how do you manage email traffic?
I've noticed several other PAers also work on mutiple external projects with overlapping timelines, so I'm seeking experience, strength and hope on managing the email traffic this generates. On a typical day I get 40-60 work-related emails. In most cases, the sender expects a response that is either immediate, within the next hour or two, or at the very least within the work day (crossing three time zones).
For the last year or so I've been assigning Categories to incoming email and sorting my Inbox by Categories. But I'd like to consider a new organizing system that my boss suggested. It sorts into folders by topic using 136 different rules combinations. When she opens a folder to respond to emails about a specific matter, she focuses on just that matter until that folder is emptied. She is never distracted by incoming email - it just automatically sorts into folders that she deals with at set times each day. This sounds much more productive to me that switching constantly between projects, which I find totally distracting and draining.
My main concern is with my compulsive procrastination. If I can barely accomplish tasks that are high-pressure red flags in my face - what will happen if Outlook tucks emails away into folders without me even looking at them first? Will I really allocate the time to go through each folder in an orderly amanner, or will I just ignore them if they're not in my face?
Already I notice that whenever my Inbox contains no new items to be sorted into Categories, I feel "finished" - even though there are still TONS of emails hiding under each Category heading! I don't see them anymore so I relax/slack/procrastinate opening the Categories to actually respond to the emails lurking there. I worry that folders will be even worse.
Anybody else have tips for managing heavy email traffic? Thanks in advance for sharing.