Return from Your Sabbatical to Zero Email

August 7, 2009

For many, the thought of vacation (never mind an extended sabbatical or career break) immediately conjures up images of thousands of email messages building up in an unattended inbox. It’s a scary enough thought that many people simply can’t take a vacation without checking email.

Or can they?

YourSabbatical reveals the strategy that Danah Boyd uses to return from vacation to an empty inbox, despite the fact that she receives over 700 emails a day.

In the beginning, Ms. Boyd’s attempts at email sabbatical posed problems.  Returning from even 3-5 days of being offline left her with an “in box” brimming with messages that took several days to deal with. (Feel the energy drain here?)

Danah Boyd is smart.  Now, she experiences email sabbaticals for as long as 6 weeks and returns to an empty inbox. Yo!  What goes?

What goes is the email. She sends all of her email to the delete box. The sender gets a nice message saying, “I won’t be receiving your email, but I’ll be back on (date) so contact me then.”

Assuming you’ve got someone to pass emergencies to, I think this is a great solution. Just delete it all, and let people know you’re deleting it all. Why not? We do it with voice mail all the time, telling people we’re away, and to call so-and-so, and that we won’t be checking messages. Why not with email?

I can think of all kinds of companies and positions where this might not work, but I still love the idea – particularly because we’re just about to head out for a two week hiatus at a solar-powered cottage where our whole objective is to disconnect.

How to Take an Email Sabbatical and Return to an Empty Inbox (

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Living on a Jet Full-Time

March 30, 2008

Airline HomeAirport Journals has a piece on using retired passenger jets as homes. Maybe it’s just me, but I found the whole idea incredibly intriguing.

JoAnn Ussery, shown here, lost her home in an ice storm, and replaced it with a Continental Airlines 727.

Ussery named her dream house “Little Trump,” a reference to Donald Trump’s $16-million corporate jet, also a Boeing 727. The floor plan consisted of three bedrooms, a living room/dining room, a fully equipped kitchen, a laundry area and her favorite room, the master bathroom with a Jacuzzi, in what was once the cockpit.

The tail was anchored in 18 inches of concrete. The nose extended out past the shoreline of the lake, giving the 727 home a dynamic look, as if it were flying. The 11-foot-wide cabin looks roomy with the high-density airline seats removed. The 76 side windows and 10 cockpit windows provide ample illumination.

Her story is one of several on the site – have a look:
Airport Journals

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