Everyone complains about being swamped by email, but how many actually do something about it? Inc. asked some busy managers how they escape the deluge.

Alberto Perlman: founder, Zumba

Perlman just refuses to read long emails. If one gets through? He returns it and asks for a short summary graph on top of the original. If a run-on phone message arrives from an outsider, he asks for a summary. Perlman also practices what he calls the "four D's": do, don't do, delay, and delegate. The result: He can get through 150 emails in an hour or two.

Aaron Levie: founder and CEO, Box

"It took me a while, but I've given up feeling I have to answer everyone," says Levie. Deciding how long to spend on those emails he does answer is always a tradeoff. "You over-email and you overmeet, so you have to balance which medium allows you to get the most done." One of his pet peeves: email volleying. "If I see a thread where people are going in circles, I cut it off."

Chade-Meng Tan: Jolly Good Fellow, Google

How does Meng decide what to do with email? Get this answer: "I make myself aware of death … I think to myself that someday I will die, so I want to do only things that are important and I won't regret doing." An email from CEO Larry Page? Meng, of course, answers it right away. Others? Borrowing from Suzy Welch, he asks himself: What are the consequences of not answering this email in 10 days? 10 months? 10 years?

From the May 2014 issue of Inc. magazine