works for me: organizing email
I have different email accounts for my different hats. They all feed (are automatically fowarded) into one gmail account. As they arrive, they are automatically tagged (thanks to gmail's filtering abilities) based on where they came from.
Emails arriving on my work account are tagged "School"
Emails arriving on my friends & family account are tagged "Personal"
Emails arriving on my political account are tagged "GOP"
Within each I have a few more filters, i.e. Adoption Listserves are tagged "Adoption" and so forth.
So, I have a really full gmail inbox which I rarely open, because I have everything in it forwarded to yet another account which I read on my iTouch. I read emails as they arrive, and either delete them immediately if nothing is needed of me or leave in the Inbox if I need to take action.
In the evening, I sit down with my 'puter and my iTouch and look at what is left in the inbox. I find the corresponding email in my mongo gmail account and tag it "TASK", then I delete it from the iTouch inbox. That's all I do. Just Tag it in one place and delete it in the other. This keeps my portable email lean and quick to load and I don't get sucked into responding to the first one I see when there are other, more pressing ones, awaiting.
Then, when I have time, I open my mongo file and click on TASK. All the tasks awaiting me are assembled for me. I can easily scan them and see which is most urgent or most tardy or whatever. As I complete the task, I remove the TASK tag and that email reverts to is original folder in case I need it later.
And if ever I need to find an email, I just click on the corresponding tag and can usually find it right away.
So basically, I let automatic filters do my filing for me. I read email on my iTouch and I type email once-a-day on my big computer.