The first step is to establish some guidelines and boundaries. When do you check email? What emails have priority? How long can you wait to reply? When will you make time to write replies?
In general, I check all my email accounts once a day and my work email every couple of hours. Emails from real people sent directly to me get a reply within 1-2 days, sooner if there is a quick answer. I set aside an hour a day just to reply to current emails and process the rest.
It's okay to delete!
Or archive. Take a moment to skim through the senders and subjects. Then do yourself a favor and select the messages you already know are irrelevant or obsolete and click DELETE. If you have fear of missing out (FOMO), you can archive them or move them to another folder. If there is something really important, it will come up again.
Flags, folders, and filters
Take full advantage of your email service provider's organizational features. Use flags or stars to make high-priority emails stand out. Folders and labels keep your emails filed away once you've taken any necessary action. Set up filters for emails that don't require any action on your part, so that they bypass your inbox and don't waste your time.
A note for Gmail users
If you're a Gmail user, you've doubtless encountered the new tabbed categories feature and have either disabled it, streamlined it to make it work perfectly for your needs, or are still scratching your head trying to figure out how to make it useful. Because I use an email marketing service to deliver high-quality group emails and give you the option to unsubscribe at any time, my emails are likely determined to be Promotions or Updates. If you'd like to have these emails show up in your Primary inbox, simply drag and drop any of my emails into your Primary tab and click "yes" when Gmail asks if you'd like future messages from winshipwellness AT gmail DOT com to go to your Primary tab.
Of course I'd love for your to read, cherish, and engage with every email I send, but I understand that you've got to do what works best for you. What strategies do you use to keep your digital life organized? Where would you like to be more organized?