Procrastination = Clicking Send & Receive in Outlook too often

By standss Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

2011 has been a year of discovery for me… a year where I am trying to eliminate as many bad habits as I can. One habit that I know I have (but have been avoiding discovering) is how often I click Send & Receive in Outlook… most times without even knowing that I am doing it.

In this post, I look at why I do it, what’s wrong with it and how I am curing myself.


At first I didn’t try and stop myself from clicking Send & Receive. Instead I tried to see when I was clicking it. This is what I discovered.

  1. I was clicking Send & Receive whenever I was in-between major pieces of work during the day. It was a mechanism to avoid starting the new piece of work… particularly if it was something that I did not want to do. I was hoping to discover a distraction in my Inbox… even if the distraction would be a total unproductive waste of time.
  2. I was clicking Send & receive whenever I had a decision to make. The decision could be deciding what I was going to work on next… or it could be a design decision with no strictly right answer (I hate being wrong). In short, I was again hoping that something would catch my attention so that I could avoid doing what I had to do.

In summary… Send & Receive was a procrastination mechanism. I was hoping that it would give me a distraction (in the form of an email) that would justify me not doing what my business needed me to do.


I now make a conscious effort to CLOSE Outlook several times a day.

Once Outlook is closed, I decide what I want to do and then start work. I do not open Outlook while working on this unless I need to refer to an email.

I still find myself moving the mouse over to try and click Send & Receive… but then I realize Outlook is closed… and then I realize WHY it’s closed… which makes me get back to some real work.

The thing I’ve discovered is that most of the things that I had been hoping to avoid only take a few seconds… I’ve been getting much more work done… and most of it is very enjoyable.

Once I get a decent chunk of work done, I turn Outlook on again for my email-fix.

I’d love to hear comments from users on their own ways of dealing with email-distraction.

Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool, Outlook Email Tips, Outlook Performance

4 thoughts on “Procrastination = Clicking Send & Receive in Outlook too often

  1. Turning Outlook on and off all day takes too long. I just calendar the times when it is generally convenient to check for new messages and do it then (e.g., before lunch and again around 4 pm). That way I have enough time to deal with things that require immediate attention, and can put those others on my task list to deal with when it is more convenient.

  2. I normally use a automatic send and recieve for every 10 minutes. When i see an important email i will open the outlook for checking.

  3. I have noticed the same behavior in myself and have turned my e-mail off which helps but when I need e-mail as part of what I am doing, I find it hard to resist checking e-mail after I am done. What makes it worse is I have my e-mail client set to download new e-mail every 10 minutes which puts new temptation in front of me up to six times per hour. Thanks for the post; it helped me get clear about my behavior, now I can do something about it.

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