Email bankruptcy is no excuse

Inbox zero vs inbox infinity

An article from the Atlantic was making the rounds this week. It makes a case for letting go of inbox zero and just accepts that your inbox has tens of thousands of emails. The author goes even as far as setting an out-of-office responder on his email.
Now, most people I know already do this – without the auto-responder. They handle email like Twitter, they jump and in and out, they read some.
Most personal conversations have moved from email to text. I think part of it because the newsletters have made email impossible to use. Their mailboxes are flooded with newsletters from every company who ever got their hands on their email address. You can beat this problem, I’ve done it.
I can imagine that people with public facing jobs like journalists or venture capitalists suffer from an overload of inbound email. But it’s not really an excuse to declare email bankruptcy. There are plenty of ways to reduce inbound of managing it better.
I think the lesson here, you need to manage it. It’s like every other part of a business. Without active management, it’ll run out of control. It’s like building up personal debt as opposed to technical or organization debt.
Last night, someone said to me they feel the same about Slack. It’s too disruptive and requires too much attention. I remember we had those problems at Karma and we put in place some rules and re-arranged the channels. Like everything else, it needs management.
Declaring inbox infinity or email bankruptcy is just an excuse not to solve a problem but just accepting you’re going to live with it. I refuse to accept that

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