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Limit your word count when making a point

Limit your word count when making a point
Writing Less

    Once in a while, I receive emails with long paragraphs. After I read through an email like that, I usually ask myself: “Okay, does he mean this, or that?”

    There was a time when I sat down and read through my archive in my mailbox and tried to understand the difference between huge emails and smaller emails, I came up with a conclusion – large emails confuse me more than a fewer words email.

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    Here my reasons to justify my findings:

    • More words have a higher probability to make more errors in message delivery.
    • Fewer words have more chances for recipients digesting the idea completely.
    • We use vivid words in fewer words.
    • We don’t run around the circle with fewer words – we cannot, we are trapped by the word limit. We have to be precise and hit the point with that restriction.
    • People spend less time to read fewer words. More time for comprehension.

    With all those benefits of using fewer words – it gets me thinking, why do people write long emails when they could write a short one?

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    I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. — Mark Twain

    Mark Twain, a brilliant writer, once said a long letter takes less time than a short letter. We, human, tend to go with an easy way. A direct brain dump is easy, but editing is hard.

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    An example? Take a read on Paul Graham’s article Writing, Briefly. His brief article costs him more on editing than the actual writing: “This one took 67 minutes– 23 of writing, and 44 of rewriting”

    Long email may not save you time after all though – think about when you need to clarify what you said in a reply. Think about when your employee does not understand the requirements and goes off-track with tasks. Boy, it’s not pretty.

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    Solution? Limits your words, make your point clean and precise. Try this exercise: When delivering a point in an email, try to limit your subject lines to under 10 words, and limit the body text under 20 words.

    Try it. See the results. Have more ideas, stories to share? Please comment!

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    Leon Ho

    Founder of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

    7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

    What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

    For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

    It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

    1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

    The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

    What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

    The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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    2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

    Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

    How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

    If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

    Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

    3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

    Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

    If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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    These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

    What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

    4. What are my goals in life?

    Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

    Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

    5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

    Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

    Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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    You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

    Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

    6. What do I not like to do?

    An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

    What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

    Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

    The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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    7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

    Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

    But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

    “What do I want to do with my life?”

    So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

    Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

    Reference

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