There are 11,311 messages in my personal email box. Oh don't worry. Only 4,749 are unread. Hey, don't I get credit for at least opening 6,562 of them? Among the unopened are daily headlines from the New York Times, real estate listings, Sirius satellite radio program updates, LinkedIn connection updates, and messages I send to myself from work (recipes, reminders, topics to blog about, links to articles, etc.).
This is in contrast to my work email box, which ebbs and flows depending on a variety of factors, but rarely gets above 100 and rarely holds anything that hasn't been read within hours of arrival. The box was getting a bit big (75), but today, I managed to chip it down to 16 messages (and all of them read). It was not easy. The reason the messages were there was because something needed to be done with them.
Oftentimes, that something is a series of things (make a call, update a task, create an appointment, build a spreadsheet, create a file, you get the idea). Sometimes, it takes an hour to put away a single email.
Obviously, I don't make such time for my personal email. Probably twice a year, I plumb the depths and do some serious deleting. Time to do that again. If only I had time.