Despite the numerous other modes of electronic communication that have emerged in the last 20 years, email is still a primary method of contact in the professional world. After going through all their texts, tweets, Facebook messages and IMs, workers still have to sort and deal with the unread emails in their inbox. While not all of these messages require a response, the sheer volume of emails the average person receives on a daily and weekly basis can be overwhelming.

Dave Baggett, founder of email organization app Inky, said the biggest cause of digital clutter is what he calls "gray mail" — messages that aren't from an individual person but aren't really spam, either. "Gray mail" can include things like social network notifications, event invitations, daily deals and coupons, and other personalized communications from companies. Gray-mail messages are the result of the evolution of email marketing, which email service providers are only just starting to catch up with.

"We're entering a new era of mail," Baggett told Business News Daily. "Mail readers have essentially stayed the same, but the sophistication, volume and frequency of senders have exploded. Now, everybody is getting hundreds of emails a week. Within a few years, the way we think about mail apps will be different — it will be much smarter, more like a person helping you and less like a program." [Stop Wasting Time: How to Prioritize Your To-Do List]

Tools like Inky and Gmail's recent Priority Inbox update have begun to help users sift through the communicative chaos by automatically sorting emails into folders based on the sender and the type of message, but even these advances can only get you so far in your quest for email sanity. Baggett offered the following tips to help you clean up your inbox today.

Originally published on Business News Daily.