I've just adopted a new email technique: Less pickups.
After reading Marsha Egan's Inbox Detox, I realized that I'm constantly interrupted by incoming emails. Even though I've turned off the audio notification, I see the little envelope in my tool bar and cannot resist checking it. It's a constant source of interruption, and according to Egan, takes about four minutes out of my productivity each time I stop to check it.
What she suggested in her book was simple: Change your settings to space apart email retrieval. The default in Entourage is two minutes. I changed my settings to two hours. Now, I get real work done and only get interrupted five times over the entire day. If I'm waiting for an email, I can manually check it, so nothing is lost.
Unless you live in a get-back-to-me in five minutes world, this might be a good productivity booster for you too.
PS: In Entourage or Outlook, click the Tools menu and then Run Schedules. Double click on your Send and Receive schedule and you can make changes there!