My New Email Autoresponse: Inspired by Tim Ferriss & Gary Vee

My New Email Autoresponse: Inspired by Tim Ferriss & Gary Vee

email_overwhelm2Whether you’ve read Timothy Ferriss’ Four Hour Workweek or not, I’m sure you’re familiar with “vacation responders.” Essentially, whenever someone emails you, your email program automatically triggers a canned response to that person.

In his book, one of the many lifehacks Tim Ferriss describes is dramatically decreasing the amount of time you spend reading/responding to email. Tim suggests limiting email checking to two times per day and setting up an autoresponse message such as the following:

“In an effort to be more effective and productive, I’m now only checking email two times per day at 10:00am PT and 4:00pm PT. If you need a response outside of these times, please call my assistant at xxx-xxx-xxxx.”

I went through a period of time attempting to implement Tim’s email system. But it just didn’t work for me. It was too structured and I found I couldn’t just check twice a day.

timferriss However, meantime, my email inbox continued to bulge with incoming messages and I frequently found myself challenged to keep up with the volume.

Not to mention there is now Facebook email (and the more friends you have the more email you’ll receive!), emails on other sites like LinkedIn, Plaxo, YouTube, etc. Plus Twitter @ messages and DM’s (direct messages). Whew, time to declare email bankruptcy? Not so fast.

Though I certainly subscribe to Tim’s “low information diet” philosophy (I never read newspapers online or offline, nor on TV) – I also happen to be a raving fan of Gary Vaynerchuk‘s “respond to every single email for the rest of your freakin’ life” philosophy!!! 😉

So, here’s what I came up with as my new and improved autoresonder. You’re more than welcome to emulate the style (please don’t copy it verbatim though!)


Thank you so much for your message.

If I could clone myself or give up sleep, I’d personally answer every single legit email. Ha!

Given neither is a viable option, just know that I’ve received and read your email and will be doing my level best to respond as quickly as I can.

If your matter is urgent and important (and especially if you’d like to chat with me about an interview, joint venture, or being a guest on your radio show, teleseminar or workshop), you’re welcome to reach me any of these alternative ways:

  1. Skype: marismith_sandiego
  2. Cell: 858-xxx-xxxx (leave a voicemail)
  3. Twitter DM: (if I’m not yet following you back, send me an @ message asking me to follow you!) 😉
  4. Contact my assistant, Christina:

If your matter is non-urgent, non-important, and non-private – how about writing on my Facebook wall instead? I read all my wall posts.

Go to: – I’m almost at the 5,000 friend limit though. So, if we’re not yet friends, please go to my Facebook Page and become a fan, then write on my wall there. Thanks!

Also, follow me on Twitter and send me an @ message: I do my best to respond to all @ messages.

Please also check out my Facebook blog for how-to tips & strategies:

Thanks heaps for understanding!!


Mari Smith
Relationship Specialist | Internet Marketing Consultant
Facebook Business Coach | mari [at]
858-xxx-xxxx (home/office) | 858-xxx-xxxx (cell)
Skype: marismith_sandiego

* Facebook for Professionals:

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I have this set up as a rule in Outlook – with a ton of exceptions as I don’t need this AR going out to every single person who emails me. (Note all contact numbers and email address are formatted properly in the AR; I tweaked for this blog post.)

Here’s a fun response I just received from one of my buds:


What do you think? Do you use an autoresponder system to manage your email relationships? Are you more of a Tim Ferriss low-information type, or are you a Gary Vaynerchuk nose-to-the-grindstone answer all type? 😉

Mari Smith

Forbes Top Social Media Power Influencer | Facebook Marketing Expert | Globe-trotting Speaker, Author | 'Mari like Ferrari' | Bubbly Scottish-Canadian!

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  1. George on October 8, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    I looked at Tim’s system too Mari, but I love the way you’ve enhanced his system to fit into your own schedule and work/lifestyle. We can all benefit from this. You just keep coming up with cool creative ideas! Thanks and…
    keep up the great work!


  2. Karen McMillan on October 8, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I LOVE Tim Ferriss 4-hour work week, and wish I could have his discipline to answer email twice a day. Like you, I’m not there, so LOVE this alternative until I get there.
    Thanks for the creativity and the “right” to use the idea, not the text.
    Keep those great ideas coming. :~)
    Life Coach Karen

  3. LindaZ on October 8, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    You go girl!!! As always you are right on… thank you for always modeling what works and exactly what I need when I need it!

    My diverse email boxes are overloading have become unmanageable, with a little organizing, working with my new assistant and applying your auto response concept, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Thank you!!!

    The Purpose Connector

  4. Stephanie Bell the Spirit Coach on October 8, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Mari –

    First — just found out about you being #6 of the TOP 50 Tweeples to follow on! I had no doubts of course but I am doing the happy dance with you! : )

    As for THIS post and your new autoresponder — I more closely align to you and @GaryVee than to Tim Ferriss. In an ideal world – we could communicate through telepathy and NO SPAM would be possible — but until then, if someone has taken the time to write to me (hopefully with a sincere intent to communicate as opposed to “sell me something”) then I would like to honor that communication with a response.

    Your solution accomplishes that intent with efficiency, elegance and grace . . . just what we’ve all come to expect from you Ms. Mari!


