How available are you?
Do you have email on 24/7? Does your phone buzz when someone tweets you? Do you wake up to that familiar red light flashing on your Blackberry?
What about times when you’re in a meeting? With a client? On the phone? When you’re travelling, driving, at a conference or attending training? When you’re off work? On holiday, with your kids, on a date, in the bath or asleep?
Whether you like it or not, there will be times when you’re not available to answer emails – and probably arguably plenty more times when you could do with being less available.
Yes there’s often an expectation that email requires a quick, or even instant response. Yes, some industries and organisational cultures actively perpetuate this expectation.
But I wonder, how much of that expectation do we set ourselves?
Here are a couple of examples of people taking control of their inboxes and setting their own email availability expectations.
Linda West at Clear Accounting Solutions was inspired to implement this after a talk I gave on ‘How to Be a Productivity Ninja’:
What I love about this example is it highlights the reason why Linda won’t be responding to emails straight away – so that her clients get her full attention. If I was a client seeing this message I’d find that pretty reassuring.
She says “It has helped a lot already. I do not feel the pressure to answer straight away; giving me a clear head to work on the clients work I am doing. I know that if it is urgent; they will call me.”
And the following from Sarah Bishop at Recruit Recruit just made me laugh out loud – which is always a good thing in my book. I’ve not even met her yet and I like her already:
What about you? How do you set expectations on your availability? What’s the best email autoresponse you’ve seen? Let me know in the comments below.
And if you want to get your emails under control, ask me about our Getting Your Inbox to Zero workshop.