I’ve written about how I handle email before. Jo van Every has an interesting post here, suggesting dealing with email as a whole is not a task on your to do list; but sorting your email is. I think this is absolutely right – my email is always sorted, but some things that come by email cannot be dealt with immediately. Say I receive a request to review. Given most journals now work by automatic software, I click on the link to say I will do this. I get another email back with a link to the paper and the online form to complete. I file that mail, marked as unread, in my ‘Action (to review)’ folder. It’s not done, but it is sorted. Then I plan the time I need to do that task, and do it. Only then does the email get marked as read and filed.
I’ve long called what I do ’email triage’. There is now a tool under that very title that Jo van Every links to. I’m not sure that I need to spend $10 to learn how to do what I already do, but some people might find it helpful.