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Using lean principles to escape the tyranny of the email inbox

Markovitz, Dan
6/21/2013

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.

Discover how to do better work faster: http://www.lean.org/Workshops/WorkshopDescription.cfm?WorkshopId=86