I use Gmail, and like you, my inbox makes me anxious. I receive way too much email. Additionally, I'm of the opinion that in most cases productive work is done outside of email - writing code, negotiating a deal, or getting to know someone.
Nonetheless, email is a great tool of communication to help setup the productive work. It's a necessary evil so to speak. As a result, I try to minimize my time in it as much as possible. Here are the tools I use to help me with that:
- Boomerang - for scheduling emails and following up with emails at a later time
- Minimalist - for giving Gmail a more minimalist look.
- Keyboard shortcuts - for navigating Gmail more quickly. This works well in tanget with Minimalist above because it forces you to use shortcut keys.
- Rapportive - for interacting with people I don't know. I often have to do this, and it gives me very helpful information on who the person might be.
- Mailbox - not actually a Gmail plugin, but for on the go checking of my email. It lets me move emails to follow up with later - like Boomerang does but on mobile.
What do you use? Tweet me