Turn off Email Notifications in Outlook to Reduce Interruptions

Turn off EMail Notifications in Outlook

An important way to reduce the impact of interruptions is to Turn off Email Notifications in Outlook for new Email messages.

In a prior posting, we discussed the negative impacts of Interruptions and Emails.

For an Email, research has found that the average time to recover from an e-mail interruption is approximately 65 seconds So for someone receiving 100 e-mails a day, approximately two hours a day is lost in Email interruption recovery time alone, and that does not even include the time to process the Email.

The net impact of interruptions on your work can be significant, which can result in a significant, cumulative time loss, with estimates as high as 28 percent of the workday!

Therefore, one of the key recommendations to reduce the impact of interruptions was to Turn off Email Notifications in Outlook for Email messages.

This helps you to avoid getting side-tracked by every new Email message and instead to stay focused on important work or the tasks at hand.

In addition, it supports the recommended process of using several set, predefined times to review new Email messages.

Here are the steps for you to follow to Turn off Email Notifications in Outlook:

  1. Select "Tools"
  2. Select "Options"
  3. Select "E-mail Options"
  4. Select "Advanced E-mail Options"
  5. In the section “When New items arrive in my Inbox”, it is recommended that you deselect all of the checkbox options listed:
  • Play a Sound
  • Briefly Change the Mouse Cursor
  • Show an envelope icon in the notification area
  • Display a new mail desktop alert

(Note: These are for Outlook 2007 – other versions may vary slightly)

In an upcoming posting, we will show you a method to turn on notifications and alerts just for specific, "high-priority" individuals or messages.