I read the excellent The Responsiveness Trap article this morning, and I remembered writing this just about a year ago. And to some extent it still holds true. For me I've classed Responsive as Efficient (i.e. turning things around quickly), and have identified that I need to focus on effectiveness rather than just reaction/response/efficiency. Some days this is easier than others. I do like having an empty inbox, but interestingly am less worried about having an empty instapaper folder prefering instead to indulge myself with an hour catch up reading things I've identified at a later time when I have the time to concentrate on them.
I know that I have a habit of sending long rambling chatty emails to friends (in a similar way to I would have sent letters years ago), and, just in case any of you are reading this, I don't expect quick replies to them, generally there isn't anything time sensitive in these. You don't need to apologise for not responding, nor do I want you to feel that you owe me email. I'd rather get email from you in your time, on your terms, when you have time. If I need a reply urgently, I'll let you know and if I haven't heard from you for a while, I will check in and make sure you're ok.
Whilst writing this my inbox counter has gone up, and I've had to fight myself not to instantly click on the icon. I think that the next thing in my todo list today has to be to turn off the notification icon and only read emails when I've finished other tasks, rather than letting them destroy my concentration.