Here's what I think I need in order to process email efficiently. Rather than Gmail's single checkbox per message, instead I want multiple, a small number of checkboxes, typically associated with user configurable labels:
I would drag my usual labels or folders into the rightmost columns. I can handle a few such at a time, via checkboxes.
I would scan the full list, clicking checkboxes as I go,
and then hit "Perform".
Sure, there might still be leess frequently used labels and folders. But the most important half dozen are immediately visible.
= Sorting, not Searching =
Much as I like using the pen, it is still too annoying to click through my email in time order.
To really catch up on my email,
I gave up on Gmail, and fell back to Thunderbird's Imap client.
Nice that it allows me to handle my email, and then switch back to gmail.
The key to catching up on such an overflowing Inbox is to sort my messages.
E.g. sort by "From:". And then quickly go through all of the email from frequent flyer programs, and file it as pseudo-spam.
Similarly for certain subjects.
Basically, such sorting amounts to simple, ad-hoc, filtering.
This is rather like an extension of one of my favorite sayings:
- The most important thing is to be able to automatically filter your email.
The next most important thing is to NOT have to write the automatic filters. :-me 2010
Actually, alphabetic sorting is not really what I want. Important single item topics get sandwiched between big groups of pseudo-spam.
Instead, what I want in the user interface is
* GROUP BY something like "From:" or "subject:"
* SORT GROUPS BY number of items in the group
* sort within the group by date, etc.