E-Mail Management Tip: Unread Messages Smart Mailbox

I get a lot of mail. When things are humming, on the order of two hundred to three hundred a day. It’s a little slower now because a lot of people are on vacation, but not much. How to deal with all of it? It’s not easy, and it takes a lot of time, especially if I miss a day.
Since I started using Apple Mail (Mail.app for those in the know), I’ve fallen in love with Smart Mailboxes. On top of the 30-40 filters I have to shunt messages into appropriate folders based on listserv or project, I have a couple smart mailboxes, the most important being Unread Messages. I created a new Smart Mailbox with a couple parameters: Message is Unread, and not in my outbox (or various other AOL IMAP folders I don’t care about like “Spam”).
Having a single place for all my unread mail that collapses to empty when I’m done, and is sorted by thread, has saved me all kinds of time. I can quickly scan threads, making sure I only respond to the last message (or sometimes only read the last thread because it should have the whole conversation in it) and can take care of things right then, or flag them for later (that’s another smart box).
It makes mail more like reading feeds, which makes me happy, and might make you happy too.