The Trade-Off

Sometimes I do something less than ideal so I can do something else that’s more than ideal.

Sometimes I allow someone I don’t know to possibly feel ignored so that the people I love feel acknowledged.

Sometimes I wish I had eight arms, but wonder what kind of shirts I would wear.digress


There’s only one thing I hate more than putting an email autoresponder up during the summer:

Not putting an email autoresponder up during the summer.

An email autoresponder is an automatic message where a robot in your computer immediately responds to anyone who emails you with an email message that you’ve written at an earlier time. They usually get the response within 60 seconds of sending you an email so at first they are pleasantly surprised to see an email in their inbox from you so quickly, only to realize that not only did you not personally respond to them, you are telling them you aren’t even going to be reading their email anytime in the immediate future. Or something like that. Robots may or may not be involved.

Part of me says it is SO RUDE to have an autoresponder up. People have taken the time to email me.
And another part of me says Who do I think I am that I can’t dare put up an autoresponder?

  • Am I The Pope?
  • Will the world end if I put up an autoresponder?
  • Will people die?
  • Will my reputation suffer?
  • Will my business suffer?
  • Will I be breaking my commitments?
  • Will the spirit of my online presence be affected negatively if I’m unavailable for a while?phone


I am not a pastor, a counselor, a doctor or a psychic. One of the perks of my job is that I don’t need to be available via email all the time. It’s not a promise I’ve made and my work isn’t dependent on it. In a way, my work is hindered by constantly being available via email.

For many of us, if we don’t check our inbox for a week we’ll miss announcements, last-minute inquiries to volunteer, reminders to vote for contests, requests to donate to good causes, blog posts from our favorite writers and other fun but not life altering information.

  • Will some people think an autoresponder is rude? Maybe.
  • Will you miss some opportunities? Probably.
  • Will you create more time to spend doing the parts of work you love, and summering with your family? Absolutely.


I support our family with my online business and I’m still able to go for days during the summer checking my email just once a week if I need to.


Because most of my online presence doesn’t really require that I be constantly available via email.

And for the parts that do, I’ve already made arrangements.

The truth is, there are no paint color emergencies.


Help Yourself By Getting Help

Maybe your inbox does receive emails that need to be read and need a quick response.

Getting help from an email autoresponder or from a real live person is a wonderful way to gift yourself with a little more time this summer. Considering hiring someone to help with your inbox for a bit while you take a breather.


It’s considerate to others because they took the time to contact you and might be wondering how quickly they can expect a response.

It’s considerate to yourself because you know your inbox is covered, so if Oprah or Ellen or the Pope email you, they know you’ll be checking it in time and it’s not on you to constantly check in to see what opportunities, sales or distractions you can find out about.

The best part...if someone emails you asking for last-minute help and you read it three days later, you know they weren’t left wondering if you would be able to help and you don’t even need to send a response or apology–they already know you weren’t checking your inbox–how wonderful is that?!



Here’s my 2016 Summer autoresponder so far. I usually tweak it during the summer. Sometimes I try to be funny, sometimes I’m extra apologetic, this year, I’m simply to the point:

email fix


I always sign my summer autoresponder with a link to my most current 18 summers post.

I know it’s already the end of July, but maybe if you are feeling overwhelmed right about now, you can take 10 minutes to put up a quick email and forget about your inbox for a while and reclaim a tiny part of your life. It’s almost as nice as an exotic vacation!