When you're so buried in your work you forget to check your email - the following project could be the perfect solution. Called the "Communikino" - it is a physical email notifier that not only raises a flag when a new email arrives, it also displays the subject on an LCD module. Furthermore you have three buttons that when pressed - send a prewritten reply depending on the button. The entire system runs on a simple Arduino with LCD, and needs matching python code running on a host PC to interrogate the email. Here it is in action:
When making your own version, save time and move forward with the Freetronics LCD & Keypad shield which contains a bright 16x2 character LCD and five buttons that can be read from only one analog input pin.