Productivity Tech

How to Do Email Completely Wrong

January 14, 2014, 2 Comments

Email is a normal part of my everyday life. It is for many of us. It is a tool that can be a huge help. But, if executed poorly, email is a great weight dragging you to the depths of productivity oblivion. The reason is summarized by a great observation that my friend and LifeWay colleague Brian Daniels has made, “Anyone with an email account is your boss.” It would be funny if it were not true.

Here are a few ways to ensure that you do email completely wrong and thus ruin everyone’s day.

1. Hit “reply all” every time. To ensure that everyone is caught up in your mayhem of your unnecessary updates, just keep hitting “reply all.”

2. Copy in your boss in order to cover your own personal interests. Your supervisor needs to know what is happening in your work. But, if you want to make sure that no one will speak with you candidly, then copy in your boss constantly and unnecessarily. It’s like asking for your mom to sit with you at work.

3. Copy in the recipient’s boss to cover yourself. A surefire way to get yourself out of a jam is to throw the responsibilities back on your coworker and copy in their boss. It will create an onslaught of questions and you can quietly go back to playing Words with Friends.

4. Blind copy in your supervisors but don’t let anyone know until after the third or fourth exchange. Don’t be the one who plays the digital game of “Gotcha” with everyone else just waiting for them to slip up. “So you will know, I copied in {insert supervisor’s name} when we began this conversation. I’m sure {insert supervisor’s name} will want to chime in now.” Stay classy.

5. Be the person who is blind copied in on everyone emails conversations. You are not an FBI agent who needs a two-way mirror so that you can lurk around everyone’s conversation. Stop being creepy.

6. Leave the subject line blank. We all know that you are in a huge hurry so please don’t worry about taking the extra three seconds necessary to fill in the subject line. We’ll all just guess at prioritizing your message.

7. Put your entire message in the subject line. If your subject line is longer than the body of the email or replaces it, then I’m deleting you from my address book, blocking you from my account, and asking the NSA to seize your computer.

8. Use all manner of fonts, colors, and flashing things. After all, why would you want someone to think of you in any other light than “12-year old girl”?

9. Leave your autoresponder on all of the time. Email is designed for quick communication for us. Well… all of us except for the guy whose account always sends me a message telling me that my message is so important that he will respond to me before the end of time. We get it. You are busy. Guess what? So are the rest of us.

10. Make sure your signature tells your life story. If your signature is, on a regular basis, longer than the messages that you send, then your are a self-aggrandizing windbag. No one needs your 17 social media links, an inspirational quote of the day, and the 638-word disclosure statement about your message.

11. Email to let me know you left a message. Thanks for leaving me a voicemail, Facebook message, Twitter DM, or whatever it was that you sent me. But, for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t send me multiple messages to let me know that you’ve left me multiple messages. I’ll get to it.

12. ALL CAPS. Would you walk into another person’s office and just start screaming at them? Yes? Well, stop it. All caps in an email is not for emphasis, it is like screaming. And, besides, it is visually irritating and says to the person on the other side that you think they are too dull to get the message in lowercase lettering.

13. Hit “reply all” to a company-wide announcement. Please do not be that one person who responds “reply all” when the CEO sends out an announcement to the whole company. Additionally, do not be the person who hits “reply all” to tell the first person who hit “reply all” that they replied to everyone. No. Wait. Please do it. It is hilarious for the rest of us.

You Might Also Want To Read

Mobile Connections Exceed Human Population: What It Means for the Church

December 11, 2014

Why Phone Numbers Are Laid Out That Way

September 27, 2013

Learning about Productivity

February 27, 2014


  • Reply Worth a Look 1.15.14 – Trevin Wax January 15, 2014 at 12:06 am

    […] Philip Nation – How to Do Email Completely Wrong: […]

  • Reply My Top 20 Posts of 2014 | December 30, 2014 at 4:12 am

    […] 6) How to Do Email Completely Wrong […]

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.