The Best (and Worst?) Autoresponders of 2007

89 Comments


Reflecting or deleting e-mail can be an art form. (Photo: marinegirl)

An increasingly popular approach for escaping the inbox is the routine use of e-mail autoresponders.

Love it or hate it, reflecting or deleting e-mail can be an art form.

I’ve collected some of my favorite autoresponders of 2007 from Gmail and included them below.

The styles range from polite and hat-in-hand to direct and full-frontal, and include examples from both employees and business owners… Names have been changed.

Have a good (or amusing) autoresponder to share, whether real or made-up? Drop it in the comments and give someone a helping hand or a good laugh :)

The Standard:

SUBJECT: I Received Your Email

Dear Friends, Clients and Colleagues,

Due to high workload, I check email twice daily at 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM EST Monday-Thursday. I respond to urgent email at those times and endeavor to respond to all other email once a week, on Sundays at 6:00 AM EST.

If you require urgent assistance (please ensure that it is urgent) that cannot wait until either 9:00 AM or 2:00 PM, please contact me via phone at 555.666.4416.

Thank you for understanding this move to more efficiency and effectiveness. It helps me accomplish more to serve you better.

Sincerely,
Joe Louis

Polite and Boss-Friendly:

SUBJECT: Please call if it can’t wait until 11am or 4pm

Hi all…

In an effort to increase productivity and efficiency I am beginning a new personal email policy. I’ve recently realized I spend more time shuffling through my inbox and less time focused on the task at hand. It has become an unnecessary distraction that ultimately creates longer lead times on my ever-growing ‘to do’ list.

Going forward I will only be checking/responding to email at 11a and 4p on weekdays. I will try and respond to email in a timely manner without neglecting the needs of our clients and brand identity.

If you need an immediate time-sensitive response… please don’t hesitate to call me. Phones are more fun anyways.

Hopefully this new approach to email management will result in shorter lead times with more focused & creative work on my part. Cheers & here’s to life outside of my inbox!

All the best,

John “The Employee” Doe

Short and Sweet:

SUBJECT: Off of E-Mail — Call if Urgent

Thank you for your email! Due to my current workload, I am only checking email at 11am and 4pm. If you need anything immediately, please call me on my cell so that I can address this important matter with you. Thank you and have a great day!

-Tom Brady

Take No Prisoners:

Subject: I’m sorry but your e-mail has been deleted

Hi, it’s Simon Cowell.

I’m on a project until February 4 — your message has been deleted and will not be seen.

Please re-send after the 4th. Or if something is urgent, please contact helpme@hairychest.com.

All the best,

Simon

Take No Prisoners with a Smile:

SUBJECT: I’ll be back August 14th…

Hey, it’s Jimmy here…

I’m traveling on vacation and will return on Tuesday, Aug. 14th.

[website or Google calendar URL] < --- That's my schedule

All email I receive until that time will be automatically deleted, so if you have a dire emergency, contact my Executive Assistant, Jack-o-lantern at (555) 444-2525.

That way I’m not overwhelmed with playing “catch-up” and I can hit the ground running and give you the immediate attention you deserve when I get back.

Fair enough?

I appreciate your courtesy in advance and look forward to our paths crossing again after Aug. 14th.

All good wishes,

Jimmy Liu

###

The Universal Language of “No, I Didn’t Get Your E-Mail”:

SUBJECT: Penelope checks email twice a day/mira el correo 2 veces al día

Dear customers and colleagues,

Due to high workload, I am currently responding to email twice daily at 11:00 am and 4:30 pm CET.

If you require urgent assistance or response (please ensure it is urgent) that can not wait, please contact via phone at +22-555559878.

Thank you for understanding this move to more efficiency, effectiveness and focus. It helps me accomplish more to serve you better.

Have the greatest day,

Penelope Cruz
————

Estimados clientes y colegas:

Debido al gran volumen de trabajo que tengo actualmente estoy contestando al correo dos veces al día a las 11 de la mañana y 4:30 de la tarde (hora Madrid).

Si necesitas hablar conmigo con urgencia (por favor valora si es de verdad urgente), no dudes en llamarme al móvil al +22-555559878.

Mi intención es ser más eficaz, concentrarme de verdad y sacar más adelante para atenderte mejor.

Ten un día estupendo,

Penelope Cruz

###

Nothing But The Facts:

SUBJECT: I’m busy

Hello There,

I don’t chek e-male much. To much reading. Bye.

GW

###

Related and Popular Posts:

The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now

The Art of Letting Bad Things Happen (and Weapons of Mass Distraction)
Chapter 6 – The Low-Information Diet: Cultivating Selective Ignorance
How to Outsource the Inbox and Never Check Email Again

Posted on: February 21, 2008.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

89 comments on “The Best (and Worst?) Autoresponders of 2007

  1. Hi Tim,

    I’m usually understanding when I get an autoresponse, but they could be a lot more fun! I would love to get this one;)

    “Hi there, I guess you’ve also read The Four Hour Work Week and that’s why me checking my e-mail only at 11 and 4 won’t piss you off. Have a nice one!”

    Like

  2. I’ve also seen groups within companies — even divisions — set an e-mail checking schedule to avoid any endless loops with autoresponders. That can cut 40-60% of internally-generated e-mail alone.

