Robert Scoble mentions that he’s nearing email bankruptcy with more than 1500 messages to go through. According to Lawrence Lessig in Wired and mentioned by Merlin at 43 Folders, that’s the point at which you throw your hands up in the air and reply back to everyone who sent you anything saying “Sorry, but I deleted your message. If it’s important, please get back to me.” Voila, your debt is wiped.
If he’s not already looked at it, he REALLY needs to give ClearContext a go. In fact, he can use promo code CC15-15190 if he’d like to get $15 off. ;-)
Shameless pimping aside, ClearContext will do so much more than just the “triage” he mentions (organizing or grouping into folders). If you let it analyze your email history and contacts, it will prioritize those messages based on who sent it, whether it’s part of a thread you’re involved in, and a variety of other factors.
Chances are pretty good that a guy like Robert gets a lot of unsolicited, “cold call” messages from people hoping for a mention in his blog. Let those get pushed down the stack and watch the messages from his boss, his family, and important colleagues rise to the top. My guess is that a small fraction of that 1500+ messages really NEEDS some action. So once the important stuff is highlighted, use the ‘action’ buttons on each message to create Outlook tasks, appointments, new contacts, or defer it to some later date (my favorite procrastinator-friendly feature).
And aside from the promo code above and being a happy customer, I’ve got no affiliation with ClearContext.