I delete as much as I can. Drag stuff to the calendar or task list. Save each project in its own directory and save reference material in subject directories. I work the task list and calendar and keep the inbox empty. I, too, use Allen's GTD system.
I believe it's real important to delete stuff. The more stuff I delete the easier it is to find the reference and project material I've filed. An empty inbox makes me happy.
I don't trust the outlook file system for project data and reference material. Almost all undeleted email is saved to its project directory or its reference directory on my usb drive. A macro builds a filename from some of the mail fields and saves the file as a *.msg file (which preserves attachments).
Email comes in through the company Exchange server. The admins are great. Only three or four commercial spams per year get through. I do still have a bozo bin rule for two or three inside people and one or two subject lines that are annoying.
The first wholesale deletion is email that is not sent directly to me. I have a saved view that shows my inbox "grouped by recipient". I don't like the preview window--too big-- but I display the first couple dozen characters of the message field. Only a few cc's and "All department" mails are _not_ deleted.
I then toggle the view to my standard "group by sender". I delete mail from my boss and his boss if it is trivial or not worth keeping. If there's a quick response I do it and then go back to processing my in basket. Otherwise, I drag the mail to the task folder. If the action is going to involve other people or analysis time, or is a multistep process. I click a macro button that gives the task a project name and marks it as a project task. Another macro creates tasks with the same project name and I note the specific action I will need to perform. Then I go back to processing my in basket. Later, when I group tasks by project name (BillingInformation) each project and its related actions are in the same group.
If the mail is something I want to keep and refer to later, I try not to keep it. I delete it if the "refer to later" is only a "might" or "maybe". Otherwise I then click the macro that names and saves mail to the file system. If a directory for the reference does not yet exist, I reconsider saving it or, rarely, create a new reference directory. Oh, yeah, training information I post to my calendar on the Friday before three-day weekends and the week between Christmas and New Year.
After mail from my boss and his boss, I do the other mail pretty much the same way. The end result is an empty email basket and one list of tasks to do. I have only two priority levels: 1)doit, and 2)maybe do it someday. I just scan the doit and choose by judgment.
This is pretty much the email part of the GTD system. There are other steps and techniques that don't deal directly with email.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen $9 paperback.
Read the first two or three chapters and then the summary pages of the rest of the chapters. Then start. I had planned to go parallel with my Franklin Planner for two months, but dropped the Franklin Planner after ten days.
Palm organizer - How David uses his Item #: 60603 Disclose email address and download. http://www.davidco.c...ticles-p-1-c-254.php
I used a palm pilot and sync by cable to outlook 2003 until network security upgrades broke the palm pilot syncing. Outlook Web access to the exchange server has replaced this for me. My blackberry is pretty much used as read only. I don't trust its syncing.
GTD and Outlook 2003 Item #: 10130 $15 http://www.davidco.c...papers-p-1-c-263.php
This paper has good advice on how to ignore most of the task fields, how to use notes and calendar with Allen's system. After following the advice of this paper for a couple of months I wrote macros for repetitive actions. Allen and others sells outlook add-ins, but the trial versions didn't work smoothly. Most of the free macros posted on the web don't match my work style.