“And here's something amazing. If I wait a day, it takes me about an hour to restore my mailbox. If I wait two days, it takes me about an hour-and-a-half. If I wait three days, it still takes me about an hour-and-a-half.”Very true. I’ve found that both momentum and having other people pick up mailing list–slack in the interim contribute significantly to making bulk e-mail processing efficient.
I’m somewhat of an e-mail apologist, though I probably get less overall — and more directly-relevant — e-mail than the people who think that it’s outright broken.
I enjoy the two or three hours every morning when Mountain View is asleep because I can plow through the previous day’s mail quickly. As it gets towards the afternoon and they start the firehose I then just try to skim and pick out the important messages.