    BTW, I know WordPress is acting up with the formatting on the blog (bold vs. unbolded, etc.). WTF?

    Tim

    Like

  3. HaHa,

    Is that really the autoresponder from Penelope Cruz? Just curious…. You going to the Oscar’s???? Can this be true, i guess you find your way into it all : )

    Cheers

    Jose

    Like

  4. I use this one when I’m out of the office. This puts the responsibility on the sender to RE-send anything important after I return. This gives me an excuse to delete everything after a very brief check for anything from anyone I care about, and then a quick delete.
    “““““““““““““““““““`
    I am out of the office until Wednesday, January 2nd. I will not have any access to email or voicemail during this time.

    Your email is important to me, so if it requires my attention, please resend your email to me on January 2nd. Otherwise, it may take me many days to sort through all of the email I receive and I don’t want to delay an important response to you when I return.

    Thanks

    Like

  5. [This is a non-personal computer generated response]

    I have programed this response to cater to your needs in my absence.

    Your computer generated response is:
    Thank you for your inquiry. I will respond to all emails at 5:00pm EST Monday – Friday.

    Cheers,
    Me

    Like

  6. Love the auto-responders. Fortunately, I do not get work-related email!

    Are you seriously trying to find a shirt? I work at a retailer in downtown SF, and would be happy to find you one. However, is your neck still 18″?

    - J

    Like

  7. As a programmer and Project Manager, I found that I’m much more productive by tweeking your mantra. I do check my email right when I get in. I put out fires and re-arrange my day if necessary to accommodate. Then I check email one more time at 2:00. Enough time to get my high priority stuff out of the way and still solve any problems before I leave.

    However, I categorize my emails as they arrive via rules. I have separate folders for “urgent or high priority” messages, then folders for people and projects depending on who the sender is. Then the infamous “Other” which rarely if ever gets checked.

    In the morning, I only check the high priority folder. In the afternoon, I usually only check the ones dealing with my current project.

    Also, I’ve found that the phone is abused even though my auto response requests high priority or emergency calls only.

    Like

  8. Hi,

    Thanks for spending the time to email me, unfortunately, I am no longer checking email ever again.

    If you are desperate you can reach me at 248-262-6861 [NOTE: the rejection hot-line number. Obviously not included in the email]

    Thank you, and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Best of luck,

    Jeremy

    Like

  9. Hm, did anyone think about the frustration on the recipient’s end after receiving one reply for every message he’s gonna send you?

    For example I may have three or four messages from a coworker per day for various activities we’re involved in (not messages requiring urgent input from my side)

    Imagine his frustration receiving four automated responses from me. Isn’t this a deal-breaker?

    ###

    Hi Stelios,

    In most programs you can set the autoresponder to be sent no more than once per week, or once to each contact. Agreed that repeated bouncebacks can be annoying. They do make the point, though, if I had to find at bright side.

    Tim

    Like

  10. I don’t mind getting an autoresponder so long as it isn’t just an easy way for that person to say “piss off”!!

    I got this one recently from a (busy) recording engineer and it made my day:

    “Dear email sender
    Thanks for the email. I appreciate it. I’m pretty much too busy to actually respond or actually read it let alone work out how to format this in a way that looks personal. You weren’t ever going to be fooled, were you? Really?
    Try calling instead. If I don’t answer, you get the picture: I’m busy.

    Thanks

    xyz

    Cell: 1234567890 ”

    I can’t bring myself to use it, but I really thought about it!

    Great post.

    Like

  11. Tim,

    I run into this problem all the time on my blog. Check that you haven’t forgotten to close a bold tag in the HTML of the post… Just look at where the bold starts and where the missing tag is. =)

    About the post:

    Nothing is more annoying and screams, “unprofessional” than getting one of these auto responders now. Whenever I get one, I immediately think… Great. Here’s another person trying to be ultra-productive by implementing the easiest thing in Tim Ferriss’s book.

    Here’s a suggestion: Don’t have an autoresponder. Just respond at the time you check your email. Eg. 11am and 4pm. It’s more convenient for everyone. If someone kicks up a storm with 4 emails in a row, you can then give the explanation, although that’s never happened to me.

    Plus: It clogs up my email box with useless “Thanks for your email” subject lines. Argh.

    Donovan

    Like

  12. @ Donovan and Shaolin

    Hi Guys,

    For HTML, here’s what is happening and driving me nuts:

    the tags are fine, then when I save or publish — poof! — the closing tag disappears and all the text below that point becomes bold. It’s quite a glitch and I’d never seen it before today.

    Any ideas?

    Tim

    Like

  13. This is an ‘autoresponder’ message (well, not quite ‘auto’, but it sits in my Eudora Stationery) and is for discretionary use only. I’ve had occasion to use it 3 times in the last year, whenever someone really wastes my time with back and forth email arguments.

    Thought your readers may get a laugh out of it:

    = = = = MESSAGE BEGINS = = = = =

    SUBJECT: You’ve Reached Dr.Mani’s “ANTI-ANNOYER” Autoresponder

    Hi, thanks for your email.

    It will NOT be read :-)

    You’ve been directed to this autoresponder because your earlier
    emails have been considered to be one of the following:

    – time wasters
    – annoyers
    – hindrances to Dr.M’s creativity and productivity

    As such, he has no desire to enter into an unproductive exchange
    of email messages with you on this topic.

