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  • turning off your e-mail notification?

    Does anyone have any thoughts on turning off the sound of new e-mail dropping in your inbox? I find it distracting, but do you feel that you need to be on top of it all the time?

  • #2
    Both Sound and visual indicator are off.

    Outlook (company forced) is open with just Tasks after the initial email processing in the morning.

    I will check email only at the start of day, right after lunch then 20 minutes prior to closing up for the day.

    Do not think that email is essential interruption, have to get work done. For the record I get approx 75-100 emails a day that require either action or response.

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    • #3
      I also leave email notification off and I'll never turn it on again. I have not yet developed the discipline of set times for checking email, but I will work for hours without checking it. My concentration is much better. There has been some retraining among some of my daily contacts. They were use to nearly immediate responses to their emails in the past (the days when I would complain about not being able to do anything all day except respond to email), but most have learned to call me if they really need an answer immediately, or that they are not really in need of an urgent answer, or that they are really much smarter than they thought they were and they knew the answer all along. Oh, and I have learned these things for myself as well.

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      • #4
        Notification off, with exceptions

        I turned my Outlook notification off to eliminate those interruptions. I, too, have had to retrain some people I work with to understand that if they need a response immediately, they need to call instead.

        I do have a couple of exceptions, and I've set up rules for popup notifications for messages from certain people (my wife, my carpool partner), and I've set up one to notify me when I get a high-priority message. This way I'm only interrupted for things I really need to know about, and because I know I'll be interrupted for messages that are important to me, I know I don't have to constantly check my email.

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        • #5
          I was inspired by this thread to turn my notifications off. Thanks all! I too was a slave to them. Nothing to "relieve" you from the burden of concentrating on a not very fun project like an email from a friend . . .

          And BrianK, I didn't know you could make a rule like that about notifications, great idea!

          Taxgeek

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          • #6
            I leave my email notification on for several reasons. 1) Generally, even if I glance at unimportant emails as they come in, I don't get overly distracted from my work. 2) If I'm really in the middle of something important that requires great focus, I don't look at the email till I'm ready to. 3) My important coworkers expect timely (i.e., instant) replies.

            On the plus side, it's all email, rather than phone calls in my field, so at least I don't have many calls distracting me. I find calls much more potentially disruptive because they require synchronous communication rather than the freedom of asychrony with email.

            On the other hand, I certain recognize the potential need to restrict email checking. I have strongly advocated this approach with a friend I've coached. Once he checks his email, it could be a loooooooooong time before he surfaces to do something else.

            -andersons

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            • #7
              What does everybody do about phone calls? I find phone calls much more disruptive than emails because the required synchronous communication (good word, andersens!) forces refocusing my thoughts if I answer the phone. Plus phone calls just irritate me generally - as a true Type A, I like to be control of who I talk to and when!

              Options, I suppose:

              1. Have secretary routinely answer all calls and take messages, except for specific important people. Aren't you still tempted to look up and check out the caller ID though? I am.

              2. Turn off the ringer for chunks of time to work. This works pretty well, until I forget that the ringer is off, and leave it off. Hee hee.

              3. Go to the library (we have one in the firm) for uninterrupted time.

              4. Put fake out of office message on voicemail saying I'll be back in a week and until then am unreachable and if they need anything before then, tough sh*t. Just kidding, although I have contemplated it! Imagine this: ("Go away. I have caller ID. If I didn't answer the phone, it's probably because you aren't high on my priority list right now. Leave a message with what you want, and if I think it's worthwhile, I'll call you back sometime much later when I work my way down the list to you.") That sounds like a good way to get fired fast!

              Seriously, any other ideas?
              Thanks.
              Taxgeek

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              • #8
                (I'm forced to use Outlook, but rarely get internal e-mails. However, those that I do get are considered generally important to vital priorities. Go figure.

                I've turned all notifications off, *and* I don't have Outlook running most of the time. I set up a Windows scheduled task to run it at 8:00 (my official start time) and every preset number of minutes after that, to a last time at 4:00, the end of the day. I have it start minimized, so it just shows up in the taskbar... since I'm a programmer, and routinely switching between multiple programs, I'll see it within a few minutes when it's there.

                Depending on the 'busy' factor of the projects I'm involved in, I adjust the number of times it pops up as desired. Today, it's set to 8:00/12:00/4:00 only. In a couple of weeks, when the dormat "BIG" project comes back into the software side, it'll get set to much more often.

                End result: I see the 'new mail' icon in the tray if there is something, and only as often as I need to. No mail, I right click/Close and Outlook goes away silently. Ahh, peace!

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                • #9
                  I have a post on my blog that should give you some insght on why NOT to use a notifier. The bottom line is that you don't want to get sidetracked by constant interruptions.

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                  • #10
                    Nice blog TK

                    Originally posted by TK
                    I have a post on my blog that should give you some insght on why NOT to use a notifier. The bottom line is that you don't want to get sidetracked by constant interruptions.
                    TK: Nice blog. You have some terrific advice in your posts. Please write more!

                    I love the "door is open when it's open" approach. It works really well for me. When my door is closed (the exception), my co-workers (and boss) know it means I need the door closed.

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                    • #11
                      outlook question

                      I figured out how to stop the alert noise, but I haven't been able to keep that little envelope from showing up in my system tray when I have new e-mail. Does anyone know where to turn that off? Thanks!

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                      • #12
                        Re: outlook question

                        Originally posted by ameasha
                        I figured out how to stop the alert noise, but I haven't been able to keep that little envelope from showing up in my system tray when I have new e-mail. Does anyone know where to turn that off? Thanks!
                        Depends on your version. For Outlook 2002:
                        On the menu bar, click Tools, then Options
                        On the Preferences tab, click the Email Options button
                        Click the Advanced Email Options button
                        In the middle section, under When New Items Arrive, uncheck the box for Show an envelope icon in the system tray

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                        • #13
                          Looks like we're still running Outlook 2000. I don't see that as an option. Thanks for the help though.

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                          • #14
                            I keep my e-mail notification on, but I don't really feel tempted to look at every e-mail as it comes in. Instead, I process my e-mail inbox at various intervals throughout the day. However, I would not hesitate to turn the notification off if I thought it was interfering with my ability to get things done.

                            For telephone calls, I prefer to set aside certain times of the day that I make and receive calls. If there is a client with whom I speak regularly, I try to set a specific date and time to speak. If the client knows that I will return calls at certain times, then the client will usually leave me alone the rest of the time unless it is important. If I receive a call from a client when I need to work on something else, I simply explain to the client that their call is important to me and that I would like to give them my complete attention. Then I set up another time to call them back. Although you can't always manipulate your telephone call schedule in this way, there usually is some flexibility in setting up your phone work. I often change the outgoing message on my voice mail to let my callers know when they might expect a return call. Many people have favorably commented about how helpful my outgoing message is (e.g., Although I'm in the office today, I will be in a meeting from 10 until 12 and will return calls this afternoon...).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ameasha
                              Looks like we're still running Outlook 2000. I don't see that as an option. Thanks for the help though.
                              I just checked my Que Using Microsoft Office 2000. Info re the envelope in the system tray says that ". . . you can't eliminate this icon."

                              Carolyn

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