    Stephanie Bell the Spirit Coach

  5. Rebeca Trautner on October 8, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    I can only hope my popularity will surge to a point where I need to refer back to this post for some help!!

  6. Andy Puckett on November 3, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Mari, I really admire both Tim and Gary a lot. I think it is interesting that you brought to light their differences on this.

    While I do think that Tim has some very good points on reducing information overload. I take his approach to blogging with fewer posts.

    However, on email I agree more with Gary. I think that it is extremely important to respond to individuals personally.

    If your getting too much email to keep up though, you do need to find ways address the content of those routine emails and still provide methods for direct communication for important stuff.

    In your case I think you have come up with a good balance between the two spectrums of Gary and Tim.

    Andy Pucketts last blog post..How Much Money to Spend On Your Website

  7. Lisa Angelettie on November 12, 2008 at 2:21 am

    Wow! I love that autoresponder message and I wish that I could receive that from some other folks I’ve emailed. I think I have too many email addresses for this to really be productive for me. Once I streamline, I’ll implement this. I like it because it sounds so personal and friendly. I’d begin trusting you simply by this message. Great job.

    Lisa Angeletties last blog post..Free Article Marketing Course: Lesson 6 – How To Become A Celebrity Expert

  8. Shinil Payamal on November 14, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Hi Mari,

    Thanks for the great post. I have already asked my friends Tweet me instead of mailing me. It has made such a big difference!

    Best Wishes,
    @Shinils on Twitter –

  9. Ricardo Bueno on November 14, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Is it possible to be in between? Sometimes I’m Gary V. status then other times I just have to zone out and get structured like Tim Ferris.

    Anyway, I’ve recently set up an autoresponder through Away Find. So far, so good. I like it because it has a form included that alerts people as to how they might reach me sooner (they fill out the form and I get a text message). I’ve only just tested it for two days now but I think I’m liking it.

  10. Larry Wallace on November 25, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    I love the post. Great advice to manage the all the email that comes in everyday. I plan on taking your lead and implement an auto responder, too. Thanks for all you do!

    Larry Wallace

    Larry Wallaces last blog post..glwallace: RT @AshleyPaula: 12 Great Tales of De-friending: (@mashable) Great article and comic relief too!

  11. Good Vibe Coach on November 25, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    I’m with Gary V on answering every freakin email for the rest of my life, and checking it twice a day isn’t a system I was able to implement either.

    However, I’m happy to still be at the point where I still CAN answer every email with a customized response, although I am starting to get creative about alternatives that don’t involve automation.

    What I’ve been doing lately is including in a short thank you response a referral to another resource (usually another coach) who I know would be THRILLED to spend more time with their inquiry. It feels like a win win win all around – the sender gets a personal response from me, a tip to a valuable and AVAILABLE resource, the coach gets a much appreciated referral, and I get the satisfaction of responding to every freakin email AND still feel I was of service.

    Great post, Mari!


    Good Vibe Coachs last blog post..Gotta Love It to Lose It

  12. Velma Gallant on December 13, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    I love this! I’ve been in email overload for a bit now, and this is the PERMISSION I needed to give myself! Perfect! And Thank you!

    Dream BIG!

    Velma Gallant
    The Queen of JOY!
    Lazer Clarity Coach
    Host of Welcome Changes Radio

    Velma Gallants last blog post..Kathleen Gage ~ Download

  13. Carrie Kerpen on December 22, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    I respond to every email. No matter what. A two or three sentence thing is fine, just be personal. Also, I like to include all of the alternative ways to contact me in my signature.

    Of course, I do work around the clock, and often respond at 3am, so who knows what’s right.


    Carrie Kerpens last blog post..All theKbuzz Wants For Christmas…An Open Letter To Our Friends At Facebook

  14. auto responders on May 25, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    I think autoresponders are definately necessary to making sales. I do however think they are better used on a type of adsense blog rather than an ebook site. Had one on one of the ebook sites I have and people were opting in instead of buying took it off and put it on a related blog. People are still opting in but also buying my ebook as well. Thanks!

  15. John Fredereich on June 5, 2009 at 1:31 am

    I’ve been looking for this very subject for awhile now – no one has content just like this. Really glad I found this site. Are you willing to be a guest blogger on my site? I’ll email you with some details if you want.

  16. Branding Firm on December 5, 2009 at 2:42 am

    Fantastic auto-responder and post … something like this will save me YEARS of needlessly answering emails! Thanks so much 🙂

  17. ManiBodhi on April 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Hi Mari, you may wanna try to combine the email, twitter and facebook messages in one inbox. If you’re working with assistants you can even set it up in such a way that they assign the most relevant messages to you and you use “my messages” only filter and email overload is solved without an autoresponder 🙂

  18. Amy on November 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    This is a really great autoresponder, I like how personal it is, thanks for sharing! I do have one question, wouldn’t EVERY email that you receive be hit with this autoresponder (not counting the exceptions of course) including your CURRENT conversations? If I am having a back and forth emailing session with a client it would get pretty annoying if he receives this autoresponder everytime he replies to me? Or is there a way to turn that off somehow by creating a special filter? Do let me know! Thanks-A

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