    If you enjoy talking to a computer, please continue to correspond
    on this topic. Each time, you will receive an identical replica
    of this very email message.

    Over time you’ll collect 100 of them.

    But that does NOT entitle you to a gift, zero cost vacation or
    any other form of compensation or prize.

    What you will get, though, is the satisfaction of being recognized
    as someone who doesn’t give up, one who never-says-die, one whose
    persistence will overcome mountains.

    As such, Dr.Mani wishes you the very best in your life.

    Best regards

    Dr.Mani’s Computer

    = = = = MESSAGE ends = = = = =

    Like

  14. tim,
    how do you have so much time to write this blog. i am full time blogger and i don’t publish as many blog posts a you do. you amaze me. tell me how?

    and then you even reply to comments.

    ###

    I have a very clean and streamlined workflow for processing everything, and I write a lot in journals. Generally, coming up with a post is just having something I’ve taken notes on transcribed. I also save interesting incoming e-mail as “BLOG MATERIAL” if I think they might serve, like in the case of this post.

    I’ll be doing a “Behind the Blog” post soon, and I’ll probably copy and paste this exchange :)

    Tim

    Like

  15. Oops, the tags didn’t get escaped. This part of the template looks suspect:

    Error Line 157, Column 40: end tag for “strong” omitted, but OMITTAG NO was specified.

    <p><strong>Related and Popular Posts:</p>

    Like

  16. Am I the only one who thinks receiving an «urgent» phone call is much more distracting than an email?

    I’m actually doing the exact opposite: my voice mail invites people to take the time to write me an email if they want to reach me quickly. Most people call because they are too lazy to write. Emails are easy to scan trough than listening to long or pointless phone messages (“Call me when you can I have something to ask you bye”).

    When I receive a phone call when I’m away from my computer, I don’t have the data to answer most of the time anyways. My cell number is offered on a strict need to know basis for life-or-death situations.

    Have a wonderful day everybody!

    Like

    • I find the use of Youmail.com, a transcription service for vmail helps a lot. I have not checked a vmail in months as everyone is immediately texted and emailed to me. Transcription is pretty good. Very useful technology in a lot of ways. Ferries writes about it in 4hww if memory serves.

      Like

  17. I rather like the bold, keep it.

    @ Donovan: I agree, I don’t find that people get upset when I respond twice daily. They usually don’t notice and I like not drawing attention to the fact with an auto-responder. I think that the auto responder is really to make the email recipient feel better about limiting email usage and train them to stick to their schedule.

    On another topic… also try ditching your blackberry or treo. If you are really checking email twice a day, arrange to be in front of a computer. I deleted the ability for me to check email from my treo two weeks ago. It has significantly reduced my stress level and improve my social life. I’m also no longer driving and checking email like a jackass.

    Like

  18. You know what it is Tim? I think someone in the comments field (if HTML is even allowed) has an open BOLD tag and left it open accidentally? Possibly. Otherwise… try turning off the RICH VISUAL EDITOR under MANAGE -> OPTIONS, and under the AUTHOR. (Admin probably)

    That might work.

    I’ll try closing the tag here… IT WORKS HERE OR NOT =)

    Like

  19. Damn. =) Definitely turn off the RICH TEXT EDITOR and see if that fixes the problem of wordpress taking over the HTML editing functions… Otherwise I’d need to see the code.

    ###

    I’m actually using the code view and it still happens. LOL…

    Tim

    Like

  20. @Donovan

    That all depends, I personally don’t like auto responders but I dont see them as unprofessional either. The AR will in most cases keep me from sending additional emails if i see one or try to make sure i get everything important into one email so that the person doesn’t read one then the next with a few sandwiched in between.

    @All

    If you see to much phone abuse, remember use grand central and send everyone to voicemail if you want. If anyone has noticed that its become invite only drop me a comment on my blog about grand central and I will send you an invite.

    Personally im a bit hesitant to use an AR, just dont know how my boss would take it… :) one day I will take the leap.

    dont know why you are getting the bolded text? thats quite strange

    Like

  21. I totally disagree with the concept of general autoresponders. I personally process email each day after lunch and scan for emails from High Importance people (I’ve set up a special folder and filter for them) once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The High Importance people generate 80% of my “emergencies.”

    The problem with most of the autoresponders above is that they ask the other party to call if there is an urgent matter, leaving it to the other party to define “urgent.” Although I have not tested this, I believe that such an autoresponder would actually result in more interruptions via telephone, i.e. simply shifting the mode of interruption.

    My personal tactic is to keep my email checking schedule to myself and get to it when I get to it.

    ###

    Hi Mike,

    Points taken. The conversion rate from e-mail to phone is generally surprisingly low — around 5-15% — but it certainly varies depending on your situation and colleagues.

    Cheers,

    Tim

    Like

  22. I moved to used the standard response. I received dozens of compliments. over the period of two months I was to immediately stop the advertisement of productivity by my boss who months before told me how much she liked it. The best part about the hole process was the email that asked me to stop. It was from someone a couple levels above me who to this day tells me when my out of office is on. The email read, “What is this?” After about two minutes of confusion I just laugh every time I think of that email. After reading this feed I want move to step one of the disappearing act.

