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How much 'off time' are you taking this holiday?

The truth is, all the emails you get over the holidays can wait -- and you know it deep down inside

With the US about to celebrate Thanksgiving, and Christmas just around the corner, it got me thinking about 'off time'. It seems that every social gathering I go to these days presents a conversation about who's packing a work phone and who's not.

The 'on/off' conversation usually begins because one of my family members or friends will whip out their email-centric phone and start tapping on it, occasionally making sighing noises and looking perplexed. You only have to ride the train into work to realise that almost everyone is hooked up to their office.

But when it comes to special occasions such as the Christmas holidays, what are these Matrix-like drones going to do? Do you leave the BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone in a locked drawer, or do you occasionally check it while the kids open their presents? Unfortunately, I think the latter is more likely to happen.

So how important is 'off time'? According to an Orange advertisement currently running on the London Underground, off time is wasted time. Really? Are all those moments of uninterrupted quality time with friends and family, when your computer isn't humming and your phone isn't ringing, bad for you? Of course not.

I'm as bad as the next emailphile, which is why I know how good tech abstinence is for me. The truth is, all the emails you get over the holidays can wait -- and you know it deep down inside. But as with all addicts, we'll probably have trouble convincing ourselves of that. Happy holidays, everyone.