Email vs productivity

You might have noticed sometime in my email signature the mention:

“I welcome VSRE

What do I mean by that?


According to different studies, modern workers spend 25 to 40% of their time dealing with emails. I believe this is average and it can be often worse than that.

Dealing with emails means to read, understand what action is expected, reply and sort/archive. I am not saying email is a plague but we can all do a lot to improve and reduce the time wasted in this activity.

Here are some of the tips I use:


First thing, I try to decide quickly if I really need to read this. If not, archive and unsubscribe if it is a newsletter. If I am Cc, and I don’t believe it is for a good reason. I just go and ask the sender to explain me why. It helps to reduce the number.

To reduce the number of emails in your inbox, you have to take care of the source.

Understand what to do

This is where education and etiquette are important.

People should never send any email without a clear and updated subject line plus a clear call to action. All emails should specifically explain what is the intention of the sender. If it is not clear, what do you expect?

Often I do not understand the question and the email becomes the reason for a call or a meeting.


That’s where the magic of VSRE happens. Very short reply means less time wasted for everyone. Please take the time to be short.

Archive and sort

That’s probably the worst part of emails. The time spent filing emails into folders is lost for organisations since only one user can access it. This is the greatest waste ever!

While we need email, we must learn to use other means of communication and use collaborative platforms to avoid this information trap.