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Posted on January 12, 2017

I deleted “just” from everything I wrote. Here’s what happened.

editing

We all have a word that manages to creep into nearly every Slack message or email. Mine is “just.”

  • “I’m just circling back with you to see…”
  • “I just thought about this…”
  • “That’s just the right amount of…”

I counted, and one day I wrote the word “just” 11 times. Yikes.

It was time for a word detox. So, for a week, I decided to delete “just” every single time I wrote it (and get a thumb workout at the same time). Here’s what I learned from my “just” detox:

  • I stopped minimizing my message. By writing “just” I was sabotaging whatever came next. If I was “just saying” or asking someone to “just let me know,” I was essentially tiptoeing around whatever I really wanted to say.
  • My messages were crisp and less repetitive. “Just” didn’t add any specific measurement or meaning. It’s just an unnecessary word.
  • My brain is full of ideas and they didn’t “just” come to me. Ideas come about from extensive brainstorms, tons of experiences and loads of work. Every once in awhile an idea just comes to me when I’m running or in the shower, but let’s face it, hard work doesn’t just happen.

Try this mini experiment on yourself! Think about your overused word or phrase. Does it bring meaning and clarity to your sentences? Or can you just let it go?

Kate Brinkerhoff