It's easy to spend a lot of time dealing with your e-mail, but you can do a few things to speed up and/or improve the process. First, I'd like to make a couple of cautionary statements that basically come down to this: think before you send. If you have received an e-mail that went out to a lot of other people, consider whether or not everybody needs to see your response. If you really plan to send a reply to just one person, don't accidentally hit the "reply to all" button. Doing so can be a potentially embarrassing mistake.
Along the same lines, as I've been trying to explain to my mother for two years now, please don't leave the prior 750 e-mail addresses listed in a forwarded e-mail when you pass something on. The answer is the Delete key. Just highlight this extra junk and press Delete. Then forward your e-mail on to your list. Passing on endless e-mail addresses all over the Internet is just asking for trouble. I have enough unwanted e-mail as it is and I'd rather not end up on every online joke list in cyberspace.
Now for a quick tip. If you want to pass on a Web link to someone, the easiest thing to do is open your browser and highlight the Web site name (URL) in the address bar. Press Ctrl+C to copy it. Now in your e-mail program, press Ctrl+V to paste it. In most cases, you'll notice that the URL turns blue and underlined, so it looks like a link. (You generally need to copy the http:// part for this to happen.)
Along the same lines, you can copy a folder path too. Because folder names can be extremely long, typos are inevitable. (For example, my copy of Acrobat is loaded in C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat 6.0\Acrobat and who wants to type all that?) As an alternative, go to Windows Explorer and find the folder on your hard disk and click it. Now click in the Address bar and you'll see the pathname is highlighted. Press Ctrl+C to copy it. Now go to your e-mail program and press Ctrl+V to paste it into the e-mail. If you don't see the Address bar in Windows Explorer, choose View|Toolbars|Address Bar. If you don't see the full pathname, choose Tools|Folder Options and click the View tab. Make sure there's a checkmark next to Display the full path in the address bar.
And here's one final tip I just ran across. Suppose you have to send a daily status e-mail to your boss every morning. Instead of doing it the regular way, create a shortcut on your desktop. Right-click your desktop and choose New|Shortcut. In XP, in the box under "Type the location of the file," type mailto:email@example.com. The key is to type mailto: before the e-mail address. That tells Windows to create a new e-mail in your favorite e-mail software with the address you specify already filled in.