Let’s stop taking an ad-hoc approach to email. Let’s do it intentionally.
Here’s the thing. When we enter our inbox without a fixed procedure, we are immediately faced with dozens of options regarding how we are going to manage our email.
While options sound like a good thing to have, they are extremely limiting.
“Did he just write that options are extremely limiting?” Yes, I did.
Options only add value if they give us best-practice alternatives to apply in very specific situations. Otherwise, they just slow us down and rob us of mental energy.
As Shelle Rose Charvet writes in Words That Change Minds, options don’t strengthen performance, they add more variation and risk.
The same is true in processing email. The LeanMail method follows a three-step process: Sort, Straighten, then Shine. Lean enthusiasts will note that these are the first steps in 5S. That is not a coincidence. 5S is a universal tool followed by thousands of organizations the world over, and it makes perfect sense for managing email.