Apr 12, 2016

Email Lessons from Highly Successful People #3 - Declare Inbox Bankruptcy like Ryan Holmes, CEO and Founder of Hootsuite

Achieve 'Email-Life Balance' like Arianna Huffington, Co-founder of Huffington Post

The previous post in this series discussed achieving email-life balance like Huffington Post co-founder, Arianna Huffington who simply treats emails as low priority compared to her personal life and relationships. This post provides a quick fix if your mailbox is too flooded or too hopelessly cluttered to live with, anymore.


Lesson #3: Declare Inbox Bankruptcy

Has your email volume become too overwhelming as of late? Is your inbox beyond help? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, it's probably time to declare email bankruptcy. Much like financial bankruptcy, email bankruptcy involves wiping out all of your existing 'email debt' (meaning, the unread emails in your inbox), and starting over with a completely clean slate.

Hootsuite CEO and Founder, Ryan Holmes, considers declaring email bankruptcy as his "one chance to empty his inbox with impunity and get a truly fresh start." As the CEO of a company with 10 million customers and more than 700 employees, he receives a ton of email every day. A full day board meeting would mean coming back to pages of unread email, all marked important! And the last time he took a one-week vacation, it took him days to clear out the avalanche of emails that had accumulated in his absence.

If like Ryan you too are at your wit's end trying to deal with the clutter in your mailbox, he suggests giving email bankruptcy a shot. In his words, "It's not about being lazy or incompetent. It's a frank admission that email has gotten out of hand, as well as a pledge to manage your communications more effectively."

Ryan however recommends only doing this once every few years. He also suggests that practitioners add a disclaimer message (something like, "Sorry if I didn't get back to your last email. To become a better communicator in 2015, I've recently declared email bankruptcy.") to their email signature after deleting unread mails.


Up next: Lesson #4 - Put email on hold like Randi Zuckerberg

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