Before you send that email to your boss, send it to yourself first.
Why? Emails take a second to send but last forever. The atrocious ones — whether mistake-riddled, nonsensical, or aggressive — can seriously hurt your career, says Sharon Salzberg, the author of “Real Happiness At Work.”
“The classic example would be getting irate and sending something with hostility,” she says. “Although Gmail gives you a few seconds, life doesn’t give us that many unsend buttons.”
To avoid a situation where you regret your message, Salzberg suggests taking a moment to breathe and reread the diatribe you just mashed into your keyboard.
That, of course, is hard. Research shows that self-control is a skill that some of us don’t learn very well, and we get worse at controlling ourselves as the day goes on.
So to be certain that you’ve adequately considered an important email, Salzberg recommends sending it to yourself first.
“Experience what it’s like to be the recipient, and then see what you want to do with it,” she says. Seeing your email with fresh eyes gives you the chance to polish it and edit out any hostility.
But the hurly-burly momentum of the workday makes maintaining that awareness difficult.
That’s why the happiness hacks in the book are so useful. Simple things, like picking up the phone on the third ring, monotasking when you drink a cup of coffee, and sending important emails to yourself first, can make all the difference.
These practices “give some space to get in touch with what we’re feeling,” Salzberg says, “to see if we’ve crafted a conversation that we actually want.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.