This has been a huge issue for me - procrastinating responses to any email that takes thought or action, using Inbox to store an ever-increasing backlog. @ 40-60 work-related emails a day, that got out of hand quickly. Last month I started almost every day facing a backlog of ~400 emails! Never again, with HP and PA's help.
I had to let go alot of the backlog without resolving or addressing it - things like my professional journals that I'll never have time to read, vendor announcements that might (or not) have The Answer to something I need, etc. I had to trust my HP to alert me to which backlogged items had already died from benign neglect, which needed to be scheduled as a Task with a dated/timed reminder, and which needed to be addressed NOW. I spent most of the last three weeks doing that.
To manage incomings, I set some goals:
- read all emails in the daypart they arrive (morning, afternoon)
- cancel email subscriptions that I haven't used in the last 6 months (goal: reduce this to 3 months)
- never end the workday with more that 25 items in my Inbox.
- In Week 2 I reduced that to 10, then in Week 3 it's down to 5 which feels great.