Reduce Distraction by limiting New Email Notification to Important Emails Only

By: standss , Sep 24th, 2014

It can be quite annoying when you are in the middle of something important and you keep getting notifications “you’ve got email”.

Those small pop-up windows on the right bottom corner can really divert your attention especially when you are working on something that is very stressful or the work has come to a point which required a difficult decision… and you were hoping to find something easier to do in your Inbox… something to help you avoid the difficult decision… imagine getting a notification “Happy Hour Tonight from 6pm to 7pm” or “50% off on all iphones

I have personally turned off this notifications except for very important emails for example emails from clients and families.

In this post today, I will show you how to set email notifications for important emails only.

Firstly you will have to turn off all the desktop alerts:

  • Open Outlook
  • Click on the File tab > Options
  • Click on Mail in the left pane
  • Scroll down to the message arrival section and UNTICK the option for “Display a Desktop Alert
  • Click OK

This will now turn off all email notifications.

Next… we will be creating rules which will display the email notification for important emails only that meet the set criteria.

  • Go to your Inbox.
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, go to the Home tab and click Rules > Manage Rules and Alerts

In Outlook 2007/2003, Click Tools > Rules and Alerts to display the Rules dialog box.

 outlook_rules_alert

  • Click the New Rule button to display the Rules Wizard screen.

 outlook_rules_wizard

  • Click “Display mail from someone in the New Item Alert Window”. (A on the picture above)
  • Click on “people or distribution list” (B on the picture above) to display the Rule Address screen. In Outlook 2010/2013, it would say “people or public group“)
  • Select someone from the list or type in the person’s email address in the From: field.
  • Click OK to go back to the Rules Wizard screen.
  • Click “a specific message” (C on the picture above)
  • Type in what you want the alert message to say and click OK e.g. Email from Boss!
  • Click Finish

The next time you receive an email from that person (like your Client/Boss), Outlook will display a message over everything else that you are working on.

This simple trick has helped me stay focused on real work and also made me efficient in deciding which emails need my attention first and which ones can wait.

I hope it works well for you too.

If you find this tip useful or have your own tips for better email notifications, please leave a comment on the blog.

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