One of the worst distractions is the email alert that is turned on as a default in Microsoft Outlook.
If you receive 40 emails in a day, that is 40 times that your brain is slightly distracted and you can be knocked off task.
In a study done by the University of California, Irvine, it was shown that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task if you have been distracted. So if you just quickly checked that email that just popped up on your screen, you may not return to what you were working on for a long time.
The most prodctive way to use email is by reading and responding to your email in batches. You can set a time in your schedule when you will respond to email. Otherwise, you should not be in a reactive mindset. You should always be working to accomplish the most important tasks on your to do list.
How to Your Outlook Email Alerts:
- Open Microsoft Outlook
- Click on the file tab in the top left corner of the Outlook window/li>
- In the file menu, click on Options. A new window will then pop up.
- In the new window, click on the Mail button (on the left side)
- Look under the Message arrival section of that window
- You will see “When new message arrives:” and then five lines underneath with checkboxes
- Uncheck all five boxes, if they haven’t been unchecked already
Note: I recommend tunring off all five of these features, as just a sound or the envelope in the task bar can be distracing enough to get you off of task.
I also found this video that goes through the same process (although as mentioned above, you should uncheck all of the boxes in the last step):
Let me know if you have questions in the comments.