The goal: zero e-mail in your inbox.
Mann recently gave a Google Tech Talk about the Inbox Zero system. It takes about 30 minutes to view the formal part of his presentation (there is a Q& A for the last 30 minutes), which makes some pretty compelling points:
Today I feel like the only way you are going to succeed at a job...one of the most important soft skills you can have is figuring out how to deal with a high volume of e-mail.Principals may not be able to apply all of his concepts to their inboxes, but there are some tips that can easily be put into practice (like the two-minute reply, spending time to address an issue immediately rather than allowing the message to junk up your inbox). It's worth trying, particularly if your inbox runneth over...And your time does not.
The two most precious natural resources you've got are your time and your attention. They're both finite and they're both irreplaceable.
A lot of people are living in their inboxes...They leave their e-mail open all day long...it's auto-checking throughout the day. Little blips and e-mail becomes the nexus for everything they do at work.
There is no better way to have your time burgled than not having a healthy relationship with your e-mail.