The joy of an empty mailbox is equivalent to the joy I once had at getting (surface) mail as a child.
Two recent press articles amongst many reference e-mail and task management.
USATODAY.com - How the big names tame e-mail
High-profile individuals face an e-mail challenge greater than most of us. Perhaps, then, they can teach us all how to better deal with e-mail. Authors, CEOs, celebrities, U.S. senators Ã¢Â€Â” they probably know the best tricks.
IF YOU FIND yourself creating daily and weekly lists for work, you're not alone. It turns out that 95 percent of executives and managers keep lists of things to do for business, even knowing they won't accomplish everything on them.
Both promise a lot and deliver a little. Essentially, well-known people have the same problems that everyone else does: too many things to do and not enough time to do it. Some are so wed to email that they barely have time to do anything else, assuming the calculations in the USA Today article are correct.
The basic rules of personal effectiveness still apply. Do the things that are important to you, not the stuff that happens to be flashing in your face. Set aside time to process your email, phone messages, surface mail. Be cognizant of your priorities for the day / week / month, and set aside time to take care of them.
For email, the best I have seen thus far is the rule of the 4-D's.* When you are reading mail: Deal with it now (respond and file out of your inbox). Delegate it (and remove from your inbox). Delay it (set aside time to work on it). or Delete it (ignore). The faster these things get filed appropriately, the fewer times you have to open it to remember why you left it in the mailbox.
And those tasks, make a list that works for you. But - and the article mentions this - commit to dealing with your task list the same way you deal with your other communications. If it can't get done, it needs to be on the "sometime maybe" list, instead of the one you see every day.