In a conversation with my manager yesterday, I was reminded of the book "Getting Things Done" (GTD) by David Allen (see part of the book here). The book describes having a system to process all incoming information (requests, actions, FYI, etc.). It works for job assignments, monkeys on your back (this is a reference to the Harvard Business Classic "Management Time: Who's Got the Monkey?" by by William Oncken, Jr., and Donald L. Wass), and email too.
In the GTD book, there is mention of how some incoming items should be handled right away if they take about 5 minutes or less to get done. This has worked great for me. Yesterday, my manager mentioned that since I have lots of small work tasks piling up, maybe I should try to tackle some of the small tasks ("low hanging fruit") to get them crossed off my list. It was then that I realized that sometimes we need to "Raise the Threshold." We need to change the 5 minute threshold to 30 minutes or 60 minutes so that we can get some of the tasks hanging around on our list moved off and completed. I'm working on that now. Maybe this idea will help you too!
By the way, if you're interested in GTD, take a look at the links above. You might also be interested in the related inboxzero.com information for managing your email.