    Like

  23. I am not working yet (doing my studies) and all the e-mails I receive are related to my online activities, tasks, reminders and of course, spams.

    It does not often cross 20 daily and I don’t use an auto-respond message just yet. All I use is a message saying I will only reply after 48 hours at my blog’s contact form.

    Like

  24. All of this makes me wonder what we did BEFORE email? Did we get more accomplished, or just try to do less in a day?

    I do not have an auto-responder on my email but I have removed the automatic email check function from my software and keep my Blackberry on “phone only” so I am not notified every time someone sends me a message. I tend to check email about every 2 or 3 hours now during the day and that works well for me. Not once has a client complained because it’s taken me more time to get back to them. It’s been life-altering!

    My own pet peeve is when someone sends me an email and then calls immediately after to notify me that they have sent me an email.

    Like

  25. Hi Tim -

    I fully embrace the idea of not keeping email open all day long. I had done that for quite awhile and then had to revert back.

    But here’s a question for you… I am a programmer and work quite extensively with a collegue in another state and another timezone. I rely on email for projects that we’re working on – including problems and next steps. I also like to keep copies of the email for record keeping.

    My question is how can I best manage email when actively needing to use it to continue work. I was trying to see if there’s a way to get an alert for only his email, but I don’t know if that’s a solution.

    Thanks!

    Like

  26. I use Tim’s idea to put it in my signature.

    I answer e-mail at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., CST. If you need a quicker response, please call.

    I found that the auto-responder was causing more trouble than it saved. Even though I was communicating when I would respond to email, most people considered my auto-reply spam. Now, since I really do work my email twice a day, people think I have excellent and quick service.

    Like

  27. Hey Tim,
    These were fun, thanks for the amusing post! The “Behind the Blog” study will certainly be a good read… especially how you got “first paged” and pissed all the Diggers off :)

    Wow, the Oscars??

    Like

  28. Tim- How do I set up an autoresponder on my FACEBOOK inbox??????

    Cheers
    Sara

    ###

    Facebook is a pain in the ass about this. I don’t believe you can — you need to just set status and hope people see it. I spoke with the Facebook folks and they said as much. Why? Perhaps it forces you to check it compulsively and jack up their pages views? One can only speculate, but I may close my FB account for this reason.

    Tim

    Like

  29. So I just started the twice-a-day check, and I have to say it was a bit of an ego-buster at first. I could have sworn that the world would fall apart if I didn’t check my email every 30 seconds (I was the crack-rat pushing the button)!

    Case Study:
    I had 3 of my email accounts set up on my phone (all checking and downloading every 5 minutes), and my Outlook was set to download every 5, ding and give me a desk top preview. (Can you say, “Crack Head”?!!)

    I’m down to one email account on my phone, now auto-downloaded every 30 minutes (only used by my top-paying client who has NEVER abused it). Outlook is checked at 11 and 5. I’m only having a mild case of the “shakes”. :-)

    Next topic: Does anyone know how to set an auto-responder for Text Messages!?!

    Like

  30. What if you are a small fish in a big corporate sea and the culture of the company and business calls for immediate responses, albeit filled with tremendous waste? I have tried many tactics to reduce email usage, and monitoring, and have not been very successful. Does anyone else feel that the culture of over-communicated and “on demand” business make it nearly impossible to break free from the madness?
    I find the only effective way to mass-manage email is to scan and purge the inbox frequently. But I find myself uncomfortable with that. I guess I’ll have to read and re-read Tim’s posts on letting bad things happen.

    Like

  31. Tim,

    In one of you replies, you mention that you journal alot. I think that would be a great blog topic. I have always thought that journaling would help me with idea creation. But, I honestly have a hard time keeping it up and knowing what to include and how to organize it. I would love some tips on journaling and how you use it in your everyday life.

    Ken

    ###

    Hi Ken,

    Please search “take notes” or “alpha-geek” on this blog and you’ll find the right article :)

    Tim

    Like

  32. Tim,

    I got fed up w/ my free e-mail service being unreliable and made the move to gmail. Whew! In order to remain in contact w/ people and keep advertisers and spammers away,here’s what my Ya*oo address tells people:

    Thank you for writing.

    “My e-mail address is moving.
    If you don’t already know my new address, chances are, you don’t need it.

    If you’d really like it, write and ask. I’ll consider.

    This address is closing down January 1st 2009.

    Please get updated with me before then if you’d like to remain in touch.”

    Most people don’t take offense.
    Most a-holes don’t bother to ask for the new one.
    Really looking forward to the day I NEVER have (choose) to open Ya*oo again!

    Cheers,

    MacEwen

    Like

    • MacEwen,

      I see that you have set up an auto response in your Gmail. I currently have att.net and there is no auto response available with the exception of “Vacation notice” which I have been unable to change the title of. I have not found how to create an auto response on Gmail either.
      Is there a recommended e-mail server that is auto-response friendly?

      Thank you in advance

      Like

  33. Tim, you must live in a very different world from mine. In my world, when I check email only twice a day, no one needs to be notified. They just wait till they hear from me! And I don’t shift the burden onto them with one more unnecessary email to describe the status of our communication.

    Aaron

    ###

    Hi Aaron,

    I do live in a different world — Silicon Valley! Imagine heroin addicts but replace heroin with Blackberries and Helios.

