Managing email is a tough task for anyone. If you're really overwhelmed, it might be time to take a more ruthless approach. Developer Matt Gemmell's solution is especially brutal but effective: if an email doesn't seem important to you, delete or archive it immediately.
Gemmell calls this the "Darwinian importance" of emails, and his argument is pretty simple:
The importance of an email isn't something you need to spend time thinking about. If it doesn't immediately and obviously make you feel you should reply to it within the next day or two, it's not that important to you. Archive or delete it.
If it's sufficiently important to someone else, that person will expend effort to make it come back to you. If the email does not come back to you, you would have wasted your time replying to it. Win-win.
Essentially, if you ignore the email, the sender will get back to you if it really matters. If it wasn't important, it will fade away. It's a bit cutthroat, but if you're struggling to get your inbox into a manageable state, Gemmel's method could prove helpful. Check out his full post for a few more ruthless tips to cutting down your inbox.
Managing Email Realistically [Matt Gemmell]