Two E-Mail Autoresponses That Work

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E-mail is the single largest interruption in modern life.

In a digital world, creating time hinges on minimizing it.

The first step towards controlling the e-mail impulse is setting up an autoresponse, which indicates you will be checking e-mail twice per day or less. This is an example of “batching” tasks, or performing like tasks at set times, between which you let them accumulate.

In this post, I will share two of my own tried-and-true e-mail autoresponses, one short and one long.

Your success with batching — whether laundry, phone calls, or e-mail — will depend on two factors: your ability to train others to respect these intervals, and, much more difficult, your ability to discipline yourself to follow your own rules.

So what works?

Before my current examples, let’s look at a basic template from The 4-Hour Workweek. Readers have tested this one in 30+ languages:

Greetings, Friends [or Esteemed Colleagues],

Due to high workload, I am currently checking and responding to e-mail twice daily at 12: 00 P.M. ET [or your time zone] and 4: 00 P.M. ET.

If you require urgent assistance (please ensure it is urgent) that cannot wait until either 12: 00 P.M. or 4: 00 P.M., please contact me via phone at 555-555-5555.

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

Sincerely,

[Your name]

The above is simple but works. Furthermore, bosses respond better than you’d think. Here’s a real-world example.

Now, on to my current faves… Read More

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How Authors Really Make Money: The Rebirth of Seth Godin and Death of Traditional Publishing

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What do the economics of publishing look like… really? (Photo: thinkpanama)

(Special thanks to my agent, Steve Hanselman, and my anonymous sources within the world’s biggest publishing houses)

Print is dead!

This has become a popular headline, and a great way to get quoted, as Nicholas Negroponte has shown. Iconic author Seth Godin, after 12 bestsellers, just announced that he will no longer pursue traditional publishing, and the writing seems to be on the wall: the e-book is the future, plain and simple.

But what are the real concrete numbers? How are established authors actually making money, and what should new authors do? Go straight to e-book?

In this post, I’ll look at real-world numbers to discuss some hard truths of publishing, explain economics and pay-offs, and provide a few suggestions for aspiring authors.

To start, some contrasting numbers… Read More

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Cold Remedy: Free Flights Anywhere in the World

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Where would you go if you had a free ticket anywhere? The island of Bohol in the Philippines? (source: WisDoc)

Not long ago, I received the following comment — edited for length — from Ryan N.:

I hate you Tim. I had a secure future ahead of me, and I left my job, my reasonably well paying professional career all because of your book. Best thing I’ve ever done!!

I was wondering if you might be able to put up a blog post where people could post their ideas or muses as case studies. I’m sure there are a lot of people like me who would like to share their stories and listen to others living the 4HWW.

Here’s to 2010 being the year everything changes.

Indeed. Here’s to 2010 being the year everything changes.

I decided to take Ryan’s advice. Below is a post of just a few select video case studies. This is also where you can win a round-trip ticket anywhere in the world.

That would be a nice way to start 2010 with a bang, right?… Read More

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How I Did It: From $7 an Hour to Coaching Major League Baseball MVPs

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Jaime Cevallos and the MP30 Training Bat (Source: Jaime Cevallos)

“Cevallos told Zobrist [Tampa Bay Rays MVP] he could turn him into a power hitter…The results have been remarkable.”
- ESPN The Magazine

This article will tell the inspiring story of Jaime Cevallos, who went from $7 an hour to coaching MVPs in Major League Baseball, automating his income in the process.

Jaime is now — in many respects — set. But how did he do it?

Some of the questions I asked Jaime include:

1) What is your muse [automated business]?
2) How did you contact the initial MLB players, and what exact wording did you use?
3) What things were much easier than expected, and which things were much harder?
4) To those people who haven’t yet tried to create a muse, what 3-5 pieces of advice would you give them?
5) What mistakes did you make, and what did you learn from them?… Read More

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No More Excuses – How to Make an Extra $100,000 in the Next 6 Months

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The Wilburns have created a multinational from their home.(Photo: Dana Smith)

“So, do you have any ideas?”

“Well, if we’re going to do something, it should be big. It should make people sit up and say OMFG. Make people actually do something,” I responded.

The conversation continued in front of the Thai restaurant, me pacing on my cell phone in San Francisco — foregoing food in excitement — and Tobi in his offices in Ottawa, Canada.

We decided in the subsequent 10 minutes to offer $100,000 cash as a bribe to you all. The overview?

* $100,000 for the grand winner
* $120,000 total in prizes
* 6 months starting January 1 but you can (and should) get started now
* Even if you don’t win the prizes, you should end up with a viable business at the end of 6 months

The details make it even better… Read More

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Sneak Peek: The New and Expanded 4-Hour Workweek is Here

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The 4-Hour Workweek was first published April 27th, 2007.

I did my best to cover all of the bases when it debuted, but there were gaps. Though I included cases studies of families using lifestyle design, for example, it was hard to find more than a few the first time around.

Not anymore. Things have changed. There are more than 30,000 comments on this blog, hundreds of people have shared their successes and failures via detailed e-mail, and both case studies and experiments continue to flow in from around the world.

This doesn’t mean that the current edition doesn’t do the job — it does — but more than 40 printings and 35 languages later, a new and expanded edition has finally been completedRead More

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Napoleon on News and Information Management (Plus: Video on Outsourcing E-mail and More)

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(Photo: Dunechaser)

Napoleon, though mostly known as a little man with a funny hat, is regarded as one of history’s great commanders. He was also well-known for his unusual but effective methods of information management.

Here are just two examples from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay entitled “Napoleon, or The Man of the World“… Read More

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How Not to Use a Lawyer – A Personal Case Study (Plus: Protocol Marketing correction)

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Ah, lawyers. It’s a love-hate relationship.

Just this week alone, I’m working with a literary attorney (publishing), an entertainment attorney (TV), and a corporate financing attorney (angel investments).  All three are great.

Yesterday, though, I received the threatening letter below from Protocol Integrated Direct Marketing, whose call centers I recommend in the 4HWW. WTF?

Click to enlarge… Read More

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Random and Fun Announcements: Keynote with Mike Shinoda, Inc. 500, Madrid Party, More…

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Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park: more than 50 million albums and counting. (Photo: norrelb)

Rather than sprinkle these announcements around, I figured I’d just load up one post. Hope to bump into some of you at one of these!

Keynote with Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park in Las Vegas

I’ll be doing an opening keynote with Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame at BlogWorldExpo in Las Vegas, Sept. 21st at 9am. Hosted with Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy Worldwide, it’s going to be a blast. Here’s what we’ll be covering… Read More

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The Fortune 500 4-Hour Workweek: Multiplying Output in Groups (Plus: Downloadable Checklists)

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For English subtitles, choose “Danish” from the “Choose Language…” drop-down.

There is a misconception that lifestyle design is just for entrepreneurs or CEOs.

In reality, the principles — borrowed from economics and behavioral psychology — can be applied within organizations and groups with even more dramatic effects.

Just watch the 25-minute segment above from the Danish equivalent of the BBC (DR1), where lifestyle design is tested by both an employee at insurance giant Codan and by the CEO of a fast-growing microbrewery. For English subtitles, choose “Danish” from the “Choose Language…” drop-down.

Who made more progress? The boss or the person with a boss? The results might surprise you… Read More

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