Tim Ferris' Email Auto-Responses Can Help You Manage Your Inbox

Tim Ferris' Email Auto-Responses Can Help You Manage Your Inbox

We all rely on email, we all know it can get overwhelming. To get back in control, Tim Ferris suggests setting up auto-responses that make it clear you only check your emails at certain times of day. He even offers his own for you to try out yourself.

Picture: James Steidl/Shutterstock

Sticking to a self-imposed rule of only checking email at certain times each day can be difficult, but it's not impossible. We've looked at various techniques for coping with email overload, including setting up auto-responses.

Tim has a few sample replies that you can tailor to suit your needs. There are two variants of the short version is ideal -- one for anyone with an assistant, and one for the rest of us. The longer version conveys more information that aims to answer common questions. What they both have in common is that they make it clear that you are unavailable and senders should not expect to receive an immediate response.

The short version for people with an assistant reads:

SUBJECT LINE: IMPORTANT -- Please Email [Assistant's Name] if Urgent

Hi All,

Due to other commitments, I'm checking email no more than once a week, often less. If it's truly urgent (cannot wait a week), please call or email my assistant. If you don't have her info, thank you for waiting until we get back to the inbox.

All the best to you and yours,

Tim

If you don't have an assistant, try this version:

Hi All,

Due to other commitments, I'm checking email no more than once a week, often less. If it's truly urgent (cannot wait a week), please call my cell. If you don't have it, thank you for waiting until I can get back to the inbox.

All the best to you and yours,

Tim

The longer version offers more information and flexibility, but still assumes you have a delegate of some kind -- even a coworker -- who can ping you if something super-urgent comes up:

SUBJECT LINE: IMPORTANT -- Please Email [Delegate's Name] if Urgent

Hi All,

Sadly, due to deadlines, I am unable to read or respond to most email. Please don't be offended, as this is true even for close friends.

If you genuinely need to reach me urgently (if it can wait a week, it's not urgent) --

- If you have my cell phone, try and call or text me.

- Otherwise, please email [delegate's email address].

For other contacts besides [delegate], please go here:

[insert "Contact" page URL from website]

Thanks very much for understanding!

All the best to you and yours,

Tim

Word the auto-response correctly, and politely, and you can ensure you don't open your inbox only to be greeted by countless "did you read my email?" messages, and you can deal with your correspondence in your own time.

Click through to see the templates which you can tweak as necessary to reflect when you will check your emails.

Two email Autoresponses That Work [The Blog of Tim Ferris]

WATCH MORE: Tech News & Life Hacks

Comments

    Maybe superstars can afford such arrogance. If you're a small business you wouldn't last five minutes. If you're an employee your boss may have something to say. If this is for your personal email you may find your friends contacting you a lot less often.

      I was thinking this is a fantastic way to lose clients and piss off your superiors (of course your colleagues will get pissed off as well, but they're not as likely to directly fire you for it).

    This is probably the dumbest thing i have seen.
    Only checking emails once a week is insane, and basically telling people they arent important enough for your attention if they dont have your assistants contact details is offensive.

    I dont know how Tim Ferris is but i am sure is he an asshat if he treats peoples emails like this.

    Agreed. This is the kind of thing a normal person can't pull off. I couldn't even, when working in a Council IT department, pull off the 8:30am, pre-lunch, and end of day 3x a day email schedule. Everyone whinged that I was "not responsive" and "ignoring them". And when I was a legit superstar in a well-known tech company, I was too much in demand as the person who could always find the answer or tell people where to find the answer, to be able to do this and maintain superstar status. Nowadays, I do tend to check email from home to see if anything critical has happened overnight, and if not, I go into work and give myself 2 hours to get something done without looking at email first thing. And then I monitor it carefully for the rest of the day.

    I checked my email twice while reading that article...

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now