Write emails from bottom to top

Posted on — | 2 min read

In the years I’ve composed emails, I was initially finding it a little hard to go through the top-down steps of adding people in the To field, CC field and coming up with the subject line. There were two problems with this workflow:

It broke my flow for composing an email I’d have a vague idea of how to express my thoughts into words and that flow was broken by filling out these fields. I used to be trigger happy in sending the email. In most email clients, Option+Enter (or Alt+Enter) is the keyboard shortcut for sending email. I’d be so used to hitting these that I’d sometimes hit them in the middle of the email. This was particularly a problem when I was using IntelliJ IDEs quite heavily. Because, Option+Enter in an IntelliJ IDE would insert the currently suggested hint.

So, I figured out a simple fix for this: Write emails from bottom to top. Basically, do the following in order:

  1. Write the body of the email first and you get all your thoughts out.
  2. Then fill the subject line which is now easier to summarize.
  3. Add people in To and CC fields.

The best part about this workflow is, hitting Option+Enter at any point during the process (except once you start filling the To/CC fields) would do nothing, because there’s nobody to send the email to. This turned out to be super useful hack that I have been using ever since and has worked out really well.