I have always preferred to turn off e-mail notifications in Outlook, particularly the blue notification rectangle that shows up everytime you receive a new email in Outlook versions 2003 and later (This is officially referred to as the Desktop Alert in Outlook).
The trouble with that alert box is that it displays just enough of the message content to divert your mind completely to it, thus truly diverting your focus away from more important work. Various research show that its takes up to five minutes for a worker to completely refocus on a task after being interrupted. Imagine this pop-ups appearing every 5 or 10 minutes, or even more often and the end result – your productivity is getting affected (even if you do not open and read the email immediately)
You might want to turn off this alerts (like me) to help you stay focussed on what’s important.
To turn off this Email Alerts in Outlook 2010:
- Go to the File tab > Options > select Mail on upper left side of the Outlook Options window
- On the right side, scroll down to the Message Arrival section
- Clear the checkbox labeled Display a Desktop Alert. (You might want to consider clearing all 4 checkboxes in that section)
For Outlook 2003 and 2007:
- In the Outlook menu > choose Tools > Options.
- Under the Preferences tab > click E-mail Options…> click the Advanced E-mail Options… button.
- Clear the checkbox labeled Display a New Mail Desktop Alert. (You might want to consider clearing all 4 checkboxes in that section)
- Click OK all the way out to the main Outlook window.
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