Sorry for the Delayed Response

wolff-sorryforthedelayedresponse

Excerpt from this article:

So sorry that I’m just getting to this now. There were six other people on this e-mail thread and I was hoping that one of them would answer your question and I could just go on living my life.

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Yikes! The little Gmail preview text made your e-mail seem like a regular “Great, thanks!” e-mail I didn’t need to open, but now I see that you asked a question after the “Great, thanks!” I think we can agree that was a stupid thing for you to do, so I don’t even feel bad. I assume you found someone else to answer your question by now, but, if not, Laura (cc’d) should be able to help.

An analysis of 350,000 messages found the best way to end an email if you want a response

Thinking woman laptop why

Excerpt from this article:

    “Thanks in advance” had a response rate of 65.7%

“Thanks” had a response rate of 63%

“Thank you” had a response rate of 57.9%

“Cheers” had a response rate of 54.4%

“Kind regards” had a response rate of 53.9%

“Regards” had a response rate of 53.5%

“Best regards” had a response rate of 52.9%

“Best” had a response rate of 51.2%

Why time management is ruining our lives

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The quest for increased personal productivity – for making the best possible use of your limited time – is a dominant motif of our age. Two books on the topic by the New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg have spent more than 60 weeks on the US bestseller lists between them, and the improbable titular promise of another book, The Four Hour Work Week, has seduced a reported 1.35m readers worldwide. There are blogs offering tips on productive dating, and on the potential result of productive dating, productive parenting; signs have been spotted in American hotels wishing visitors a “productive stay”. The archetypal Silicon Valley startup, in the last few years, has been one that promises to free up time and mental capacity by eliminating some irritating “friction” of daily life – shopping or laundry, or even eating, in the case of the sludgy, beige meal replacement Soylent – almost always for the purpose of doing more work.

And yet the truth is that more often than not, techniques designed to enhance one’s personal productivity seem to exacerbate the very anxieties they were meant to allay. The better you get at managing time, the less of it you feel that you have. Even when people did successfully implement Inbox Zero, it didn’t reliably bring calm. Some interpreted it to mean that every email deserved a reply, which only shackled them more firmly to their inboxes. (“That drives me crazy,” Mann says.) Others grew jumpy at the thought of any messages cluttering an inbox that was supposed to stay pristine, and so ended up checking more frequently. My own dismaying experience with Inbox Zero was that becoming hyper-efficient at processing email meant I ended up getting more email: after all, it’s often the case that replying to a message generates a reply to that reply, and so on. (By contrast, negligent emailers often discover that forgetting to reply brings certain advantages: people find alternative solutions to the problems they were nagging you to solve, or the looming crisis they were emailing about never occurs.)

The allure of the doctrine of time management is that, one day, everything might finally be under control. Yet work in the modern economy is notable for its limitlessness. And if the stream of incoming emails is endless, Inbox Zero can never bring liberation: you’re still Sisyphus, rolling his boulder up that hill for all eternity – you’re just rolling it slightly faster.

Judging Others by Their Email Tics

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…Sure, there was a time it may have been appropriate, even cool, to tout the default “Sent from my iPhone,” a programmed plug-in (and a genius little bit of branding). But these days, that one-liner signals only one thing: bore. So instead, you must come up with something witty. “Sent from a bumpy tarmac,” you might write, followed by a custom GIF. “Envoi de mon iPhone,” if you want to be fancy (and French).

…And so goes the tyranny of judging one another by the minutiae of our email tone. I’m not just talking signoffs like “cheers” or “thanks” (which, for what it’s worth, have prompted a debate of their own). I’m talking next-level nuance: a well-placed emoji, a perfectly timed GIF; what microseconds between replies say about the sender.

“This isn’t just email, this is identity,” said Hilary Campbell, a 25-year-old cartoonist in Brooklyn. “I feel like I’m always trying to balance this sense of being a smart, sensible, reliable person who is also very FUN and quirky.”

…Research has found that when parties are getting along, they tend to mimic each other’s subtle speech patterns: “language synchrony,” as it is known. In which case, if I email with proper capitalization, and you reply with an all-lowercase email, should I be taking offense? “That’s a classic power move,” the digital strategist Victor Pineiro said. “You can’t be bothered to craft a properly capitalized email?”

 

How to Email – An etiquette update: Brevity is the highest virtue.

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I’m sure my approach has made some people hate me, because I come off curt. But if everyone thought about email in the same way, what I’m suggesting wouldn’t be rude. Here are the basic guidelines that are working for me and, so, I propose for all of the world to adopt immediately:

No signoff.

No greeting.

Don’t waste time considering if “Dear,” or “Hey” or “[name]!” is appropriate. Just get right into it. Write the recipient’s name if you must. But most people already know their names. Like they already know your name.

Greetings and closings are relics of the handwritten missive that persist only as matters of, ostensibly, formality. Foregoing them can seem curt or impolite. But it’s the opposite. Long, formal emails are impolite…

Brevity signals respect. Three sentences or fewer.

An email is an imposition on a person’s time. Writing to someone is saying I know you have a finite amount of time and attention today, and in life, and I’m going to take some of it.

Undue formality only wastes more of that time. And it wastes the writer’s time in worrying about exactly how formal to be.

Rarely does an email require more than three sentences. If it does, consider calling or getting together in person. Social interaction is healthy, and more time spent in the inbox isn’t likely to be.

It’s Time to Stop Writing ‘I Hope You’re Well’ in Emails

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Excerpt from this article:

“I hope you’re well” is a scourge on email correspondence, a hollow greeting that has come to mean nothing. I’d sooner write the first line of Finnegan’s Wake backwards and in Pig Latin than “I hope you’re well.” The expression has rendered itself so benign in its overuse that our brains are now programmed to ignore it, skipping directly to the point of the email, which, if the text “I hope you’re well” is any indication, is probably a request for a favor.

What is considered standard and polite email communication has changed over the years, of course: We used to treat emails like decorum-less notes in the early days of the electronic correspondence, but have come to adopt pleasantries as emails became the new letters. Many people believe there is no need for bland benedictions and expressions in our email correspondence, especially at work, but there is also a hard-to-place feeling of hurt that comes from being on the receiving end of a one-line email with no thanks, no greeting, and no sign off. At least buy me a drink first, you know?

But the problem with “I hope you’re well” is similar to what Rebecca Greenfield at Bloomberg declared in her treatise against using “Best,” as a sign off. “Fearful of coming off as too smug or affectionate, we’ve been bullied into using empty words,” she wrote. It’s like if you sat down for a delicious dinner of spaghetti and meatballs but before getting to eat, you forced yourself to take a shot of Soylent first. Why would anyone do that? Just get right to the good part.