2 Simple Habits to Help You Avoid Some Way-Too-Familiar Email Mistakes

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Sylvie Li)

While email is a quick and convenient alternative to other forms of communication (especially if you dread phone calls), digital conversations come with their own unique inconveniences. If you’ve ever sent an email before you’re done writing it, replied all when you meant to reply to just one person, or copied your entire office on a juicy, personal email, you know exactly what we mean.

In other words, it’s shockingly easy to look like an idiot over email—especially when you’re in a rush. Don’t worry: We’re here to help with two simple tricks to help you email with confidence from here on out.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

1. Wait to fill out the “to” field until you’re actually done composing the email

Even if you don’t hit “send” manually, sometimes, emails can send on their own if you hit the wrong button on your keyboard. By keeping the “to” field blank until you’re done, you won’t accidentally send an unfinished email to your boss. You’ll also give yourself a natural pause to double check your email’s content for typos before you send.

If the “to” field is pre-filled before you start the email (like if you’re replying to something), simply add an extra character to the email address—say, an “X” at the end of the email address, which you will delete before sending. If you accidentally hit “send” before you’re ready, the email will bounce back, saving you from the embarrassment of a half-done message.

2. Add your attachments first

It’s safe to say we’ve all been victims of sending an email that says “see attached” without the actual attachment. While some email servers (like Gmail) will alert you if it thinks you’re missing an document you meant to attach, some aren’t so intuitive. If the entire point of your email is an attachment, make a rule to play it safe and prevent a premature send by habitually adding your document before you start typing or doing anything else.

Do you have any clever email tricks?