Jul 2 2018

How To Deal With Email After A Vacation

As I’m already getting lots of out of office messages for people taking this week off, I thought I’d revisit an approach to how to deal with email after a vacation.

In 2011, Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital came up with what, at the time, was what I thought was the best email vacation auto-responder in the history of email. Now, I have no idea if Josh invented this, but I’m going to give him credit for it.

I evolved this in 2014 when I took a one-month sabbatical. If you ever send me an email when I’m on my quarterly one week off the grid vacation, you now get this.

I’m checking out for a vacation until [date]. I’ll be completely off the grid.

When I return, I’m going to archive my inbox so I’ll never see this email. If you’d like me to read it, please resend it after [date]+1.

If you need something urgently, please email [my_assistants_email_address] and she’ll either help you or get you to the right person at Foundry Group to give you a hand.

On [date]+1, I usually get around 50 emails (in addition to my usual email flow of 500 daily emails) that are resent to me. That’s only 50 to respond to, instead of the roughly 3,000 emails I get each week.

It appears that The Atlantic has caught up with this thinking in The Most Honest Out-of-Office Message. I thought the article was fascinating, both in how the writer addressed the issue, but also in the intellectual and emotional tension around it.

Does it make you nervous to think about “Selecting All” on your existing inbox and archiving (if Gmail) or deleting (if Outlook)? While some of my friends do it periodically – as a result of pain or just to get a fresh start on a new year, I like to do the equivalent every quarter when I get back from a full week of an off the grid reset.

Josh – it was a while ago, but thanks for the inspiration. And, for those of you on vacation this week, I hope you aren’t reading this.


Also published on Medium.