I love Lifehacker because 1.) Gina, Adam, Jason, Kevin, and newbie Jackson are rock stars, and 2.) I constantly find ways to improve my life from reading the site. Recently, Gina wrote about AwayFind, and this post has revolutionized how I approach e-mail.
Here’s how AwayFind works: When you set up your auto response message in your e-mail client, you write a few words about how you aren’t really checking e-mail. Then, you stick in a final sentence that explains if there is an emergency that you can be contacted via AwayFind. You put a link to your AwayFind page in the text of your away message, and then people receiving the e-mail have a way of getting emergency messages to you without you having to publicize your cell phone number.
If someone believes that they can’t wait until you return from your vacation to get into touch with you, they click the link and are taken to an online form where they can customize their emergency message to you.
I like the program because you don’t actually have to go on vacation to use it. If you need to do some heavily focused work for a few days, set up an away message and only receive emergency messages. Once your schedule returns to normal, you can weed through all the non-emergency messages that came in for you. You stay focused, but not out-of-contact when you’re truly needed. You remain in control of your e-mail with AwayFind.