I currently have 163 unread emails (*oops 166 between the time that I wrote this and when I took the screenshot) in my inbox (I have about 1000 unread emails in other folders - most of them are sent to those folders using automatic rules.
For example, if I am cc'd on an email with more than 5 others it must be less important than an email sent directly to me. Or, if an email comes from a person who normally forwards jokes, it goes into a folder automatically... You get the idea).
I don't know about you, but I find that email is broken! I get at least 300 emails a day in my 4 primary email accounts. Most emails are a waste of time. People email things to 'pass the buck', or delay having to deal with it themselves (the 'what is your view?' emails). Others are just information about meetings I have already sat through or prepared for.
I tend to get more critical and necessary contacts via twitter, SMS and to a lesser extent Facebook, and of course through phone calls. Perhaps it is because those persons make the effort to contact me, not just pop words into my inbox.
Of course I have my wife, boss and secretary on a priority list that keeps their emails in my inbox and highlights them for me to be able to scan the header quickly and see if I need to respond.
Most of my emails are read and answered on my iPhone, blackberry or iPad in the 'stolen moments' between meetings, before 6am, or after 10pm at night...
I found this post by Kevin Rose very helpful!
How do you deal with the barrage of emails each day?