One of the time traps at work is emails. People spend so much time checking emails that it is recognized as one of the top interruptions and distractions at work. Precious focus and schedules have been thrown off by this nasty habit of constantly checking emails.
People have now gotten to believe that if they fail to check their email on a per-minute basis, they can miss out on something important. Sure, important emails might be sent to you through the course of the workday but you need not spend every minute of every work hour spying on your inbox.
A way to manage emails is to set aside periods where you check and reply to urgent emails. One trick that I do is I spread my email work into four 10-minute sessions in my workday.
It’s the first thing I sit down on my computer, then I check again just before my first coffee break in the morning. I check it again after lunch and finally just after my last break in the afternoon. This allows me to respond to critical emails without losing my grove for the rest of the work day.
Also, try to avoid using it like an IM or a text chat. You have technologies for those. If you need to urgently resolve matters, try making a phone call instead so that you can have instantaneous feedback.
Organize your inbox. One of the things I love about Gmail is its labeling and filtering features. This way, I can set a filter for every email that I usually receive. This allows me to immediately know the nature of the emails I receive. After I resolve an email, I automatically archive it properly labelled. This way, my inbox is clutter free.