    Tim

    Like

  34. @Mike:

    I can see that it would help some people to limit their email sending usage, but how often do you regulate your email usage based on others?

    I help to regulate their sending habits using free market principles – not responding to give them a supply… =)

    Like

  35. I know this post is highly off topic, however I wasn’t sure where else to post it or to make sure that Mr. Ferriss would see it.

    One thing I think Mr. Ferriss has done quite well was to have lead us all by example, but here I am asking for more. I was hoping he might do a blog concerning a few of his dream lines but much more in-depthly. That means not only completely filling out the forms he has given to us but going the extra mile by providing superfluous explanations and pie charts. Why, you might ask. Well we’d all like to know where the majority of his money comes from…. does the majority of his cash come from book proceeds? Could he have led this life and continue to do so without the cash flow from the book? In fact I hereby challenge Mr. Ferriss to prove to us that he can.

    Also, everyone else might be able to help me with this one, how does he find the deals that he does? I saw one of his videos where he got a fully furnished apartment in Buenos Aires for $250 a week, is that just the price of things there or can he find such deals across the world? In fact how do you find an apartment on that short of notice and that doesn’t make you sign at least a 6-month lease?

    Thanks for your time, and your research in lifestyle design!

    ###

    Hi Josh,

    Thanks for the comment. The book was turned down by 13 out of 14 publishers, and I’ve written about this before, but here’s the short answer: publishing is a TERRIBLE bet for income generation, at least directly from the book. I didn’t need the income from the book to actualize my lifestyle, as evidenced in the examples and costing in the book. Though the cash-flow has become substantial from the book, it’s going directly into investments (more on this in another post soon). I’m not going to give a line-by-line account of my finances for many, many reasons, so sorry about having to decline that, but once you have a stalker or two show up at your mailbox, you realize that keeping some things private is important.

    For good deals, it’s a matter of asking friends, testing different options, and smart Googling :) Try virtualtourist.com for finding gems for traveling.

    Cheers,

    Tim

    Like

  36. OMG Isabelle (comment #1)! I love it! And since I spend 8 hours a day on email, obviously I need rehab. Using Tim as the excuse is brilliant. I’m setting my autoresponders now! Thanks for giving me the final push I needed to kick the habit!

    And thanks Tim. I see my world transforming every day because of the tips you give. Very soon, I forsee an actual life! Now if you could address mini-retirements with preschool/kindergarten age children, you’d solidify your place as my new God. :)

    Like

  37. Hi Tim! This is an off topic comment.
    Do you have any idea of when you´ll be in BsAs again?
    I´m part of the “internet startups” community here and we´re having some informal meetings that we call Palermo Valley Nights (palermovalleyDOTcom, so I don´t spam here :)) and I´ll be glad of share with you a bottle of Finca Flichman ;)

    Like

  38. I am a busy guy, and I get a lot of email. Yes, much of it is a waste of my time, but I do go through it. I am not sure I would put an autoresponder on telling people I am too busy for them….I think that is sort of arrogant and self centered. It says “I am more important than what you have to say” (even if you feel that superior to others, you should not tell them, that is rude).

    I got an auto responder recently that said “Thanks for your message. I am on vacation in the Bahamas until February 23rd. This vacation is necessary because of all the BS I have to put up with regularly. Therefore I am not checking email, as anything you have to say is not important to me while I sip drinks on beautiful beach while you slave away at your dull job”.

    I got a person email upon his return saying he was sorry for his rude email. He had meant to be funny, but discovered it was not taken well by most of the 300 people who got the auto responder.

    Think twice before you put something on your auto-resonder. Think of how others might view your message.

    thom

    Like

  39. Tim – you remind me of the guy at school that would run everywhere he went so that he would save 15 minutes a day in “transportation time.” I agree checking email can be distracting, but surely there’s a better way to limit yourself than telling others that they’re emails are a pain in the ass.

    I will laugh at the day an “I don’t answer my email during the day” autoresponder gets sent to somebody with the same policy – sending hundreds of autoresponders back and forth in utter chaos.

    muahahahaha.

    ###

    I was the kid who ran between classes to lose weight for wrestling, but that’s another story ;)

    Tim

    Like

  40. Hello Tim,

    I hope you had a rocking time at the party, that was a great movie that won. Any suggestions on how to increase traffice to a blog site?

    Cheers

    Jose

    Like

  41. Before Tim, so to speak, I checked email perhaps 2-3 times per hour. After Tim, I tried the 10:00 am / 4:00 pm sked. but found my high-energy mornings were interrupted trying to deal with the 10:00 am emails…many filled with unimportant problems etc.

    It was a very tough habit to break but I now check email only once at around 3:30 pm in the afternoon. I feel my best in the morning so I now reserve that precious time to get my most important/exciting projects done. At the end of the day, I can usually look back and call my day a success.

    EJ

    Like

  42. Hi Tim! I’ve been inspired to put an auto-response on my work email. I think it’s working since people have actually called to tell me that their email is a “must read”. So far, so good! I’ve been in the military for 17 years, have worn the “Bat-Belt” on/off over the years (Blackberry, Palm & mobile phone) and am continually appalled at how people (read: BOSS) will email rather than walk 20 feet or call, just so that the conversation is well-documented. That’s the CYA concept for ya!

