How do we handle email?
I once heard a note about amount of stuff in you inbox, on your working table etc.: The items to handle to keep an inbox at a fixed level is the same, no matter if the inbox contain 1000 items or zero. In core: we always has to handle exactly as much as is incoming, so keeping the inbox empty, or the surfaces in our home clean, is the same amount of processing as having a fixed amount of mess. I find it good to remind myself of that fact, even though it does not take batch processing, or time-dependent things into account.
So what does my email processing look like, – I often skim through to see if there is something critical, and also often do quick email where I just answer things that have a short reply/action and archive anything that do not have any actions. Actions also include adding a task to the todo-list/calendar, reading etc., where tasks like writing longer emails also go to the todo-list. I regularly (usually between daily to up to a couple of weeks between) fully empty the inbox, making sure that everything that I see that needs answer has been done and archived. The last emails are always the most difficult, but it really helps to decide on that it should end up empty.
Having a small and regularly empty email inbox, is really nice because it gives a confidence that there is not laying some email around that is forgotten and needs to be answered. It still happens though, that I archive an email to quickly, or it ends up classified as spam, – so if you email me, and there is no answer within a couple of week, I probably archived it to fast or it ended in the spam filter, in which case try to contact me again.
Right now there is 3 emails in my inbox, and all of them are waiting for me to plan my calendar, before answering them.