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CEO to CEO: Managing Device Time on Vacation

Four association CEOs discuss how they stay in touch while being out of pocket

Four association CEOs discuss how they stay in touch with the office while taking a break from work—without spending hours on their devices.

Vacations are essential if we’re to remain productive, creative, and healthy. Also, science has shown that too much digital time is unhealthy. Before leaving for a vacation, I make sure that the most important people who might need to reach me in an urgent situation will call me—no email or texting allowed. That gives me peace of mind, knowing that email and text messages can wait until I’m back at my desk.

—Kathleen Wilson, CAE, Executive Director, National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives, Tallahassee, Florida

I am very conscious of being present with those I am on vacation with, and I aim to free my mind. I turn my iPhone off and only open it once per day to check personal emails and social media. Work emails are off limits, and the out-of-office message is turned on.

Craig Johns, Executive Director, Triathlon ACT, Canberra, Australia

I didn’t take any vacation during my first two years as CEO. On my first real vacation, I brought my laptop. Slowly, I’ve been reducing the amount of time I spend on work, and I encourage my team to follow suit. Now, I only bring my phone on vacation and limit reviewing emails to once a day, responding only if necessary. Preparation and clear direction are key to a more enjoyable vacation.

Gladys Quinto Marrone, CAE, CEO, Building Industry Association of Hawaii, Waipahu, Hawaii

I set aside time at the beginning and end of each day for email review and response. My team knows to text me if there is anything urgent that needs my immediate attention. Then, I’m free to focus on my family and relaxing.

Stacy Tetschner, FASAE, CAE, President and CEO, United Motorcoach Association, Alexandria, Virginia

This article originally appeared on ASAE's Center for Association Leadership.

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