When there is not a lot of time, you would triage bugs in software development and select the most important bugs you might want to fix. Take the idea to your email list and you are triaging your mail messages. This is where Microsoft Research has stepped in and created the tool SNARF: Social Network and Relationship Finder.
SNARF will index your mails and judge its importance. The email lists it presents is ordered by that importance. It will allow you to get through those long lists more quickly. It also allows you to build virtual meetings from the threads of mails that come to your inbox. Pretty cool.