    Like

  43. Hi — I read recently, perhaps in the NY Times (inspired by the 4HWW?), where a reporter gave up email for a week. Instead, she relied on the telephone. As usual, she initially suffered the usual anxiousness one experiences when giving up a habit; nervousness, irritability…a sense of impending doom! But after a week she found she focused less on the trivial and more on the important. And by using the phone she developed actual relationships with those she communicated with that she never did before.

    With regards to the auto-responder, I forgot to mention I don’t use one. As mentioned, I check email everyday at 3:30 pm so I usually am able to respond to everyone the same day. And I don’t give out my cell phone number. I let most of my calls roll into voicemail that I check a couple of times a day and that I return as well in the afternoon. I have to say, I feel quite liberated breaking free (sort of) from the email ball and chain. A wonderful feeling.

    Like

  44. Love the 4-Day Work Week. If you are only 31 years old – you look really old per your picture. Bad photographer? I would have guessed you in your fifties.

    Are your interests and driving personality wearing on you? This is not meant to be a criticism – just an observation.

    ###

    LOL… wow. I’m not sure how to answer that. Most people guess mid-20′s when they meet me, so I guess it must be the photographs :)

    Tim

    Like

  45. These are some excellent points indeed! Now that I’ve adopted a personal policy of reading less email, I have more time to check out blogs like this one! Keep up the great suggestions!

    Like

  46. Thanks for the great post Tim! I just picked up a copy of your book last week, and I love it. I have to say, I didn’t pick it up earlier, because I thought it would be some kind of get rich quick scheme-y thing. So glad I was wrong.

    That is what I get for judging the book by the cover ;)

    A couple resources I have found:
    #19 Pascal:
    I am with you – I hate the phone. I signed up for Callwave.com’s visual voicemail, so all of my voice mails arrive transcribed in my email box now. The cost probably isn’t worth it for many, but the service is a huge timesaver for me. There is a free trial.

    #38 Ken: Notetaking/Organizing:
    I use Microsoft OneNote and have no idea how i lived without it (yes. i did say that in the same sentence with the word ‘Microsoft’). It lets you set up notebooks with sections & pages.

    The 2 nicest features:
    1) when i copy and paste from a website, it automatically generates a link back to the page i copied from, so when i am reviewing my notes, i can find/reference the source material very easily.

    2) Can save directly from outlook to OneNote, so I no longer have a 4BG outlook backup file. (which makes your whole computer drag).

    You can download a 30-day trial and the best price on OneNote is at Amazon for about $60.

    Thanks to all the follow-up comments on the posts on this blog. They are really helpful!

    Cheers,

    Kelly

    Like

  47. Come on Tim!

    What do you need to tell me when you´ll be again in Baires?

    Ok, I´m raising my invitation: not a Finca Flichman, but a “Fond de Cave Reserva” Is that enough?

    Like

  48. Hi Tim & Everyone,

    I love reading this blog since there is always something interesting and new in there.

    IMHO, the real trick lies not in autoresponders and the such, but in formulating your instructions in a way that people don’t need to doublecheck or get back to you for further instructions. That way all the email you ever get are confirmatory “job done” emails and loveletters from your friends and family. Besides, if people don’t get a reply straight away they usually find a way to solve the problem without your input, autoresponder or not.

    Cheers,
    Stef

    Like

  49. Tim, subo la oferta:

    Hacemos un Terrazas Cabernet, cómo la ves?

    Aparte te presento a los organizadores de Palermo Valley (ayer juntamos 300 personas en un bar sólo a través de twitter) y a los de StartMeUp Argentina, que llenamos 500 lugares para el evento en 36 horas.

    Cóom la ves?

    Like

  50. I send a few huge files to myself just before going on holiday. We only have 500MB of storage per user, so anything sent while I am away gets bounced back, and its the ‘systems’ fault not mine:)

    I have done the same with voice mail – our provider lets you store 50 messages – just leave plenty and its soon message full time.

    Like

  51. Hello, this is Carl Kasell of the NPR news quiz, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

    Patrick will be out of the office until next Tuesday, at which time he’ll be able to read your email.

    Have a nice day.

    Like

  52. I have now ‘enforced’ my new email policy to varying effects. Ironically enough in the first week the vast majority of email has been collegues just wanting to see the reply. Please also see my response to anyone who flips out about it. My message below:

    Dear Friends and Colleagues,

    In an effort to increase productivity and efficiency I am beginning a new personal email policy. I’ve recently realized I spend more time shuffling through my inbox than I do focusing on the task at hand. It has become an unnecessary distraction that ultimately creates longer lead times on my ‘to do’ list.

    Going forward I will be checking/responding to email that has been sent directly to me at 11am and 4pm on weekdays. Emails that have been cc’d to me will be read and replied to, if required, twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday therefore if you require me to take action please send it to me directly. I will try and respond to email in a timely manner without neglecting the needs of the business.

    If you need an immediate time-sensitive response…please don’t hesitate to call me on my mobile (XYZ).

    Hopefully this new approach to email management will result in shorter lead times with more focused & creative work on my part. Cheers

    All the best,

    Kai

    Responding to someone getting a bit angry that every time they send me an email they get the out of office reply……

    I thank you for your frank feedback – yes I do understand that this will happen. If you seriously have an issue with receiving this automated reply, and understand my new email policy, I will be more than happy to come up to your office to set an email rule that will send it to the trash whenever it reaches your inbox :)

    My favourite – Here is a friends very humourous modification…….

