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Thursday Tip: LATTE for email organization

Updated: Dec 18, 2021

It's October, and for many educators and students, many of us probably have quite a bit of emails in our inbox. For those of us who want to start managing our email inboxes with an easy-to-use method, this post is for you!

*Please note that this method is designed to be used with Google Suite Tools (e.g. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Tasks)

Why I love this method for emails...

LATTE gives us 5 options for any email message: Label, Archive, Two-minute rule, Task, and Event.

I personally use the LATTE strategy to process my emails (I'm one of those people who like to keep my inbox clear whenever possible).

For students, it is a concrete strategy that is easy for them to understand. I work with middle schoolers and it typically takes only 10-15 minutes for me to both teach it to them and for them to start using it effectively. One of my 8th graders was able to manage over 200 emails during a 15-minute session in September and they felt a great sense of accomplishment when they were finished.

It's an easy way to create a win for students who struggle with organization.

How to use the LATTE method?

LABEL: First, create labels for each subject area (for students) including other common email categories such as homeroom/advisory, elective, clubs, athletics. Next, move important emails from the inbox to the label folder. Examples: project instructions from a teacher, study resources from a classmate, etc.

ARCHIVE: For emails we don't need, but don't want to delete. Examples: ads from educational salespeople, coupons, and other emails that are not "important".

TWO MINUTE RULE: "If you can resolve this email in under 2 minutes, take care of it right now." If not, see "task".

TASK: "If you can't resolve this email in under 2 minutes, convert it to a task".

EVENT: If it's an important appointment or event, add it to Google Calendar.

Remember checking email and processing email is not the same thing...

As Susan Kruger, M.Ed. points out, "this is something we need to talk about with our children. Checking emails is what we do on our mobile devices, we see if anything needs our urgent attention. Processing email goes a layer deeper in translating things to calendar events, archiving something we don't need, labeling something we might need for a class, and so forth."

BONUS: Processing emails using the LATTE is not only quick and effective when done regularly, but it also helps students understand that their inbox is not a place for storing emails and helps students stay on top of important emails without getting bogged down.

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