Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero theory of email is an extremely effective way to turn down the noise and get control of your inbox. After all, the inbox on your (or your secretary’s) desk is a waypoint, not a filing cabinet. Shouldn’t your email inbox be the same? Makes sense, but many people just let their email inbox fill up with junk.
And many people over-organize their email. All those folders into which you carefully sort your email (one for each client, maybe?) are largely wasted effort. You can just use the handy search box to find them when you need them (plus, unless you are using Gmail, you have a host of sent emails that do not end up in those folders, anyway).
Do you have a load of spam and listserv emails sitting in your inbox? Why? Delete it if you do not need it.
Delete the junk, act on the important stuff, and then archive it. Sort only what you must (I have one big “clients and cases” folder where I toss everything case-related, although I am not even sure that much is necessary).
Enjoy a tranquil inbox.