Way too many Americans left vacation days unused last year. According to new research, the number-one reason they did so was the fear of returning to piles of work back at the office, including tons of unread emails.
Catching up on past correspondence can take an entire day to sift through once you’re home. The stress is enough to completely ruin the post-vacation bliss, and it seems like a trip just isn’t worth it to begin with.
As you may have heard, HuffPost has a solution for the vacation email problem: Before their trip, employees can opt-in to a system that will delete or automatically archive all emails immediately upon receipt. Employees set up an out-of-office email that explains the system, asking people to get back in touch at a later date if they’d like a reply.
It’s brilliant. It’s helpful. And you don’t need a fancy tech system to do it for yourself. Here’s how to hack your way to vacation “inbox zero” for Gmail. If your office uses a different email system, then feel free to ask your office’s resident technology guru about setting up a similar filter. Ready?
Step 1: Enter your Gmail and head to Settings.
Step 2: Under “Filters and Blocked Addresses,” select “Create a new filter.”
Step 3: Type your email address in the “To” field, and click “Create filter with this search.”
This will tell the system to automatically archive every email that comes to your address.
Step 4: Select “Skip the Inbox,” and click “Create filter.”
This will send every incoming email to your “All Mail” folder instead of your Inbox, so you can still read them after your trip if needed. If you’d rather permanently delete all incoming messages, then choose “Delete it” in this window instead.
Step 5: Spread the good news.
Hooray! Your filter is created! Now, set up an amazing out-of-office reply to let people know you won’t be seeing anything they send while you’re gone. Here’s an example:
Step 6: Turn it off when you’re back at work.
When you’re back from vacation, return to the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” tab and click “delete” on your filter. All emails will now come to your Inbox as normal.
Step 7: Access any super important messages you missed.
Remember, all your vacation emails are in your “All Mail” folder, so you can go back and find any especially important ones there if needed.
And there you have it! Enjoy a sweet, tech-free trip.