When you get an email that is frustrating, or upsetting it's easy to let your emotions get the best of you. For example, if you've been working on a deal for weeks, and you come to find out that a co-worker has just done something that endangers the chances of that coming to fruition. It may not be the best idea to reply at that very moment, as your judgment may be clouded by your anger and you might send a less than professional reply.
I noticed this behavior in myself once, as I hastily typed a reply to a vendor of ours who had dropped the ball in every way imaginable. I called over my assistant and said, "Listen to this and let me know if it's too much." In that moment --when those words left my lips-- I knew that the email itself was too harsh. If I needed to seek another's opinion on how harsh it was, I must have known subconsciously that it was a not a professional response.
Luckily I never pressed send on that e-mail, but it got me thinking. From that moment forward, I vowed to let the message sink in before replying so as to avoid making a situation worse. Here's how to clear your mind before hitting send:
1. Remove yourself from the situation
Mark that baby as unread, and come back to it when you're ready. Give it about 30 minutes before you even start to formulate a response. This time will allow you to simmer down, and to come up with a better plan of attack.
2. Meditate for a few minutes
If things like this rile you up often, perhaps taking up meditation might be of some help to you. I found that when I spent a few minutes a day meditating, that it made a lasting impression on me.
I was happier throughout the day, more thoughtful, and overall more kind. This might help you to avoid getting angry and instead funnel your energy into more constructive outlets.
3. Read a book
There's nothing like taking your mind off of work, yet still bettering yourself and learning something new. Take a few minutes to enjoy a book you've purchased on Amazon, but haven't yet read. This will change your mindset by distracting you with something else, and allowing you to revisit the topic again with a fresh perspective.
4. Take a lunch break
You might have been planning on doing this one already, but by strategically placing this break in between reading, and responding to a tricky email it may just do the trick. Also, if you generally eat lunch at your desk and continue working, it's probably a good idea to escape your usual work area and relax your mind so that you feel less stressed.
All four of these are office friendly solutions and will help you to remove yourself from the situation and come back to it with a renewed point of view. If you're still struggling to respond in a professional manner, consider ways to resolve the situation in your favor, and circle back with a resolution.