43 Folders

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4-1/2 tiny ways to master Mail.app

  1. Turn off auto-checking, or set it to "Every hour"
    • yes, it's a classic, thanks
    • In Mail.app, go to "Mail > Preferences... > General"
  2. Turn off the "New Mail" sound
    • Same place as above
    • And, while you're there, also unclick "Play sounds for other mail actions" -- it's not a goddamned pinball machine
  3. Turn on Dock Hiding
    • "[Apple] > System Preferences > Dock" and click "Automatically show and hide the Dock"
  4. Hide Mail.app
    • In Mail.app: "Mail > Hide Mail"

The one-half tiny way? Well, if you're feeling really ballsy, you could just just Quit Mail.app for a few hours and, uh, just go work. Yeah, I know: your world would implode if you had two hours without email. You'd be fired, jailed, or might even miss that whole thread about lunch at Chili's vs. Applebee's. Friend, someday you will actually hear yourself defending your email addiction as a necessity, and it will seem very very weird to you. Bet me on it.

Seriously, though, suck it up and just check for new mail as seldom as your job and your patience will possibly permit. Really push the envelope on this, even just for half a day, and see if you don't notice a difference. The world actually can spin without you for a while (but just a little while).

Because I promise you there's always. more. email. coming. You are the single individual in this entire universe who gets to decide how often you deal with an inbox that is utterly bottomless. Own that, and you've taken the most important step toward using email as a tool (instead of the other way 'round).

Merlin's picture

@Mark: If you have your email...


If you have your email working in a way that's productive for you, this is a useless tip. (I should always say that, I guess)

In my experience, though, the vast majority of folks are using email non-optimally (to say the least). You might be be surprised to learn how many people don't know that you can turn email auto-checking off -- let alone having the vauguest idea what "Growl" does or how to tweak it.

I feel my basic advice is sound regardless of your system, though: no one will ever clear their inbox for more than a few minutes, and learning to control the compulsion to respond to all the baked-in interruptions generated by stock auto-check notifications is a real ninja trick to almost everyone who's ever tried it.

Someday notifications will evolve, and this stuff won't require so much tweaking. But until there's a more sensitive volume knob, I recommend occasionally hitting the power button. :)




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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