Some business emailers may think they impress their bosses, peers or subordinates by sending emails in the middle of the night. The truth is, while occasional 3:00 AM e-mails may be “forgiven,” repeated early morning emails will NOT be.
Not convinced? Just turn the tables and note your reaction when you see the time stamp of a received email at some ungodly hour!
Your co-workers might say…
• There Avish goes again, trying to impress the boss. What a manipulator.
• No wonder Sally isn’t with it during the day. She’s not getting enough sleep.
• How can he be thinking clearly at 2:00 AM?
• Does this mean I have to get up and check my email, since Harry does it?
The boss could wonder…
• Why is Jim up at 4:00AM, regularly? Is he getting enough sleep? Is he in control? Is he stressed out? Is he out of balance?
• Is Rebecca just trying to impress me? Does she think that I value this behavior? Doesn’t she know how to delay the sending of the email to a “normal” hour?
• What part of “have a balanced life” doesn’t he understand?
And from your direct reports…
• Yikes. My boss is emailing me at 3:00 AM! I wonder if he expects me to do that too?!
• I better check my email first thing in the morning; the boss may have sent me something again in the middle of the night. How’s that for wake up stress?
• What’s the matter with her!? Is she losing it? Why can’t my boss get a good night’s sleep?
• Does this mean I need to have my blackberry wake me in the middle of the night?
• Since he’s working 24/7, I assume I should also. Gad, I hate my job.
In addition to these unhealthy perceptions, you’re taking a real risk creating an email message when you haven’t had a full night’s sleep. You may not be running on all cylinders. We’ve all regretted sending an email when we were wide-awake and functioning during the day. Sending in a sleepy state increases the potential for misconstrued messages.
If you are a true night owl or on the computer in the early AM, compose a message and save it. Don’t send it till you’ve had a chance to review it in the light of day. We can almost guarantee that you’ll make changes that you’ll be glad you had the opportunity to make.
Make it a rule to NEVER send an email message when you should be sleeping. Your career, your co-workers, and your employees will be all the better for it.
OK, so what do YOU really think of those who email in the very late hours???
Email is here to stay. It is very quickly becoming the primary communication tool in business. If you are looking to destroy your career through your e-mail practices, here are a few ways you can move the process along!
1. Send an angry email. Take out your frustration on your boss or your co-worker by email. Send your first draft without reviewing it. And don’t forget to copy at least ten people. This is a great way to have career limiting documentation easily placed in your file.
2. Waste peoples’ time. The more you annoy people by creating extra work through a myriad of bonehead maneuvers like sending unnecessary emails, forgetting attachments, and inserting HUGE graphics, the less they will think of your business communications skills.
3. Forward lengthy chain emails, saying “see below.” A great way to call attention to your lack of respect for the receiver is to forward an email that has at least 10 previously forwarded emails contained in it. This forces the recipient to have to read through all 10 to try to figure out what is important.
4. “Throw a co-worker under the bus” by email. When one of your co-workers makes a mistake, be sure to document it for posterity by email. Either call the co-worker out by email and copy his or her boss, or even better, do it behind their back. You’ll be labeled as a snake and end your career quite quickly.
5. Send poorly written emails. Use improper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Use run on sentences. Make sure you don’t use spell check. Anyone receiving you email messages will get a quick first impression that you’re not serious about your career.
6. Use text lingo in business emails. This will definitely show your maturity and lack of respect for the recipient. IYKWIM. LOL
7. Bury the point of your communication in the middle of the message. By making it very hard for people to find what it is you are trying to convey, you will be sure to make a name for yourself in all your business circles.
8. Reply All. All the time. Hitting “reply all” consistently will earn you great disrespect among your co-workers. As the resentment builds from all the unnecessary emails they receive from you, your career credibility is sure to wane.
9. Copy as many people as you can. By adding many extra recipients, you might think you’re communicating, but what you’re really doing is adding more work to peoples’ already full plates. They may not catch on to this one right away, but over time, you won’t be able to hide.
10. Gossip via email. Even though you think that your friend won’t rat you out over the gossip you sent – hey, it is a permanent record, and that “friend” could be as catty as you!
11. Put several names in the “To:” line. This is a great way to confuse people on who is expected to do what. By making unclear requests, you’ll help slow your career down because those around you aren’t sure who you are asking to do the assignment.
