Below are the two views I switch back and forth between while using Microsoft Outlook. Since using e-mail at work is synonymous with breathing it goes without saying that I spend a substantial amount of time using outlook; however, I would guess (meaning I haven't done any actual measurement/testing) that I spend far less time looking at my e-mail. The reason I believe this to be true is because I do not fear my inbox. It is NOT a source of stress for me.
|Default view with menus expanded|
|Reading view with menus collapsed|
One way I accomplish "conquering my inbox" is by switching to the "reading view" (as the name implies) when I need to focus on responding to messages. This view allows me to focus on reading my e-mail and responding as needed. When I to organize, archive, setup tasks, manage my calendar, etc. I switch to the default view. However as a rule I DO NOT leave outlook in the default view, so as to encourage focusing on messages as they arrive and not the other tasks as listed previously. This often results in my being able to read and absorb more information from my e-mails.
Just as with code, if the viewing area for displaying lines of code is larger you tend to get a better "overview" of what the code is attempting to do. The same holds true (at least in my case) of the reading pane in Outlook. If you can see more of the e-mail thread at one time you tend to absorb more of what has transpired, this is often helpful when you are looped into a discussion after it has been initiated.
|Reading and default view in MS Outlook|