I don’t know if clearing your junk mail out of your inbox is a ‘sort’ or a ‘shine’ task in the Kaizen 5S list but it’s definitely in there. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and I keep at it all day.
Somehow I’m on a lot of mailing lists. I get emails from people wanting to discuss my developer needs, how I can optimize my company’s cloud services et cetera, et cetera. And I quickly file that all with the delete button because none of this has anything to do with my job.
One thing I’ve discovered is that by getting my inbox down to zero items (that’s not zero unread, that’s zero as in empty) it’s exceedingly easy to see and purge that junk mail. Of course I could (and I do) use Outlook’s ‘Rules’ function and move mail automatically to Junk or delete it. That’s an easy and fast function to use – but I get enough ‘new’ junk mail it’s just as fast to highlight the items individually and delete them.
Deleting items is a crucial part of processing your email – we give it short shrift because… I guess it’s because deleting something doesn’t feel like accomplishing something like responding to a note does. But leaving that email in place just adds to the confusion that’s your inbox – purging is just as important as flagging something for follow up.
It’s like keeping your desk relatively clean – the more organized it is – the easier it is to see what needs to get done. So whether you classify it as a sort or as shine function it’s important to keep doing it.