12. Write long and rambling emails. This is another great way to annoy those who can influence your career. When you write very long messages, people get frustrated, miss the point, and think you’re a jerk for sending such an epistle.
13. Send emails between 1am and 5am. This strategy is great for indirectly letting your boss and co-workers think that you’re not on all cylinders. Sleeplessness and worry are not valued in a business environment.
14. Send huge unnecessary attachments. Try to look important by attaching more information than is needed. Your co-workers won’t appreciate the size of the message coming into their inboxes or opening stuff that has no relevance to the issue being discussed.
15. Use email to “discuss” complex issues. If you want to get everyone going, send an email message to a large group and ask them to discuss a very detailed and multifaceted issue. Just watch the email threads expand! You’ll waste a lot of peoples’ time and have a real challenge amassing all the information..
16. Criticize your boss in an email. This is a good one. Email detailed descriptions of why you don’t like your boss to a trusted co-worker. You can bet that the email will make its way to the boss one way or another.,Just be ready for the most uncomfortable meeting of your life!
17. Send a lot of jokes. Even better, send dirty or ethnic jokes. These really waste everyone’s time and will land you in deep trouble. Just remember, once that email message is sent, there is no telling where it will show up.
18. Use company email for personal stuff. By knowingly violating the company policy on personal use of their systems, you can bring your career to a halt extremely fast.
19. Share company proprietary information by email. This is a quick way to get booted out the door. Send privileged client information or company secrets to an outsider and you can start that new job search sooner than you think.
20. Run a side business through your company email account. If you thought using company assets for your personal email would be a career killer, just try to run your cupcake baking business through your company email account. You’ll be baking cupcakes full time in no time!
Did we miss any? Share them here!
Want to energize your department? Set due-times, rather than due-dates.
We’ve all requested a task to be completed by a certain day, only to be disappointed that the promised report was not emailed to us until 11:30 PM that night. You needed it by the end of the work-day not the day! Yeesh.
Here is a surprisingly simple strategy that will provide energy and clarity to your department or business, and enable even greater efficiency and progress:
Assign a due time, in addition to a due date.
Which is clearer?
• Please submit your month-end report to me by Friday, June 30.
• Please submit your month-end report to me no later than Friday, June 30, at 1:00PM.
Providing a specific time leaves no question when the report is due and will make it easier on you and the person assigned with the task However, an even greater benefit is that this practice actually provides energy.
One word of caution: honor that date and time. Do something with the delivered item soon after that time deadline. If you don’t enforce the deadline or use the item in a timely manner, people will let things slide. And this strategy will not work as well the next time.
When people clearly understand the date and time that a task is expected, they find extra motivation to get it done. Also, since you know when you’ll receive it, you can concentrate on your work and not be disrupted.
To get all these benefits that keep your work group humming, just add the time to the delegated task and watch what happens when it comes time… for due time
One of the expressions I use alot in the email messaging world is, “If there is ANY chance an email message might be misinterpreted, it will be!”
The times that folks have told me about email misunderstandings are countless. I’m sure you’ve had your share as well – both coming and going.
Here are some tips to deal with that hurtful or angering email you just received:
- Don’t overreact. Chances are, that message was not intended the way you interpreted it. When you overreact, it can sometimes muddy your thinking. This is the way misinterpretations escalate. So – keep your cool.
- Read it again. Now that you have not overreacted, go back and reread the message, putting yourself in the place of the writer. Thinking clearly, without clouding your interpretations with emotions can be very useful.
- Give the benefit of the doubt. Even if you have read the message several times, and it remains angering or hurtful, cut the sender a break.
- Get clarification. If none of the above is helping your situation, pursue clarification. Depending on the nature and degree of hurt, the best suggestion is to contact the person either by phone or in person, and without condemning, ask for simple clarification. Once again, this is where giving them the benefit of the doubt will be to your advantage. It is better to assume their intentions were to not be hurtful rather than to assume that they were. IF it is something quite simple, an email message asking for clarification, quoting the portion of the message that concerned you may be all that is needed – but, trust me, that may not end the controversy. The best clarification is a dialogue.
As mentioned previously, emotion and tone do not always carry over well in email. Instead of responding angrily in an email response, seek the win: win as soon as possible. Too much damage can be done by multiple emails firing back and forth, copying others and involving them in the controversy as well. And the best way to do this is with a personal visit or call – always.
