A friend of mine had an English teacher in high-school with the coolest paper assignment. The final assignment of high-school was to write yourself a letter, to put a stamp on the letter and then the teacher would ensure that the letter would be sent five years later. That meant that around the time you were done with college, you'd get a letter from your high-school self.
There's something very powerful about this. It's a bit like time travelling while also being an out of body experience. Because you're listening to your past self, you're not just able to listen to your own advice but you're also able to reflect and gain perspective.
The memory of this story is how we ended up making a new service, called dearme.email. It's a serivce that allows you to send yourself an email and get it back one month later.
Instead of waiting for five years, I contemplated that maybe a month would be a more appropriate amount of time. There's something about a month. When you receive an message from yourself from a month ago odds are it'll no longer be top of mind but it's recent enough that you'll remember writing it. It also seems like checking in with yourself once a month is good habbit if you want to reflect more.
So how does it work?
You can send an email to
email@example.com with whatever text you'd
like to receive back in a month. Once we receive an email we ignore
attachments and only grab the stripped-text. Our mailprovider may parse
it with a spam filter. If the message looks clean it is encrypted and
stored for 30 days until it is sent back.
After that it is deleted from our system. Forever.
How might people use it?
Some people like to remind themselves of goals. Other people like to keep themselves accountable by keeping track of promises that they made to themselves. There's also people who just want to give themselves compliments. It's really up to you what you do with your email.
The main feedback we've gotten is that folks really appreciate the new perspective they get from getting a letter from their past self. Often the big problem from last month is very small now, or at the very least it changed. Observing this can be extremely powerful because it helps you reflect.
Where can I learn more?
Back to labs main.