Simply use multiple email accounts. As a minimum separate your personal and business email even if you're self-employed. You can go further. Most of your email is probably noncritical. Just stuff to read. Why not use a third email account for these items? Gmail works well.
On a Blackberry Bold 9700 (and probably other models) you can have up to 10 email accounts. This seems excessive but shows a good design. Here's a way to setup your accounts:
- strictly business
- for reading (work and personal)
A different structure might suit you but you get the point. You can also setup multiple email accounts on your computer with Microsoft Outlook.
You no longer lose time in organizing your email into folders or categories. You no longer clutter your business email account with unnecessary messages. This makes life (a bit) easier.
To save even more time, unsubscribe from what you don't often read --- even if you feel you should be reading those emails. Because you aren't. You can also setup rules to redirect or categorize emails for the messages that remain.
The tiny screen and keyboard of a smart phone still annoy me. Whenever possible, I read and reply to email from my netbook. The larger keyboard and screen make a big difference.
Blackberry Bold 9700
Until last month, I had an ancient corporate locked-down Blackberry 8703e (photo) with a thumb-straining scroll wheel that kept breaking. I had three refurbished models in three months, each with other problems like burned out pixels or sticky keys. Many features were disabled, including Gmail, web access and the weather icon.
What a difference with the Blackberry Bold 9700. Everything runs. everything works. The screen is amazing. The keyboard takes some getting used to because the keys feel smaller and tilt towards the hand you are most likely to use. You may already know about these things but I'm coming from the dark ages. There are no moving parts. The click wheel is now a trackpad similar to what you'd find on a notebook computer. The trackpad is much faster and easier to use. Even intuitive.
Personal activities don't belong on your corporate calendar but you want all your events in one place. The Blackberry merges multiple calendars from different Gmail and Google Apps accounts. You can add an entry on your Blackberry and select the Google account of your choosing. The same goes for contacts.
You now have the advantage of a seamless backup of your e-mails, calendars and contacts. All you need is a computer with a web browser.