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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

Freelance Writer, Marketer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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