Increase Your Mail Auto-checking Interval to Prevent Emails Overload [Quick Tips, Mac]

While certain emails are important, sometime it can be annoying if you have too much of it all coming at once. Sometimes there’s just so much a person can deal with at any given time without becoming overwhelmed. That can easily be the case when emails keep trickling in one after another. Even if you’re in the middle of one task, it can be hard to focus on it when you’ve got that nagging little red circle glaring at you every time you brush past Mail.app.

A simple trick that you can use to prevent yourself from emails overloading is to increase the mail checking interval so you have time to clear one batch of mails, have a rest, before clearing another batch.

Mail.app defaults itself to checking for new emails every five minutes. This means, of course, you only have that little 5 minute window to handle whatever is on your plate before your next round of distractions arrive in tow. Go into the Preferences panel. To do this, open Mail, click on the Mail menu, and open Preferences. Make sure you’re open to the “General” tab within the Preferences, which will look like the screen below:

mail.app Check for new messages

The part of this menu that our focus will be on is the “Check for new messages” option. The default is “Every 5 minutes.” Change it to “Every 30 minutes” or “Every hour”. This will be your decision, as you are more familiar with your personal work habits and ability to assign attention. Either setting will free up a significant chunk of time for you to hone in on tasks at hand while keeping updates coming in a reasonably timely manner.

Another option that you can choose that can also be set from this same menu is one that will turn off automatic checks all together. This option, denoted as “Manual,” means that Mail.app won’t even think about bringing you a new email until you tell it you’re ready. It puts the power completely back into your hands, which may be more than you want to deal with. Play around with the options and see what fits you best.

Mail.app’s Preferences are a great place to browse around for other little tweaks. This is a simple one that is not only helpful for time management and personal productivity, but also a great thing to know about when snooping around with the settings. It’s an easy change to make but one that is under utilized by Mail.app users.

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