It seems as if there is no way out. Every exit is blocked or locked.
It overwhelms you. That's how a leader described his email inbox when he returned from lunch. Email overload is draining the productivity out of many workers - maybe even yours. So, how do you manage it?
First, recognize and tell your team that every email is not of the same priority. They will never be able to treat every message like an incoming phone call. It's their job to determine what the priorities are.
Second, email must be divided between the #1 - must be answered immediately, the #2 must be answered within 24 hours and #3 place in folder for review if necessary. Third, answer the #1's first and before you do anything with the #2's.
Talk openly about email. Don't let anyone hide behind "catching up on email"...only you can set the tone. If you don't your team will become tone deaf and on permanent lock down in email jail.