Sometimes I do something less than ideal so I can do something else that’s more than ideal.
Sometimes I allow someone I don’t know to possibly feel ignored so that the people I love feel acknowledged.
Sometimes I wish I had eight arms, but wonder what kind of shirts I would wear.
There’s only one thing I hate more than putting an email auto responder up during the summer:
Not putting an email auto responder up during the summer.
An email auto responder is an automatic message where a robot in your computer immediately responds to anyone who emails you with an email message that you’ve written at an earlier time. They usually get the response within 60 seconds of sending you an email so at first they are pleasantly surprised to see an email in their inbox from you so quickly, only to realize that not only did you not personally respond to them, you are telling them you aren’t even going to be reading their email anytime in the immediate future. Or something like that. Robots may or may not be involved.
Part of me says it is SO RUDE to have an auto responder up. People have taken the time to email me.
And another part of me says Who do I think I am that I can’t dare put up an auto responder?
- Am I The Pope?
- Will the world end if I put up an auto responder?
- Will people die?
- Will my reputation suffer?
- Will my business suffer?
- Will I be breaking my commitments?
- Will the spirit of my online presence be affected negatively if I’m unavailable for a while?
I am not a pastor, a counselor, a doctor or a psychic. One of the perks of my job is that I don’t need to be available via email all the time. It’s not a promise I’ve made and my work isn’t dependent on it. In a way, my work is hindered by constantly being available via email.
For many of us, if we don’t check our inbox for a week we’ll miss announcements, last-minute inquiries to volunteer, reminders to vote for contests, requests to donate to good causes, blog posts from our favorite writers and other fun but not life altering information.
- Will some people think an auto responder is rude? Maybe.
- Will you miss some opportunities? Probably.
- Will you create more time to spend doing the parts of work you love, and summering with your family? Absolutely.
I support our family with my online business and I’m still able to go for days during the summer checking my email just once a week if I need to.
Because most of my online presence doesn’t really require that I be constantly available via email.
And for the parts that do, I’ve already made arrangements.
The truth is, there are no paint color emergencies.
Help Yourself By Getting Help
Maybe your inbox does receive emails that need to be read and need a quick response.
Like Emily mentioned in this audio (we’ll be adding an extra audio/podcast in a few days), some of her emails are from hurting people reaching out or young girls nervously writing an author who has impacted their life. She wants to make sure she reads and responds to these emails so, she has a smart assistant who makes sure her inbox is organized.
Getting help from an email auto responder or from a real live person is a wonderful way to gift yourself with a little more time this summer.
It’s considerate to others because they took the time to contact you and might be wondering how quickly they can expect a response.
It’s considerate to yourself because you know your inbox is covered, so if Oprah or Ellen or the Pope email you, they know you’ll be checking it in time and it’s not on you to constantly check in to see what opportunities, sales or distractions you can find out about.
The best part...if someone emails you asking for last-minute help and you read it three days later, you know they weren’t left wondering if you would be able to help and you don’t even need to send a response or apology–they already know you weren’t checking your inbox–how wonderful is that?!
Here’s my 2015 Summer auto responder so far. I usually tweak it during the summer. Sometimes I try to be funny, sometimes I’m extra apologetic, this year, I’m simply to the point:
Subject: Email 1990’s Style
This summer I’m doing less email and focusing more on creating–I hope that benefits all of us.
I won’t be checking or responding to email as quickly as I normally do.
If you have a Nesting Place emergency or need assistance as a sponsor or advertiser email Caroline : firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a question about the Cozy Minimalist Course email Brian: brian
Thanks for your kind understanding and for taking the time out of your day to reach out to me.
If you use Gmail you can create an auto response by going to
settings —> general then scroll down to Vacation Responder.
Here’s my last auto response after a break I took earlier this year mostly to break myself of the habit of checking my email entirely too often: