by jantzl on November 19, 2020

If there is an environment that you would like similar alert reduction guidance for, please let us know!

Because Windows is a popular operating system in medicine, we will start here, but we will cover mobile tips in upcoming posts.

As we mentioned in the last article, if you have a pretty clear idea of what types of emails you do/do not want to see, you can tune your email alerts pretty precisely. The fastest way to do this is to select an example email. So start by keeping an eye out for an email that you can safely filter or that you really want an alert on. Then you can follow these instructions from Microsoft to create a rule to filter or alert future similar emails.

Another technique you can use on Windows, especially if you have more than one source of notifications, is Microsoft's Focus Assist. Instead of filtering all notifications, which may leave you worrying that someone important was over-filtered, you can silence notifications for a set amount of time while you get something done and then allow the interruptions through again at the time of your choosing. These instructions from Microsoft show you how to turn Focus Assist on and off.

There are similar features for your phone and other email applications that we will cover in future posts.

PS Would it be better if the software tools we use worked better and the organizations we work within behaved better? Yes. Those would certainly have a greater impact on saving time and sanity. Does this approach require you to invest some time to regain some time? Yes. But we find that the time gains are significant, and you see quick returns for your efforts. You can choose to reclaim that time, and you can decide what to do with the time you reclaim. Hopefully, you'll invest it in doing something very nice for yourself. You deserve it.