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10 Email Habits That Make Others Hate You

10 Email Habits That Make Others Hate You
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There’s a big difference between a well-written email and one that gets an immediate delete. Emails are the electronic equivalent of letters and that’s essential to remember as you sit down to write. If you’re looking to write emails that get attention and responses, stay clear of these 10 email habits that make others hate you.

Sending Emails With No Point.

Don’t just send an email because you can. Send emails only if there is a purpose behind it — you have key information to share, an update or are responding to someone else’s request. If you continually send emails without a point, people will stop reading them. Remember to be respectful of the reader’s time.

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Writing an Email in One Paragraph.

If it’s a very short email, then this is OK to do, but if you are writing a lengthy email with more than one point, then include multiple paragraphs. Emails need  to be composed like business letters and have clear introductions, middles and conclusions. Writing an email in just one paragraph makes it hard on your reader and doesn’t provide any visual breaks.

Failing to Respond to Emails That Require Replies.

Nothing is more annoying than asking someone a question and never receiving a response. The person clearly wants to know something and by not responding, you are creating confusion and stress, which no one wants or needs. If someone asks you a question and seeks a response via email, please respond. It just takes a minute or two to answer and everyone is happier in the end. If you’re having trouble getting your inbox under control, check out these clever tips.

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Not Matching Your Email Content With the Subject Line.

This shows poor writing and organization skills. Let’s say your email subject line says “Project Update,” but then the email’s content doesn’t include anything about that topic, leaving the receiver confused and irritated. If you’re unsure what your subject line should be, wait until you are done writing the rest of the email so you’ll get a better idea of what to write in the subject line.

Leaving the Subject Line Blank.

This annoyance is very close to the previous one. By not providing a subject line, the reader has no idea why you’re emailing and in today’s time-strapped workplace, you’re just going to induce a groan and possibly have your email deleted as they might suspect your email to be spam.

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Marking an Email “Urgent” When it’s Not.

Please only red flag an email if it’s truly urgent. Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? That’s what happens when you continually send emails marked “urgent” that’s really not. Receivers will stop taking you seriously if you continue to write ‘non-urgent emails titled ‘urgent.’

Sending Error-Filled Messages.

Sending an email without running spell check or reading over what you wrote before hitting send is a big mistake. Your emails say a lot about you — if you send emails filled with misspellings, incomplete sentences or bad grammar, you are telling the reader that you don’t care or worse yet, that you’re ignorant.

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WRITING IN ALL CAPS.

Avoid this at all costs; using all capital letters sends the message to your reader that you’re angry or screaming at them.

Using Texting Lingo.

Emails are not texts so skip the LOLs, BTWs, and other lingo you use in your text messages. Please remember, emails are in the same communication category as a business letter and childish abbreviations aren’t necessary.

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Hitting “Reply All” When it’s Not Needed.

This email habit will not only get people to despise you, it can also get you in a lot of trouble. First, avoid hitting “reply all” if you are only responding to one person, since the unwanted messages clog up readers’ in-boxes and no one likes that. Secondly, by hitting “reply all” when you really should only be responding to one person can get you into trouble if you’re ripping on one of the other people in the email chain. Check out these tips to learn more about who to include and who to leave out in an email chain.

Avoid these habits and you’ll make sure people won’t groan when they see your name in the “From” field when checking their emails.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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