Processing your e-mail is part of your work - it's not simply something extra, or some distraction that isn't really part of your job, says productivity guru David Allen.
"Knowledge workers are paid to bring their intelligence to bear on input, and improve things by doing that. The decision about what to do with an e-mail and its contents, what it means in terms of the work and standards at hand, is knowledge work," he insists in his Productive Living newsletter.
On average, Mr. Allen says it takes about 30 seconds to process each e-mail: decide what it is, and then delete it, respond to it, or defer it to an action list. If you get 100 e-mails a day, that's 50 minutes a day. He argues that a typical professional therefore has to factor in at least an hour a day for e-mail. This isn't something you should consider optional, he argues: It is an absolute requirement to manage your work with integrity.