The Most Effective Productivity Tip for Mac

Today, I show you the number one most effective tip I have for creating an undistracted work environment at your computer. It’s simple to do and it only takes a few seconds. Ready? Go into your Mail preferences and turn set “Check for new Mail” to “Manually” and set “New Mail Sound” to “None”. Thats it!

Now, set a schedule to check your email about 2-5 times a day. This way, you are checking your mail on YOUR schedule instead of every 5 minutes when you hear the “New Mail” alarm sound. This will keep you on task with what you need to be working on and you will be able to batch process your email in chunks instead of one at a time.


Submit a comment
  • Hi Nick,
    Yeah, I get what you’re saying, and if I had over 18,000 items in my inbox I’d probably do the same. However, I do almost the exact opposite ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve got a little plugin installed called GrowlMail which pops up a window with a preview of the first couple of lines of an email as soon as it hits my inbox. I can usually decide quickly if it’s something that needs attention, without leaving the app I’m in. I guess it’s a different deal when you’re in an office/ studio environment and you’ve got clients and project managers that just don’t want to wait 2 hours for a response. Make them wait, and that’s when the phone starts ringing โ€“ then you’ve actually got to talk to these people! BIG time waster.
    Sorry for the length of this comment, and the apology just made it even longer lol.

    • Wow, that sounds really distracting. I guess in an office environment, it makes more sense, but why not use iChat or something to facilitate those times when people need to get ahold of you NOW. Then, use email for the daily stuff.

      It may take a change office culture, but in the long run, I think more will get done.

      • Yep, very distracting. On a more positive note, thanks for the post and the Minimal Mac link. I spent some of the afternoon reading the whole site โ€“ inspirational stuff. If I can’t sort out my work computer, at least you’ve encouraged me to spring clean my laptop. Empty desktop and (nearly) empty menu bar and dock. Plus, I installed FuzzyClock which, for a reason I can’t even begin to explain, makes me feel really happy every time I look at it.
        Excellent post!

  • I like to color code certain folders (on mac). control, click and pic a label color. Makes it easier to find certain folders in a hurry

  • Hey Nick…please don’t just give productivity tips for Mac…there are a lot of PC people out there, and you don’t want them to feel lonely! ๐Ÿ™

    Thanks! (BTW I am already loving this website!)

    • I don’t own a PC. Those tips may be hard to make ๐Ÿ™‚ But, most of these tips can apply to windows users. I’m sure you have a similar feature in your mail client.

      • yeah, this tip i can use for a PC no prob. I am just saying for future posts. I guess do the best you can do.

  • hallo,
    I don’t use MAC’s emailprogramme so I don’t have these distracting sounds, but my skype is distracting me all the time. maybe I put out the sounds on it and try it a week.
    love this site and I am looking forward to all your interesting tipps!

  • by the way is there an editing opportunity for the comments?

  • At work we need to know every order as they arrive (I work with graphics for newsbroadcasts) But at my homestudio I don’t even have internet and I notice that at home my creativity is at a completely different level. At work it’s more just do it and get it out, at home I get the time to figure stuff out and really get creative.

  • It works!!!

    So simple, so easy. One of those “how I never thought about this before?!”

    I also use Growl, witch tells me when I get new message on msn/skype or shows when some other thing happen. Anyway, I also switched off growl for most of my software. I am not getting distracted as much as I use to.

Comments are closed.