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The New Habit Challenge: Use An Email Autoresponder Every Day

We once dubbed the autoresponder "The Greatest Productivity Tool You Never Thought Of." But were we just being hyperbolic? You tell us.

[Image: Shutterstock]

Inbox zero is a myth, an urban legend relayed by merry pranksters who want you to go crazy trying to respond to every email you ever receive.

At least that’s how I feel.

Upon returning from a recent three-day vacation I was met with a little more than 180 unread work emails. My out of office message subdued some emailers from immediately following up upon my return, but is that enough? Studies have shown that the average person receives more than 50 emails a day and a quarter of us receive more than 100.

What if every day you could acknowledge that you have received your emailers’ messages and simultaneously manage their expectations for an immediate response? That’s where the email autoresponder comes in.

Several famous busy people like HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes use a daily email autoresponder to keep people’s expectations in check, their guilt at bay, and their time to themselves, and it’s so very easy to do.

Check out our article on email autoresponders to see some great examples and more on why you should start deploying this productivity hack today.

Is this the "greatest productivity tool you never thought of" as we claimed? For the next week, I plan to put our advice to the test, and I hope you'll join me. For inspiration, here's the email autoresponder that I'll be using:

You’re receiving this automated message to confirm that your email has safely evaded my spam filter and made it into my inbox. Hurray!

Since you are receiving this message, there is no need for you to follow up on your email. You may not hear back from me immediately, but you will hear back—I guarantee it!

I appreciate your patience, and I hope you have a swell rest of the day.

Try it out yourself and tell us what you loved and hated, if it worked or totally bombed, and we may feature your response in an upcoming Fast Company story. Responses must be submitted to habits@fastcompany.com by end of day Thursday, July 31, 2014.