Use Your Out of Office Message to Change Your Life

When you open your email inbox after a vacation do you ever take the time to analyze what happened? Usually, over a short period of time people generally get the point and stop 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.

So why not 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 and try 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 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?

Commuting School: Learn Anything in No Extra Time

 

Have you ever wanted to navigate patent law, learn a new programming language, solve for X in a Diophantine equation? How would you like to learn it almost automatically, without having to spend any extra time on it throughout your day?

I was first introduced to the term No Extra Time (NET) by Tony Robbins.  While I had occasionally used my commute time productively, I wasn’t necessarily paying attention to the potential power that this force could have. That was years ago and learning something on my commute meant fumbling CD’s in and out of my car’s CD changer and trying to keep the order of them correct.

Now I have a library of  iTunes and podcasts at my fingertips. And if I’m taking a train, there’s even more opportunity to learn from the rich video learning experiences available.

The true beauty of NET time is that its otherwise essentially wasted time. How can you use it? 

The average commute for a person in the U.S. is somewhere around 26 minutes per day each way.  52 minutes a day times the average number of working days per year… I wonder if that’ll be enough to learn that thing you’ve always wanted to learn?

I bet it is. Have a productive commute.