How big is the office email problem?

Statistics vary, depending on the studies you look at and which specific groups of workers the studies focus on. However, according to one study from the McKinsey Global Institute, you’ll spend on average over one-fourth of your time at the office dealing with email. That amounts to roughly 13 hours a week, or about 650 hours each year.

Moreover, that same study shows that every time you read or send an email, it’ll take you 90 seconds to return to whatever you were doing before the email interrupted your workflow.

In 2007, Merlin Mann suggested “inbox zero” as a better way to manage the distractions of email. With stringent processing rules, this idea promises that if you apply them for every single email in your inbox, at the end of the workday you’ll have an empty inbox—hence, Inbox Zero.