    I will be out of the office starting 22/05/2008 and will not return until ever…….

    Dear Friends and Colleagues,

    In an effort to increase personal productivity and efficiency I am beginning a new personal email policy. I’ve recently realized I spend more time shuffling through my inbox than I do focusing on my personal life.

    It has become an unnecessary distraction that ultimately creates longer lead times on my ‘social interaction’ list.

    Going forward I will be checking/responding to email that has been sent directly to me at 8am-8.05am on weekdays. Emails that have been cc’d to me will be read and replied to only if they are humorous. I will try and respond to your email in a timely manner without neglecting the needs of my personal business.

    If you need an immediate time-sensitive response…please don’t call me.

    Hopefully this new approach to email management will result in shorter lead times with more focused & creative socialising on my part. Cheers

    All the best,

    Like

  53. dude, I love this…..what it makes me think is that if you are this busy then you must be great at whatever you do and you know the value of your time. I think that the first one said something about increasing lead times. Well, if you have a service or product that you are sending out to customers then I think that the customers are going to think that you are working to get things out as soon as possible but that you will get back to them in a timely manner.

    It’s sets expectations and most people can respect that

    Like

  54. Make your point in 140 characters is my motto.
    Therefore, my autoresponder is as follows:

    Dear email sender,

    I highly appreciate it that you sent me an email.
    I will read your message, unfortunately I dont have time to respond to all my emails.

    In an effort to increase productivity and efficiency I am beginning a new personal email policy. I’ve recently realized I spend more time shuffling through my inbox and less time focused on the task at hand. It has become an unnecessary distraction that ultimately creates longer lead times on my ever-growing ‘to do’ list.

    * Are you looking for product information?
    Check out my website: http://www.brandingpersonality.com

    * Need a quick response to your message?
    Send me a message on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/hensel

    * Want to schedule an appointment?
    Please check my agenda to see which dates & times are available and send me a Google Calendar invite.

    http://www.mariekehensel.nl/mijn-agenda/

    * Anything else?
    For all longer or irregular requests, one of my assistents will be happy to help you 24/7 on the phone: +1 877 747 3263

    Here’s to life outside of my inbox,

    Marieke Hensel
    We take your name to fame!

    Like

  55. Hi,

    Does anyone know how to create an autoresponder in Apple Mail (Tiger) and MS Outlook 2003 (Windows), that can be limited to be send only once every 4 days or let’s say a week to the same recipient, is customizable (text and title, so not with the default “Out-of-office” title) and is running/working even when the computer (client) is is powered off???

    I’ve been searching for hours and still haven’t found the solution. :((
    Your help is very much appreciated!!

    Greetz,

    Vincent

    Like

  56. Tim,
    Yesterday I used one of the autoresponder templates, with some minor tweaks:(See below)

    I was called into a conference room by my supervisor with a print out of it in his hand, saying: “I understand where you’re coming from, but I’ve already had one complaint from someonw saying, you mean he won’t have his email open all day!” We just need you to stay on top of every email, this is how we run. I explained i have my meeting reminder and email open i just am not going to respond unless need be except the hours listed. I won’t miss a thing, just trying to repel the 100 or so employees who feel the need to respond to ALL that they’re happy we got donuts or bagels today.
    His answer, oh just delete them.
    Problem is is when you work for a large corporation that does not measure productivity, offering to quadruple it means nothing cause they don’t measure it anyway. F’ing pissed me off.
    But hey, I tried.
    They may have won the battle but I do not give up that easily. I t will probably cost me my job in the end, but this is insanity!
    I dig the book, keep the advice and facts rolling!
    -Chris

    “Hi all…

    In an effort to increase productivity and efficiency I am beginning a new personal email policy. I’ve recently realized I spend more time shuffling through my inbox and less time focused on the task at hand. It has become an unnecessary distraction that ultimately creates longer lead times on my ever-growing ‘to do’ list.

    Going forward I will only be checking/responding to email at 11a and 4p on weekdays. I will try and respond to email in a timely manner without neglecting the needs of our clients and brand identity.

    If you need an immediate time-sensitive response… please don’t hesitate to call me. Phones are more fun anyways.

    Hopefully this new approach to email management will result in shorte rproduction times with more focused & creative work on my part.

    Cheers & here’s to life outside of my inbox! “

    Like

  57. Jeepers! Today was day 1 of having my auto responder on – and I’ve ALREADY had complaints.. One client in particular saying to me “AND NOW??? WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?????”

    and yes, he was shouting – he’s that kind of guy! I wonder how long it’s going to take to train people to respect my time!!
    My response to him was this:

    Dear XXX

    E-mail is the largest single interruption in modern life. In a digital world, creating time therefore hinges on minimizing e-mail.

    In an effort to increase productivity and efficiency I have begun a new personal email policy. I’ve recently realized I spend more time shuffling through my inbox and less time focused on the task at hand. It has become an unnecessary distraction that ultimately creates longer lead times on my ever-growing ‘to do’ list.

    I will respond to email in a timely manner without neglecting the needs of my clients.

    As mentioned below, if you need an immediate time-sensitive response…
    please don’t hesitate to call me.

