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Monday, April 29, 2013

Simple Steps to a Lean Email

Today I am pleased to present a guest post by Tony Ferraro of Creative Safety Supply (one of our sponsors). Tony talks about email best practices and provides some tips on productivity. This a topic I am sure we can all use some help improving.

If you are like the majority of people, your email inbox is bursting at the seams with all sorts of emails. Some emails are informational, some contain important attachments, some are waiting for a response, while others are just junk. It is easy to waste hours each day wrapped up in email-related activities and responses, thus creating a loss in valuable production time. A tactic to help counteract this loss in productivity is to follow some simple steps towards creating a lean email.  Many businesses implement lean practices into their daily processes and routines in order to eliminate unwanted wastes but neglect to follow through into creating a lean email as well. Since unneeded emails contribute towards several wastes such as waste of time, waste of productivity, and waste of email space, the implementation of lean tactics can really make difference in how you utilize email from this point forward.
Lean Email Tips
Let’s discuss some lean tactics that can be quickly and easily implemented to help streamline your email experience and improve your productivity levels.

1.       Determine if Email is the Best Tool: When communicating with people within the same vicinity, such as people who work in the same department or floor, email should not be used. Instead, it is easier to just call or visit the individual in person. By doing this, you are not wasting time writing the email or clogging up someone else’s inbox, and you are able to receive an immediate response or gain the information needed right then and there. Furthermore, communication is enhanced and errors are minimized since emails may foster misinterpretation.

2.       Each Email Should be Limited to One Topic: Many times people load a single email down with many different thoughts and questions regarding a variety of topics. However, these types of emails are often hard to respond to and can often elicit lengthy responses. Instead, emails should be limited to one topic so the receiver can respond quickly and efficiently. If the sender needs to ask multiple questions regarding different topics, it is better to call the person or visit the individual in person for improved communication.

3.       Keep Emails Short and to the Point: Emails should not exceed two lines in length. It is as simple as that. Don’t write someone a long story that could be conveyed much more easily over the phone. In addition, meetings should not be summarized through an email either, instead other sharing methods such as a staff shared drive or SharePoint software should be used.

4.       Set a Limit on your Email Inbox: Create a goal number of emails that you will allow to be in your email inbox at the end of each day. This number is totally up to you; however, common goals include numbers such as ten emails or only enough emails that can be viewed on one page. In order to meet this goal, you must get rid of unnecessary emails and respond to those emails that require a response.

5.       Use an Out of Office Message: Many email programs offer the use of out of office feature that will automatically inform others when you are out of the office. This will let others know that there may be a delay in your response as you are not available at the time.

6.       Make Folders: If you are a person who values organization, the use of folders can help to keep your inbox more orderly. For example, you could create a folder for emails that require a response from you, and another folder for emails that you are waiting for a response back from. This just helps to keep your inbox clean and it also helps to keep your responses organized as well.

7.       Delete!: Don’t be afraid to use delete. All emails do not need to be saved. If you have an important email or email attachment, just save it out somewhere else on your computer so you can eliminate it from your inbox.

A Clean Email is a Happy Email

The above tips can help you to create a lean email experience for yourself and for others as well. Don’t waste any more time being bogged down by a heavy email inbox, discover the freedom and benefits of a clean and lean inbox.

About AuthorAntonio Ferraro - On behalf of Creative Safety Supply based in Portland, OR (www.creativesafetysupply.com). I strive to provide helpful information to create safer and more efficient industrial work environments. My knowledge base focuses primarily on practices such as 5S, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and the Lean mindset. I believe in being proactive and that for positive change to happen, we must be willing to be transparent and actively seek out areas in need of improvement. An organized, safe, and well-planned work space leads to increased productivity, quality products and happier employees.

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1 comment:

  1. use as few folders as possible - learn to use seach folders in outlook.