Using lean principles to escape the tyranny of the email inbox

Lean Enterprise Institute faculty member Dan Markovitz throws you a life saver from the flood of daily emails at work.

The problem, notes Markovitz, is that all email from the trivial (there’s cake in the breakroom) to the important (there’s a major problem with a customer) is stuffed into the email communications channel.

“People are shackled to their inboxes because they’re terrified of missing the really important email,” said Markovitz, author of “A Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste and Improve Your Personal Performance.”

He suggests creating an agreement at work that truly important or urgent items be communicated face-to-face or by phone, if someone is traveling. Consign non-urgent and simple messages to email.

Then to better handle the email you do get, establish a protocol. “Put a stake in the ground, make a decision and literally move the email from the inbox to your calendar.” Play the video to hear how this simple tip can make you more efficient — and less frazzled.

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