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9 Things You Shouldn’t Do with Your Email

9 Things You Shouldn’t Do with Your Email

Email is one of our primary means of communication, yet so many people make so many mistakes with it. If someone doesn’t reply to someone when speaking to them in-person, it’s considered extremely rude; yet somehow, it’s okay to leave an email conversation abruptly? Not cool. Here are 9 things you shouldn’t do with email.

1. You shouldn’t leave someone hanging.

For a lot of correspondences, all you need to respond to an email are two letters: o and k. Actually, the person on the receiving will probably understand you with just a k. Send a letter or two to confirm that you received someone’s email. Even better, give them an idea of when you’ll get back to them. But, at the very least, leaving someone lingering is something you shouldn’t do with email.

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2. You shouldn’t ask something urgent in email.

Even though we all have our email accounts on our smartphones, not everybody is going to be checking their email unless you give them a real reason to. If you need a response by the end of the day, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Waiting for them to check their messages is something you absolutely shouldn’t do with email.

3. You shouldn’t write a novella in an email.

Almost no one’s going to read anything longer longer than 1000 words, and even that’s pushing it. Compress most of your messages into 500 words or less.

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4. You shouldn’t use your inbox as a to-do list.

An email is a terrible to-do list. Unless you’re emailing yourself regular memos, not everything you need to get done in a day is going to pop up in your inbox. However, email can make a great second to-do list. Use the app Mailbox (for iOS, Android and in Beta for OS X) to save email chains you’re not ready to archive.

5. You shouldn’t let your inbox pile up.

Letting your messages stack up is something you shouldn’t do with email. Your goal should be to get your inbox to zero emails, or as close to zero as possible. The Mailbox app comes in handy again here, letting you sort some emails into lists and save others for later so that you can reach zero with relative ease.

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6. You shouldn’t over-think an email.

You can definitely spend too long crafting an email. After a while, there’s nothing you can do to make your email any better. In fact, if you noodle with it for too long, you’ll likely start to make your message worse.When you’re 95% sure of its contents, just let the email fly.

7. You shouldn’t under-think an email.

I mentioned above that you should send an email when you have 95% certainty. Any level of scrutiny lower than that is dangerous. Grammar errors and typos are a death knell when you’re applying to a job or trying to pick up a new client. Likewise, if you’re sending a very serious, very personal email, make sure the message has exactly the right tone.

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8. You shouldn’t write something original for every email.

Only people new to lifehacking craft an entirely new message for everyone they’re emailing. That’s a habit you absolutely shouldn’t do with email. Productivity experts save templates of common messages they have to email into a note-taking service like Evernote or OneNote. A true pro even has a text expansion app which only necessitates a few keystrokes to send a long message.

9. You shouldn’t be too exclamatory in your emails.

An excess of exclamation marks is really annoying!!!! Same goes for questions marks, ellipses and especially emoticons. If you write emails super casually, the person you’re emailing won’t take you seriously. Even if you’re just emailing back and forth with a friend, you might want to try using professional language just to get in the habit of it.

Featured photo credit: Recrea HQ via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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3. Still No Action

More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

4. Flicker of Hope Left

You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

5. Fading Quickly

Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

6. Vow to Yourself

Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

2. Plan

Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

3. Resistance

Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

4. Confront Those Feelings

Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

5. Put Results Before Comfort

You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

6. Repeat

Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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Final Thoughts

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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