I get waaaaaaaaaay too much email. That doesn't make me different. Actually I think it makes me normal (Finally something does!) I appreciate this medium for communication… it is immensely helpful to me, but at the same time I don't know what it is about the flickering pixels on a screen carrying messages about the latest and greatest products I can't live without or a quick hello from an old friend that draws my attention so fully. But, like many of us, when my email notifier goes off it is like the world stops and I can do nothing else until I see who this new message is from and what it is about. I have been working for a while at regularly zeroing out my inbox, but I am finding that if I do not do this daily, then I end up wasting more time by sorting through hundreds of messages (99% of which hold no significance) at the end of the week (or 2 weeks).
This is a work in progress for me, but a method that is helping me in this madness is the "star" function on Gmail. When I check messages I scan through the list and anything of value gets a star. Then I immediately archive everything. Gmail allows you to search emails very easily so if there is something important that I missed I can find it quickly. The "starred" list gives me quick access to the things that I deem important… and really, as a leader I have to make those decisions as to what is important and what is not or I should not be a leader. I have also turned my email notifier off. It is an uneccesary distraction. I don't need to be reminded to check messages. I do it far too much anyway. A little beep every 30 seconds is conter to my productivity… not helpful.