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10 Email Habits That Make Others Hate You

10 Email Habits That Make Others Hate You

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.

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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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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