I recently stumbled across a method of managing my email that actually works. It's so simple and effective that I can't believe no one ever showed it to me before.
Now, in the blink of an eye, I can easily reference any reply I'm waiting on, remind myself of the important tasks requiring my attention, and look up that good restaurant my buddy told me about but I can't remember what it's called. All the while, I don't have to sift through a cluttered inbox each time I log in.
I discovered it while reading David Allen's influential book, Getting Things Done, and haven't looked back since.
David sums up the rationale for his suggested system with the following observation:
"Most people use their email “in” for staging still-undecided actionable things and reference, a practice that rapidly numbs the mind: they know they’ve got to reassess everything EVERY TIME they glance at the screen. If you never had more than a screenful of emails, this approach might be reasonably functional, but with the volume most professionals are dealing with these days, that doesn’t apply."