Being a user and proponent of “Inbox Zero” and “Getting Things Done” (more on these later), I’ve spent a little time thinking about email. In short, I think that our relationship with email can easily become dysfunctional. For many people the email inbox is a default dumping-ground, where we invite things in with no mechanism or plan for dealing with them once they get there. Buried in the pile are important things that need to get done, but they’re obscured by the things that are not important. If you can’t find them, communication suffers. And, I think it’s safe to say most businesses function better with smooth communication.
I frequent Smashing Magazine for all kinds of graphic design related news, and I ran across a good article about email. (The article is targeted at web designers, but I think that most people who use email can relate.) The article starts with this same basic premise on the state of email, and then provides a number of great suggestions on how to put email back under your control.
You can read the article “Taming the Email Beast” on Smashing Magazine.
Want to go deeper down the rabbit hole?
The idea of processing your inbox down to zero is often called “Inbox Zero”, a practice/movement started by Merlin Mann at InboxZero.com. Additionally, much of what Merlin advocates is built on the larger concept of “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, which is a way of managing your time and all of the things you have to do in your life.