When you open your email inbox after a vacation do you ever take the time to analyze what happened? It turns out that over that short period of time people generally got the point and after the first couple days they stopped emailing you frivolously.
Could receiving less unnecessary email benefit you?
If you want more time in your day and a more valuable inbox all you need to do is re-create the vacation email phenomenon all the time instead of just when you’re actually on vacation. The way to do that – utilize the Out of Office message even when you’re in the office.
Whether you want to use it to the extreme that Tim Ferris talks about in “The Four Hour Workweek” in order to build independence or you’re just looking to change some of your co-workers behaviors so you receive 15% less email at work, the automated reply or Out of Office is key.
So what does an Out of Office message look like when you’re actually in the office and just trying to make a point? Keep it simple, something like “thank you for your email; I’m currently trying an experiment to reduce email clutter. If I am CC’d this will get filed without review. If there are more than 2 people on the To: line this will get de-prioritized as well. If this is something important or urgent please follow up with a conversation. Thank you.”
People can’t get mad at you when you say it’s an experiment.
After a couple days or weeks people will get the message and stop emailing you unless it’s incredibly important. With all that free time, because we all know email takes up way too much time, you’ll be able to focus on the things that will really bring you value and could in the end change your life. After all, wouldn’t your life be different if you spent that 15% more time with your kids, or finding ways to be exponentially better at your job, or creating your micro-business?
What would you do with that 15% of your time back every day or week?