Declaring Email Bankruptcy

After three months of maternity leave I am so far behind on email that I am declaring bankruptcy.

If you have sent me an email (and you aren’t my husband or colleague), you might want to send it again. My sincerest apologies.

I am starting over.

(inspired by fred wilson)

32 Comments leave a comment below

  1. What great idea. CTRL + A, DEL- I should do that too.

  2. I am tempted to do that sometimes. Of course, I don’t get that many e-mails. And I can’t afford to delete a client’s email. :P

  3. Ha! That’s cute, I have 3 kids and totally get it ;) I’ll send again.
    Welcome back!

  4. and I received an e-mail from you JUST LAST NIGHT (which I thought was mind boggling for this very reason!)

    Congrats on the fresh start!

    (Also, glad you loved the posters!)

  5. Wow a great Step, problably i will do this too ;-) !

  6. There’s nothing quite as pure as a blank white sheet or screen… out with the old, in with the new…

  7. Great initiative, made me laugh!
    People should do that more often, and don’t take themselves so seriously.
    Congrats on the return.

  8. A friend of mine deletes all his email on a regular basis. He says “If it’s important enough, it will come back or someone will call me.

  9. I really wish I had what it takes to do this. More power to you!

  10. I don’t think this is about whether you take yourself too serious or not, like Marco says. I think this is about not taking other people seriously enough. I’m sorry, but that’s just not cool. I haven’t sent you an e-mail, and if I had, I probably couldn’t be bothered to do it again.

  11. @Benjamin, I am sorry if you think this is disrespectful.

  12. Interesting FAQ over at Merlin Mann, answering the question:
    “Why don’t you respond to my awesome email messages?”

  13. Tina, you’re adorable.

  14. this will appear on your credibility report for seven years

  15. I returned to work this week after taking a short holiday to find all my sent emails had disappeared. I was a bit distressed at first and the IT guy can’t work out what happen. But then I realised it was a blessing in disguise. Now I don’t have to go thru them and sort what i needed to keep and what to delete. Best filing system ever. Well until something comes to bite me on the ass – that client insisting they never got an email, but that can happen when you did send it so probably makes no difference in the end. I might accidentally delete all my inbox emails too. :)

  16. I keep my work inbox at like 7 e-mails. I adore e-mail bankrupcy and applaud you for doing it!

  17. I just read this week somewhere about your out of office message when you go on holidays should read something like “I am holiday from X to X. I won’t be reading any message that are received in this time so please send me your message again on my return.” Fair enough.

  18. tse, tse, tse… bad girl!

    never heard of “inbox-zero”?

  19. I think this is great. With so many mailing list, spam, and just irrelevant text that makes its way into our inboxes, is only makes sense to do something like this. Delete it all. Unsubscribe from mailing lists which you no longer read. Use TrulyMail so that you don’t get spam. However, on top of everything, you must put the effort into staying on top of your inbox. Email doesn’t manage itself.

    You go girl!!

  20. Good point. Process the client emails then delete it all. :-)

  21. rss bankruptcy might be another good idea, too… or whatever that 2nd entry under your rss tab reads – looks like 394223 entries :)

  22. Made me smile! Love it…

  23. Putting the onus on other people due to your lack of diligence seems really selfish to me. What makes you so important that you can “forget” your emails and get people to send them again? It’s kind of a slap in the face to the time they would have spent writing them in the first place. A better idea is to use the tools in your email client to mark the important ones and then only deal with those.

  24. Let go,
    let go.
    There is no spoon :)

    As long as you gave them a proper send-off like a moment of silence or a reading from Shakespeare or something, I’d say more power to you.
    I think all anyone should do who trusted you enough to send an email in the first place, is to continue trusting that you were acting in the best interest of your ability to perform or as the person/associate they came to trust in the first place.

  25. ATL needs to do a story about how many lawyers endured through 20 hour per days and 300+ hour per months, how many relationships crumbled due to the absence and stress related to lawyers trying to help save a company, how getting a car service to take you home at 4 a.m. is not a pleasure but a must because the lawyer is so fatigued that she might not make it home if they chose to drive themselves, use a taxi or some form of public transportation.

  26. Thanks for the idea! I did it and now i can take a break!

    Danke vill mol!

  27. I agree with Mik. While it might be nice for you, this seems like a very selfish approach. People spend a lot of time and effort into writing emails and to get no response is elevating yourself about them. I think some type of general email explaining the situation should go out to all of the emails that are getting deleted.

  28. Nobody has the obligation/capacity to respond to every email, and it works both ways. There’s already too little time available to get things done. You don’t want to spend a big chunk of your life writing emails, how depressing. I love talking, and I love people, but I love other things, too, and just because technology allows Information/communication overload does not mean you’re responsible for catching up. We just need to learn how to slow down and how to disconnect sometimes.

  29. Tina, I’m envious. And possibly inspired. I have considered this myself many times.

    Those who are complaining that it seems rude – well, perhaps. But they’re probably not receiving several hundred PR pitches a day on top of all the newsletters, bills, emails, cards, photos, media alerts, follow-up PR pitches, and hellos from our mothers-in-law. It adds up fast. It becomes a full-time job in itself.

    We often, as mothers and women, put everyone else first, ahead of our own families. I imagine this was not a decision you made in haste and I have nothing but respect for it.

    Woman with1630 emails in my inbox, 253 of them unread, all of them important. Of course.

  30. Love this! I think every hard working women needs to do this at least once in their career. A complete email error has happened to most of us unexpectedly at some point and the distress it causes is frustrating. How empowering it would feel to declare email bankruptcy. You go girl!

  31. Mixed feelings. I totally sympathize with your situation, and if I was in your shoes I might have done the same thing.

    But trashing mail that folks sent you strikes me as less than ideal. (I’m talking about the personal emails, not the mass mailings.) It’s a “lesser of two evils” solution.