    Hopefully this new approach to email management will result in shorter lead times with more focused & creative work on my part.

    Kind regards
    Samantha

    Needless to say – not a peep to be heard back from him.. :)

    Like

  58. Dear Mr. Fourhourweek,

    Thank you for your recent post to your blog which triggered a rss to email alert to autoresponder to imacros script email trigger to comment post.

    I am sure it was very interesting and that I will enjoy listening to it while I am jogging after the text is copied and converted to mp3 and streamed to my cell.

    I have enjoyed listening to all your posts and book in the past.

    A FAN :)

    Like

  59. I’ve cleared my desk so I won’t be distracted. I’m reading the book. I get to page 94 and think, “What they hey? I’ll send the email.”

    What I get in response is a permanent failure message. You’re right. This is an excellent strategy for cutting down on your email. I’m going to try it next week.

    Like

  60. Dear Tim,

    In your Dutch version of the 4 Hour Work Week, there is a passage on how to implement the auto responder. You mentioned your own autoresponder at the email adress timothy@brainquicken.com or timothy@brain-quicken.com (at the end of a line and the word is broken off). I was very curious and send you a mail. But it seems the address does not excist. Can you please give the example of the autoresponder you currently use for brainquicken.
    Thank you.

    warm regards from the Netherlands,

    MarieL

    Like

  61. Just added mine to ONLY check email once a week on Fridays! What a relief … thanks Tim! You’re enabling me to spend more time with my 12 month old son. :) Andrea

    Here is my new autoresponder….

    SUBJECT: Thank you for your email :)

    MSG: Thank you for your message!

    In an effort to increase my precious time with my 12 month old son and become more efficient with my current workload:

    *I am currently only checking and responding to all emails at 9am PST on Fridays.*

    IF YOU ARE AN EC SIMPLIFIED READER/CUSTOMER:
    If you’ve written to me about EC Simplified, do not worry…your email was also copied to my teammate and, if urgent, it will be handled promptly! You can also visit my FAQ page for more help with common questions: …

    URGENT MATTERS:
    If you require urgent assistance (please ensure it is urgent) that can not wait until 9am PST on Friday, please contact me via phone at 555-555-5555. My team checks this voicemail as messages are received and can alert me to your urgent needs or take care of them for you.

    Thank you for understanding this move to more efficiency and more time with my son. It helps support all of us!

    Warmly,
    Andrea

    Like

  62. I slightly edited my auto responder. From “Due to high work,” I now have “To fully author my life…” The reason I made this change is that the previous opening gave a message that I was overwhelmed by work and not in control of the design of my life. With the edited new opening, I affirm that I am the author of my day, I design my life. Which, I believe, is more in tune with the philosophy of the NR life style….. ;)
    Warmly,
    Aldo

    Like

  63. I was recently on a Southwest flight enjoying a mini retirement :) and reading their Spirit magazine when I came across an interesting article about a new start up that goes through your email, automatically finds all your subscriptions, and condenses them into one email per day (that you can even choose when to receive). It takes 2 minutes to set up and is very simple. Just go to unroll.me and follow the few simple steps. I just signed up today and am looking forward to a much cleaner inbox :)

    Like

  64. A little bit of everything. Deflect, deflect, deflect.

    With a little bit of humor, and a combination of a bunch of different autoresponders, I was able to write the following. I was very appreciative that I had access to all of this information and I wanted to follow suit and share mine.

    The point of this is to deflect all questions back to the individual so that they can find the answer on their own…and quicker. I don’t leave my cell phone number in the autoresponse because if it is someone important they should already have it.

    I have a support team for a reason and they should be utilized. The specifics of when I am actually checking email I find important, I just didn’t feel it was important enough to tell the client that bit of information, it may or may not coe off rude so I just left it out. If you read the below carefully, I have inadvertently told the sender that your emergency is not my emergency and there is someone else who can probably answer your questions a lot quicker than I will…and this is how you can contact them or find the information you are looking for.

    This going live today. If I remember I will follow up with how it went. Enjoy!

    Thanks T – your 4HWW mantra is so inspiring and I have appreciated it very much. Keep doing what you do because you do it really well.

    Subject: Help me…help you. Help me, help you.

    That’s what I’m talking about!

    Jerry Maguire? No? Well, I thought it was…forget it.

    Anyways, I really care about your time and needs (no joke) and I want to be absolutely certain that I am able to offer you the best possible service and care and I want to do that in the most effective and efficient way possible.

    Hence, the autoresponder…and some quick links to help you get the information you need so that you can keep moving forward with your day and the task at hand. Sound good?

    For complete product information and links to our manufacturers websites, please see our new line card here: <>

    To request a quote or inquire about a product, please see our quote request page here: <>

    For technical assistance, product information, service requests, and parts orders please contact one of our applications engineers here: <>

    For order status, ship dates, lead times, billing information, and general inquiries please contact our office here: <>

    Please take advantage of my entire team and the information above for the fastest possible response. They work tirelessly to ensure that we are continuously exceeding your expectations!

    If your question requires urgent assistance and cannot be answered by one of my team members send me a text message or call me on my cell phone and I will respond to you as fast as I am able to.

    What is the point of all this? Hopefully, this approach will result in shorter response times with more focused and creative work on my part and will help me accomplish more to serve you better.

    All the Best,

    Me

    Like

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