Marc Brownstein says that e-mail is diverting our best waking hours from thinking, conceptualizing and dreaming big ideas. Some good suggestions on dealing with email overload:
1. Let people know that you won’t respond immediately to their e-mails. If you respond immediately, you are only training senders to expect that kind of response every time.
2. Resist the urge. There are times when you should read/reply and times when you shouldn’t. Set aside 30 minutes at the beginning of your day, 30 minutes in the middle, and 30 minutes at the end of your day (at home, after my kids are in bed for me!), to go through your e-mail.
3. Make exceptions to the rule. If you have a BlackBerry, or wireless handheld device, check e-mail waiting for the elevator, waiting to be seated in a restaurant or waiting in the reception area before a meeting. That is a good use of downtime and allows you to re-focus when you are back in the office. Link.