.

Not sure if you remember, but last spring – I unplugged! That is right, I unplugged for a week with my family.  It was great!  I logged in to my computer once a day just to quickly go through emails in case of anything urgent, but for the remainder of the week, I was PRESENT for face-to-face time.

As winter break approaches and I am going to travel a little with my family, the question of unplugging boils up again.  Well, this time around, I cannot totally unplug because I have a few pressing projects, etc.  However, I only plan to attend to those specific tasks, and unplug for the rest of the time.

As a mom and an entrepreneur, I am not doing my job as a mom if I do not unplug and give full attention to my family when the opportunity presents itself.

So, this semi-unplugging begs the question:  To use an automated ‘out of the office’ message while traveling this holiday season. I say NO.

Don’t fret if you have a different opinion.  I am open to your thoughts, but for me, it is a BIG fat NO to the automated message.

Why? I think that the automated response has a place if you really are somewhere without internet access (where is that?) or ACTUALLY will not be checking email for an extended period of time.  My guess is that will not be the case for most of you.

Even with time off, most of you (and me) will be checking the iphone/berry/droid from time to time.  Isn’t it just easier to do what I did with my initial unplugging?  Simply respond to anything urgent, file away what can wait and needs a response when you are back to work, and delete the junk.

This crazy little unplugging system that I have may seem like a contradiction, but I think a quick daily check of email can really save valuable productive time when you return. With my way, the only emails left in your inbox are the ones that need your attention.

As for what all this has to do with the automated response:  they are annoying; make more junk mail for the recipient; and my guess is that if what your emailee needs is so pressing, they will go on an email frenzy with your inbox and everyone else associated with you.

If this snowball effect happens, it could mean more work for you to clean up in contrast to quickly attending to the matter in the first place.

If you check once a day and respond (currently 24 hours is the minimum courtesy expected to return an email), everything just flows more easily.

As I said, this is my opinion.

I say NO to automation.

If you say YES to automation, share your experiences…..

For more winter vacation survival tips as a mompreneur, click here

AND I do say YES to Merry Everything!

About the Author: Rachel Blaufeld