Lean Office – how not to “drown” in emails

Using e-mail has become a common activity these days. We are constantly sending and receiving e-mails. In many jobs, it is a mandatory task that we cannot do without. It is also very often the primary and expected form of communication from superiors, co-workers, customers and business partners. Proper use of the virtual mailbox, learning the ins and outs of your favorite email program, as well as organizing and filing messages has become a new kind of art. Those who possess its secrets have a chance to work more effectively and efficiently.

Table of Contents

  1. How often do you check your email inbox?
  2. Are you worried about overlooking an important email?
  3. How to help yourself?
  4. The “strainer” principle
  5. Intuitive titles

1. How often do you check your email inbox?

Do you have trouble concentrating while working at the computer?

It is important to grasp the frequency with which we use our email. Answering these questions can be the start of change. Limiting email receipt to two per day can result in a significant increase in our concentration in the workplace. This is because it has been proven that each time we check our email inbox, we need about 23 minutes to return with the same concentration to an interrupted task.

2. Are you worried about overlooking an important email?

We are afraid of overlooking an important message, so we leave the inbox open throughout the day. We check it multiple times in an hour. We fail to focus, disorganize our own rhythm, and consequently delay the completion of scheduled tasks.

3. How to help yourself?

If the phenomena described above are familiar to you, it is worth applying the lean technique and introducing discipline and clear rules that will help bring organizational chaos under control. Getting started on your own email inbox management system:

Step 1: Turn off audio and visual notifications for incoming emails.

Step 2: Set and adhere to fixed times for receiving and sending emails.

Step 3: Divide inbox emails into 5 categories:

  • Reply quickly (work no longer than 5 minutes).
  • Reply later (I need time to write a reply)
  • Keep (emails that need to be on hand)
  • Wait (I am waiting for a response, information)
  • Archive (compiled, but to be retained)

Step 4: Delete unnecessary emails.

It goes without saying that during any cleanup, we delete unnecessary things. This is also the case with unnecessary e-mails. However, what to do in a situation where, in the course of organizing, you are not sure whether you want to delete an email? Nothing easier! You should create a “delete on trial” folder and move there all those e-mails that are difficult to part with. However, you can’t keep them for more than 6 months. Six months is the time during which the usefulness of the retained content is safely verified. After this period, with peace of mind, you can make a selection and delete unnecessary data.

4. The “strainer” principle

Finally, a few more words about whether you must respond to every e-mail. No, the so-called “sieve” rule sounds surprisingly simple: bad e-mails land in the trash, good ones deserve to be elaborated or answered.

Thus, don’t respond to e-mails when:
a. the question is not clear and the answer requires elaboration
b.the message is not related to the answer to your e-mail or does not relate to your work/responsibilities.
c. something bad will happen after your answer, such as offending or upsetting someone
d. nothing important will happen after you don’t respond.

5. Intuitive titles

Develop the habit of typing a specific e-mail subject, case number or project.

This will make replies to your emails come faster, because the title itself will inform the recipient about the nature of the message and motivate them to provide the information they need.

Do you want to learn more lean techniques that will optimize your work? Are you interested in implementing lean office methods and tools?

Get in touch with us!