43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

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).

Joy's picture

it makes me very very...

it makes me very very afraid to do it, but i am about to set it to every hour--turn off the rss-type window i get every time a mail comes in.

i am definitely an email junkie. while a lot of my work also works around dealing with emails, i would say that 99.9% of the time there is absolutely no reason that an email receive urgent attention.

i think this is part of what we call at my operation the "squeaky wheel syndrome." The project with the most peristent emailer/caller gets the most attention, regardless of the fact that monetarily it is way down the totem pole. A client who is totally anal, and paying us a couple of thou for a website, gets the attention of several of us for significant chunks of time during the day. Meanwhile, the projects that are grant-funded (and expensive) do not have the immediate "squeaky wheel" aspect (i.e. you only "report" every 6 months or so) so they too often fall off the radar.

ok--off to turn off email.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »