Celebrating 10 Years as a Microsoft MVP

Back from my vacation, I am thrilled to share that I have been awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for the 10th consecutive year. In addition to being recognized as an expert within Teams, I am have also been recognized as an expert with Microsoft Copilot. This means a lot to me.  Being an MVP has been an incredibly rewarding journey, both personally and professionally. It has provided me with countless opportunities to grow, learn, and connect with like-minded professionals who share a passion for technology and innovation.  The award is not just a title; it's a testament to the hard work, dedication, and contributions to the tech community. It's a privilege to be part of such an esteemed group of individuals who share the same love for technology, and sharing their knowledge about it.  As I reflect on the past decade, I am thankful for the experiences and knowledge I've gained. This recognition motivates me to continue sharing my expertise, mentor

The art of signing out and logging off (Digital wellbeing)

It is the beginning of July, and in my hemisphere most of my colleagues and friends are eagerly looking forward to some sort of summer vacation. But as the days are getting warmer, some of us could need some great advice on how to really sign out and log off. For many years I thought the world would collapse if I did not keep track of e-mails, and with social media and collaboration tools like Teams, I spent more and more time looking at the phone, doing work related tasks during my holidays. As a result, my by body and brain was deprived of much needed rest and relaxation.

I was a fool to think this was a good thing to do. Older and wiser, I have obviously learned differently. And here are some of my suggestions on how to keep your digital stress level at a minimum during your vacation.

The absolute most extreme but best solution - Leave the smartphone behind: A friend of mine actually did this one summer. He left the smartphone on his pillow at home when he left the house for two weeks of vacation. The best vacation ever to his experience. But I couldn't do that, and I don't expect many to be that determined to stay away from the digital sphere.

Company e-mail: Stop automatic downloads of new messages, or remove the account entirely from your phone. Your colleagues know how to reach you in case of an emergency, and reconfiguring or re-enabling the service usually takes a few seconds. At the very least, turn of notifications and alerts for incoming messages

Personal e-mail: Depending on your situation, I would recommend you to treat this the same way you treat company email. If you need to check  personal email, simply open the app and refresh for new emails on demand.

Microsoft Teams (or similar collaboration tools): Turn of all notifications and app-badges. And if you find yourself opening the application to often (because you can't make yourself stop checking in), delete the app and re-install it after the holiday. It sounds a bit drastic, but trust me, if you really need it, you know where to find it again. And who knows, after a few days, you might not even miss all the notifications and alert from the busy application.

Personal social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp, Snap and many more): Many of us have a love/hate relationship with social media, and sometime we use it in our communication and planning with friends and family. But I challenge you to disconnect from as many as you can, and as with the work tools, turn of notifications. Try it, it's quite liberating. I don't uninstall all my apps, but sometimes take a quiet 15 minute to catch up with "the world" in the morning or evening, then leave the social media for the rest of the day.

General settings (And maybe the most important setting): Most modern phones and devices support quiet/active hours. I use this actively all the time. Setting my phone to be quiet between 2200-0800 ensures me more than enough time to disconnect every day. And during my holiday, I usually set this to 2200-1000 to get even more time off-line. Most phones allow important calls to come through during quiet hours, just make sure you have enabled this feature for your most important contacts.

Managing the work/life balance is really important for your digital wellbeing, and the trick is knowing how to sign out and log off with the right tool. I hope I have provided you with some ideas on how to at least partially disconnect, and enjoy your vacation. Go out and spend some quality time with friends and family, without being interrupted by all of those notifications.