It’s Clean Out Your Inbox Week, and each day of this week we are providing our e-mailing and followers with free resources to spur them on to the holy grail of that empty inbox.
Today’s offering is an 8 1/2 by 11 poster that you can print and share with your workgroup. It outlines the 10 best practices of a positive e-mailing culture, so if everyone can follow these practices, you will all find greater productivity.
Here is the link for you to register to receive this complementary PDF. Print a lot of them, and place them all over your office!
Here is today’s e-mail management tip:
Turn off all dings and flashes.
You have got to stop interrupting yourself, and the best way to do it is to turn off the dang dings. You should choose when you go in to get your e-mail messages, just like you choose when you go to your Postal Service mailbox to pick up your mail. The continual interruptions of those flashes and things are more toxic to your productivity than you know. Turn them off and see how much more work you get done… Then, let us know!
For your free resource, here is the link for an assessment of your emailing practices: http://InboxDetox.com/assess
What is your best e-mail. management productivity tip? Share it here..
Today’s free resource is actually a one minute video, done by yours truly, with more on the real key to managing your inbox – and why it is different to SORT those messages rather than “work” them.
Good stuff — we promise!
Click here for your Inbox Detox Minute.
Here is something you can share. These will print 4 to a page, so you can print them on card stock and share with your team! 7 tips that can make you an email “ace”!
Here is the link to download your tips. eKitInboxDetoxTips_2011
And if you’d like even more great information, our book, Inbox Detox and The Habit of Email Excellence could be just the ticket. You can purchase the book or digital versions here or on Amazon.
Inbox Detox and The Habit of Email Excellence
OK. It is the 7th annual Clean Out Your Inbox Week!
Time to start the year right, get organized, get rid of clutter, and that means your overflowing inbox too!
Here is your freebie for the day – a great 8 1/2 x 11 poster that you can print and hang everywhere. Click here to download it.
It says, “Want to Receive Less Email? SEND Less Email” It is a known fact that the more email you send, the more you’ll receive, so you are pretty much in charge of your own email destiny. Funny how some folks don’t realize that!???
Click here to download your first freebie of the week
Every time you let your email interrupt your productive work, it takes you an average of 4 minutes to get back on track. If in one day you let 15 emails derail you, you’ve just lost an hour of billable, productive time.
Multiply that by every employee every day and you can see how office-wide unproductive email use can be an enormous drain on your profits.
Have you ever stopped to examine how do your employees use their email? How do they manage it, send it, and save it? The habits they adopt, both good and bad, can be contagious. Since email touches all of us several times a day, an office email culture evolves quickly.
Here is an example. A boss calls a meeting with 3 of his department managers. He sends an urgent email, needing a response within 15 minutes. One manager, who is working on an important project, does not have his email on, misses the request, and angers his boss.
This manager has just now learned that he cannot turn off his email, ever. But it doesn’t stop there; it rolls down the corporate ladder. All three managers now have “permission” to use email as an URGENT delivery system. They use it in their departments, and very quickly, the entire organization is infected. No one can turn off his or her email for fear of missing something vital. Employees become slaves to the “ding” and stop productive work anytime an email comes in.
This is just one example of email mis-use that plagues businesses. Think of the practices of copying everyone under the sun, just so you don’t miss someone. Or how about using email as a chat room with multiple recipients to resolve dilemmas? Or the slippery slope of using email to critique someone’s performance? One person does it, others do it. Culture is changed.
There are, however, certain practices you can instill into your employees to create a positive email culture. It requires strong leadership and change management efforts, but by following these methods, you and your employees will be able to reclaim more time, and improve your bottom line:
- NEVER use email as an urgent delivery system. If the matter is urgent, pick up the phone or walk down the hall.
- Have everyone turn off “Automatic Send/Receive” and set “Receive intervals” to a minimum of 90 minutes. If someone is expecting an email, he or she can always hit receive manually.
- Move everything OUT OF your inbox. Your employees can manage their work better by putting emails in appropriate folders for easy reference later.
- Make Subject Lines be VERY specific. By including details in subject lines, you will help others sort and prioritize their work.
- Copy only the people who REALLY need to receive the email. Each superfluous cc will have to open and read the email, adding unnecessary tasks to their already full days.
For more best practices, or information about changing your office’s email culture, check out our eBook ”Reclaim Workplace Productivity; Add Big Bucks to Your Bottom Line.