Previous ToW entries have covered the need to sometimes tell Outlook to pipe down and let you get on with what your job is supposed to be. Where, after all, does it say on your job description, “Sits in front of a screen reading & writing email all day”?
The Pomodoro time management method is one potential solution to the problem, where the user forces themselves to focus for a period of time by avoiding distraction. The continuously excellent series of Photo Tips from Robert Deupree (JR) featured a simpler solution…
Robert also recommends a shortcut for the keyboard junkies so dedicated to extreme productivity that they can’t afford to lift their hands away to touch a mouse – to toggle Online and Offline modes in Outlook, simply press ALT+S then W.
When Outlook is offline it obviously won’t receive any new email, but it will let you work on existing mail, calendar etc and you’ll still be online for Lync distractions, and able to while away time browsing the web.
Whilst on the subject of Outlook and distractions, do yourself a favour and switch off the new mail alert – it’s even more intrusive in Outlook 2013 than previously. We all get enough email that we don’t need to know when another one has arrived, so try it now and you can always switch it back on if you feel that nobody loves you anymore.
Simply go to File / Options / Mail within the main Outlook window, and tweak the settings as required: