We’ve all been there: You’re shooting off a very important and timely message to your co-worker, a business contact, your boss. And a little after you click send, you look over your missive and — whoops.
Maybe your key stuck? You just forgot about the different there/their/they’res? Your coffee hasn’t kicked in? Whatever the case, email typos can be embarrassing.
But according to a study by the browser extension Grammerly, there is a best time to answer emails: In the afternoon from 1-5pm.
Grammerly checks spelling and grammar when you type in your browser, like an omnipresent spell check. When they crunched the data on what words they were correcting, at what time, they discovered that emails written in the golden afternoon period only contained 3.7 errors per 100 words.
The larger study explored whether being an early bird (writing emails between 4-8 am) or a night owl (writing emails between 10 pm – 2 pm) resulted in more errors. In that case, early birds won out.
But, in a move that’ll please night owls, the Grammerly study also cites evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa’s research about late night habits and high IQ.
Realistically, it’s hard for people to change their email habits. For my own part, I like to draft emails at night, then proofread and send them in the morning. Forcing yourself to send emails during a specific time oftentimes doesn’t make practical sense, but taking that little extra time to read everything over applies no matter when you’re sending.