We’ve all had it happen to us. It’s the worst, especially for us detail-oriented folk. You find a typo you’ve made in an email or letter, and not catch it till after you’ve sent it. Ugh! The wrong use of “there” or “it’s.” Misspelling someone’s name. Forgetting words altogether. No matter how many times you review your writings, one always manages to work its way in, glaring at you from your computer screen. You see it seconds after you’ve hit the send button, immediately criticize yourself and spend the next few hours convincing yourself that it’s no big deal and the President of the company still thinks you’re competent, even though you sent an email to one of his best clients, Tony, which had auto-corrected to Tiny.

We all make mistakes when drafting correspondence or reports and when you are your own editorial department, those pesky grammatical errors, auto-corrects, and incoherent sentences can unfortunately, go unnoticed. Instead of kicking yourself, try these few steps to rid your work of blunders.

Identify your common mistakes

Are you constantly mixing up “your” and “you’re”? Can’t remember when to use “affect” or “effect”? And when to use those pesky commas, semi-colons, or periods? Take a review of your past mistakes and see if you can identify a pattern. If you know you are wary of “your” and “you’re,” make a point to always check for them in your work.

Try reading aloud

If something doesn’t look right when you are typing it, read it out loud and see where you naturally pause (for commas), and if there are any awkward or unnecessary phrases. When you read it aloud, it forces you to slow down and pay closer attention than when you just skim over it, which is how we’ve become accustomed to reading texts, emails, and Kardashian status updates.

Give it some time

When you’ve looked at your document so many times you can’t see straight, sometimes it is helpful to put it down for a bit. Try drafting your work in the morning, then wait till after lunch to review and send. Allow yourself to come back with fresh eyes and a clear mind.

If you’re ever in a crunch or you are working on a super important piece, you can always ask a co-worker to review. However, you may want to be clear in that you just want them to check grammatical mistakes, not content. Sometimes that opens up a can of worms. No matter what works best for you, just remember that mistakes happen, regardless of all the preventative measures you take. Forgive yourself and move on. Your doing great. Or is it you’re? Dang it.

About the Blog: Culture Counts is a blog devoted to the discussion of law firm culture and corporate core values. Frequent topics include positive work environment, conscious capitalism, entrepreneurial management, positive workplace culture, workplace productivity, and corporate core values. 

About the Firm: Klemchuk LLP is an Intellectual Property (IP), Technology, Internet, and Business law firm located in Dallas, TX. The firm offers comprehensive legal services including litigation and enforcement of all forms of IP as well as registration and licensing of patents, trademarks, trade dress, and copyrights. The firm also provides a wide range of technology, Internet, e-commerce, and business services including business planning, formation, and financing, mergers and acquisitions, business litigation, data privacy, and domain name dispute resolution. Additional information about the IP law firm and its IP attorneys may be found at www.klemchuk.com.

Also published on Medium.