I find myself writing and rewriting emails to my supervisor and colleagues because I want it to sound exactly right. How can I stop feeling bogged down by my email responses?
Can I first just say how great I think it is that you’re dedicated to presenting yourself professionally and appropriately to your boss? If I could only show you some of the emails I’ve received, you might faint.
My guess is that if you’re putting this much thought into your emails you probably also put a lot of thought into other ways you present yourself, too, such as how you dress, speak, and interact in the workplace. And if my guess is right, your supervisor and colleagues likely already think positively of your professionalism. Reminding yourself of that context is step one to alleviating the email angst.
To keep working on reducing your anxiety and the time you spend on emails, I encourage you to do a little perspective-taking as you consider your supervisors and colleagues from another point of view: How can you be more respectful of their time? Most people are inundated with emails, and so they’re probably not eager to read long-winded but beautifully written electronic messages. You might therefore benefit from having a standard, polite opening to use on all your messages ready to go. Follow that up with a brief acknowledgement of their message (one sentence!) and then your action item -- whether that’s telling them the next steps you’ll take, seeking clarification on something, or offering a suggestion. The key here is to be direct; they’ll be more impressed with your clarity of conversation than they will be if you’ve said it “just right.” Finally, close with a premade signature. Keeping it short and sweet is a quality that many recipients will surely value -- and you’ll be well on your way to respecting your own time, too.