1 Hour Per Day Away

Hi this is Cyril from Work Smarter Live Better. In this video, I would like to share with you a simple suggestion to reduce what I call the “back from leave stress”.

I was with a group of leaders from a big international company and we were working on a topic which resonated with everyone: email management. How to manage this flow of emails that gets into your inbox.

I shared with them best practices. Then I asked them to open their laptop as there’s no better way for learning than doing it. We were having a lot of fun.

Yes, you can have fun practicing email management…

And they made some serious progress. A few weeks after the session I received some lovely emails from them sharing a photo of their ‘inbox zero’ or for some ‘inbox white space’, when you are not yet at inbox zero but see the space at the end of your inbox for the first time in a very long time. I was very touched.

But this is not what I wanted to share today.

At the end of the practice, one of them asked a question ‘Cyril. I get it. I understand. It really resonates with me. From today I’m going to really apply this. But there’s one moment which is super stressful for me: when I come back from leave. It’s a nightmare. I have email galore i.e. so many emails to catch up with. It’s very depressing’.

We had a very interesting discussion with the group. And for all of them there was a big dilemma. When we go on leave, either we decide not to check emails and have to manage a huge inbox when back, or we decide to check emails from time to time which is not great because we’re supposed to be on leave.


We had a discussion about this dilemma and there are quite a few things you can do, but there’s one tip that resonated with all of them. This one tip was one hour per day away.

What do I mean by one hour per day away?

If you’re going on leave for a week, which is five days, I suggest you keep one hour per day away blocked when you come back. So if you come back on Monday, rather than reopening for businesses on Monday morning, work from home for example on Monday morning, and in this first half a day, just catch up with all your emails. So that when you reopen for business either Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning, you’re on top, you’ve cleaned out the mess. And you do not spend the next two weeks trying to get your inbox back into control.

Simple rule, 1h per day away.

This is this week’s Work Smarter Live Better tip. I hope this will be useful for you. Try it and see how it works for you.

Have a lovely day,


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