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Your Style Girlfriend

    Too Big to Mail: Style Girlfriend’s Over-Stuffed Inbox

    18th March 2013

    401. That’s the number of unopened emails currently waiting for me in my inbox. My sister saw my email screen recently and was horrified. She has only six unopened emails, she informed me (rather haughtily I thought).

    mailboxes-flickr

     

    {maybe I just need more mailboxes?}

    While I’d probably do well to unsubscribe from a few newsletters, the source of my email overload is actually…you guys. Which is why, instead of digging into a reader question this week, I want to quickly address the status of any of your unanswered questions.

    I try as hard as I can to respond to you guys’ emails, which – by the way – I LOVE getting. I feel so honored that

    1. You value my opinion, and
    2. You’re looking to better yourself by asking for help at all. It can be hard to say, “I don’t know the best way to do ____” or “How do I ___?” Especially for guys, I think – so I really admire every single one of you who emails me for advice.
    Which is why I try my hardest to get back to each of you – but my inbox is horribly, grossly, embarrassingly overstuffed with questions going back months now that I have not been able to get to.

    I tend to work from the most recent down because some questions are time-sensitive (ie, “I have a date this weekend with a new girl i really like! what do I wear?”) and I want to be able to help out while those queries are still relevant. But that means that some reader questions that are evergreen – “I want to overhaul my whole wardrobe – where do I start?” – sit in email purgatory, and unless I take a solid week out of my life just to un-bury myself from my inbox, I’m not ever going to reach them. Like I said, I love getting your questions, but lately, I’ve just felt this huge sense of burden and guilt knowing how many were sitting in my backlog. I want to tackle your questions with excitement and enthusiasm, not dread opening my email each day because of the huge number of unopened emails I know I’ll see.

    So I’ve made a big decision. I’m declaring email bankruptcy. If you sent me an email before March 1, I very regretfully inform you that I am simply not going to get to it.

    If it was time-sensitive, I apologize for not helping out when you needed it. And if it was a broader question – about the best wingtips at a certain price point, what to wear on a first date, etc etc – please know that in the next month, I plan to build a few resource pages on the site for some of my more commonly asked questions, which should alleviate both your need to ask the question, and my inability to answer it in a timely manner. Some questions I know are just going to take so much time to answer that I put them off. With these new resource pages, I’ll be able to say, “Glad you asked! Check out this page on …whatever.” Problem solved.

    Also, excitingly, I’m about to have far more time to devote to Style Girlfriend, so I will set aside a portion of each day to answer reader questions, rather than the hour or two here and there that I tunnel through a hundred at a stretch. While I hesitate to set an expectation right now of responses within 24 hours, I think saying you should receive an answer within a week is reasonable. And because my “ask” box has recently gotten hit by some crazy spam monster (I don’t think “Play Online Poker” is the name of any of my readers), I’m removing it. If you have a question, go ahead and email me at megan (at) style girlfriend (dot) com. I’ll put that where the submission form is now, so you won’t forget it.

    I’m sure I don’t say it enough, but THANK YOU GUYS for everything you contribute to Style Girlfriend. You help make the site what it is, and I couldn’t do what I do without you. The brands I work with, and the friends and family who pop by SG from time to time to see what I’ve been up to always say the same thing – “Your readers are amazing! They’re so engaged! They’re so positive! They help each other out in the comments section! They sound like they know you!” Please don’t think any of this is lost on me. The internet is not known for being a warm, loving, inclusive place (just take a look at any YouTube post for proof of that), which is why I feel so SO lucky that you guys are so great. I feel really blessed to have such a great group of readers on Style Girlfriend. 2013 is already awesome, and it can only get better from here.

    Tell me: Have you ever had to declare email bankruptcy?

    (image: Grumbler/Flickr)

    • Ryan

      Wow. When my unopened email count exceeds 10, I’m screaming “f@&k right off!!”

      I’m slightly gobsmacked you’d get questions easily answered by a google search. Comes with the territory of being an online presence I suppose. Perhaps linking them to the Art of Manliness will teach some self-reliance.

    • average joe

      Email is the lifeblood of our business, I send and receive about 200-400 emails a day on average, so keeping my inbox completely clean is imperative to my success on the job. That said, I’m in front of my computer 9 hours a day and can mange it effectively.

      From what I understand, SG is not exclusive to Megan’s livelihood and she has other commitments throughout the day. So it would be very easy to have the SG inbox fill up rather fast.

      • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

        Thanks for your understanding, Joe!

    • redsa6729

      Kind of. A few years ago I went on a 3 week vacation and returned to roughly 2000 work emails. In spite of knowing that I’d be out for so long, management thought it’d be a good idea to put me on a major project before I left with the idea that I could pick things up when I returned. I point blank told my manager there was no way I could go through them by the time the project was to start (2 days after I got back!) and that he needed to give me a verbal recap. Suffice to say I’m very happily not with that company anymore.

      • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

        Yowza.

    • http://www.jessydiamond.com/ Jessy

      I only receive a few emails a day, usually newsletters from clothing stores.

    • Jack

      I love that you feel personally responsible to hold our hands through dressing better. Thanks! That being said – many people want others to “dress them” – without doing research or reading. I’m willing to bet most questions you get asked, at some point – have been answered by the Internet.
      Unless you feel as our stylegf that this relationship is monogamous. Then we have a problem. I need my space, girl!

    • DanPatrickFlores

      No, but I also still use CompuServe for e-mail.

      • TJ

        It’s ok. I still use AOL.

        • DanPatrickFlores

          Well, if you still have a 100 free hours cd-rom, there’s no reason not to use them!

          • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

            :)

    • Michael Bailey

      My unread work email count is 537 and rising. 99% of that has nothing to do with me, and I’ve come to the conclusion that if I want to keep my inbox clean there would be no time left for me to do my job. So I feel your pain.

      I can’t tell you how awesome it is that you take the time to answer those emails at all! I don’t know how many fashion bloggers care enough to help their readers prep for an important date. Heck, I’d have a hard time getting one of my sisters to do that! It’s not hard to figure out why your readers are so loyal, or why the comment section is such a positive environment. Kudos. :)

      • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

        Your inbox count makes me feel so much better! We can tackle inbox zero together, Michael!

    • adventurer627

      Megan,
      While your help is very much appreciated. Could this be an opportunity for more SG community involvement e.g. forums with members helping members? Just a thought

      • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

        That’s a really interesting idea, and one I’ve thought about for awhile now! Would you guys find a forum to be a helpful addition to the site?

        • Chris Rogers

          I’m a huge fan of forums and definitely think it would be a great addition. I think you’ve got a great group of followers who are quite supportive of you and each other which would feed into a great online community!

        • Anthony

          You should go for it. A lot of upside if it works and little downside if it doesnt.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian

      Inbox zero is a real thing that can definitely be achieved. I have suffered in the past as you have. I’ve found that organizing with folders is extremely helpful. But, YES, definitely start by unsubscribing to a bunch of crap that you probably never subscribed to in the first place!

      • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

        Oh, I’m organized, just overwhelmed right now :)

    • Guest

      While I have never declared email bankruptcy I have gone into email witness protection.

    • TJ

      I had this problem once and one off day, I just decided to purge my inbox. I also organized all my emails with different folders. It feels so good now to have all a clean inbox.

    • Eric

      797 unread emails. I swear, every college in the country (and one in Switzerland) has some special application or scholarship opportunity that I just HAVE to know about.
      I feel your pain, Megan. I feel your pain.