An email I wrote for work, that also works for personal emails:
Email traffic seems to have doubled since we've moved downstairs. Here are some of my strategies to manage my emails:
I use my in box as a to do list. The there's an email in my in box there is something I need to do in response. My goal is to have zero emails in my in box.
If an email does not apply to me, I delete it immediately. If it's something I may need later, I'll move it to where I know it will be. If the email requires a response, I will immediately hit reply even if I don't have the answer yet. That way I know I can't go home until I send the response. Before I close down at the end of the day I can see if there are any emails I haven't finished or replied to yet.
If I'm on the phone, and as a result of our conversation I need to provide information via email, I'll immediately open up a new email, address it, and type in the subject line, so I won't forget to send the email.
If someone asks for a response, I respond and copy everyone they had copied. I will send a DONE email to advise that a requested task has been completed. I do not send thank you emails, to save time and save cluttering other's emails. I copy my boss on emails where Ryerson may be in trouble, to keep him informed.
Be as clear as possible on emails. If the customer wants to know when something will ship and I'm not sure, I never over-promise. Always plan for the worst-case scenario. If we deliver sooner, I'm a hero.
When there are several back and forth replies to a particular email, I will save the most recent reply (unless it is not needed) and delete all previous copies.
Keep in mind the customer does not "have" to buy from us or respond to our wishes and demands. Treat customers as you would like to be treated when you are buying something in a store or on the phone. Proof-read emails before sending. If needed I can look over your email as well.
The first thing I do when I return to my desk from a meeting or lunch (or just being away) is check my emails. Any hot requests will demand my immediate attention. If a hotshot is needed I call in a truck as soon as possible.
It can take hours for a truck to arrive. Some fabricators close down at 4 or 5 pm. The earlier we call a truck the earlier it can deliver.
I try to keep my in box showing on one of my two screens and use the other screen for my AS400. That way I can keep an eye on any emails that may deliver.
These are some of my email strategies. Feel free to share some of yours.