"The Zero InBox is hardly a new idea, but cloud based tools make it achievable"
Email is the greatest morale destroyer of all time and completely rubbish as a way to run your working life. I've been a proponent of a Zero Inbox for some time (hardly a new idea - see http://inboxzero.com/ ) and now stick to it.
When I look at my inbox I don't leave it until it is empty. Here's my protocol:
Does it required my action (now or later)? - I copy it into my organiser (Wunderlist*), adding a reminder/to do date if needed, file it into an inbox folder related to the topic or project. I add it to my diary if it's an event (I usually paste the email content in there as well)**.
Any files sent to me I save in my Dropbox UoN folder.
Do I need this information at some point in the future? As above. The reminder may well just be to delete the information.
Is this general reference? I file it into an inbox folder related to the topic or project.
The rest just get deleted. For Wunderlist you can substitute Outlook flags/tasks or any other to do type reminder (Remember the Milk etc.)
It works for me!
* Wunderlist synchonises between the Chrome browser and my iPad (it does android too) so cutting and pasting from Outlook on my PC is easy. Is allows for sub-tasks too. It's free, but worth paying for. ** I don't wait for an invite as not everybody issues these. If I do I can just delete my version.