How to Turn Off Outlook's New-Mail Alerts

Last Updated Dec 30, 2008 11:20 AM EST

outlook-email-alerts.jpgThe BizFeed blog shows you how to turn off Outlook's new-mail alerts, thereby boosting your productivity in the process.

Wait, what? Turn off mail alerts? Why would anyone want to do that? Well, think about it: New mail arrives all day, every day, and by default Outlook alerts you to each and every message.

As a result, you've probably grown conditioned to ignore these alerts -- or, worse, you stop whatever work you were doing and check to see what landed in your inbox. Talk about a productivity killer!

Either way, you might be better off without the alerts. Disabling them is a super-simple process:

Choose Tools, Options, and click E-mail Options. Click Advanced E-Mail Options. Uncheck the box to play a sound when a new item arrives, change the mouse cursor, show an icon in the notification area, and display a Desktop Alert. Outlook should now be disturbance-free, letting you focus on other tasks.
If you're concerned about missing important and/or time-sensitive messages, the author also explains how to set up rules so that Outlook alerts you only when messages arrive from specific people.

I just turned off the alerts, and already I'm sold. I didn't realize how often I was switching over to Outlook, interrupting my workflow in the process. Definitely worth a try if you have trouble staying focused on the task at hand.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.