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Submitted by usksxg13 on


 How do turn off the email server push to my Inbox without taking Outlook entirely (e.g. calendar scheduling) offline?


mattpalmer's picture

Different versions tend to behave rather differently (at the very least, the options will be in a different place).

usksxg13's picture
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 Outlook 2010. 

rb_palmer's picture


Look for the Send and Receive section about halfway down the list, then hit the "Send/Receive..." on the R

you'll find the settings in the bottom half of the popup window-

hope this helps,


jclishe's picture

Unfortunately it is not possible to take sending / receiving of mail offline and leave your calendar online. It's an all or nothing deal.


gpeden's picture

I am in the same Outlook 2010 boat - here is what i am doing now (requieres a smart phone):

  • I turn off Outlook completely except during the 3 email checking sessions a day (0845, 1200, 1630). I called them 'TSW' sessions on my calendar (see the thread here "TheSecretWeapon: Combining Evernote and GTD")
  • I print a hard copy of the 'Today' view of my Outlook calendar - I'll make notations through the day with general WWW/TALA. Outlook will only print the default calendar - which is kind of lame as I have 5 separate calendars for work, family, self, etc. etc.
  • I connected my iPhone calendar to Exchange with email turned off
  • I use iPhone calendar for notifications / reminders (vibrate)

I think of opening Outlook as a surgical strike into enemy territory. Get in quick, stay under the radar, take care of your business, and get out.  The longer you hang out in Outlook the easier it is to get sucked in my the email Sirens.  To quote Oh Brother - "They loved me up and turned me into a toad" - don't let email turn you into a toad....



DiSC 7511

usksxg13's picture
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 Indeed it is apparently impossible to do this with the current version. I was able to dig down into the advanced options and change the starting screen to my calendar so that will at least allow access with minimal "undesired" interruptions. Now I just have to stop the desire to look at email!

jclishe's picture

I mentioned this in another thread, and I see that I failed to mention it here.

You can go to Send/Receive tab and select Work Offline. This way you can still leave Outlook open all day, use the calendar, compose email, update tasks, etc. Then at your desired intervals simply disable Work Offline again, your new email will come down and all the offline changes you made will sync up. Then when you're done hit Work Offline again.

I've been using Outlook this way for, gosh, at least 10 years, in every version from 2003 to now 2013. It's a great way to use Outlook without being interrupted by new email.

cwhite's picture
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I think this may work... create a new folder within the "Inbox", call it "Next Action" or "Incoming". Then, create a rule for all mail that comes into the Inbox that says "1. Mark as read and 2. Move to "Next Action/Incoming" folder."

Doing this basically makes it so that you physically have to check the folder. No more icons on the desktop or on your smartphone. (Icons= looky here!)



Gareth's picture

I came on here to ask these very questions. I started the week with the plan to stop living in my email every working day and then from my mobile outside of office hours - the constant flow is slowing me down and hurting my performance... plus the recent cast on email really gave me a kick.

Our work is an email culture. I can't escape that and agree with the comments Mark made about how to go about this.

Where I struggle is when meetings are either put in at the last minute or change. For example today shortly before a scheduled meeting the other party cancelled by email response rather than meeting decline – and this behaviour is common. Yesterday I had an ‘urgent’ meeting schedule by my manager and when working from home I feel I need to be aware of these things – would rather my boss not come poke me to join a meeting I wasn’t aware of because I turn email off.

For these reasons I struggle to turn my email off. I’ve moved the ‘Work Offline’ button to the first option rather than ‘new email’ which helps the flow when I feel ‘safe’ about staying away from email/calendar updates.

I do like the idea above about sending it all to one folder and marking it as read!

Any other ideas? Guess I just need to learn not to look!




Gareth's picture

Me again!

I've set outlook 2010 up that gets around the fact I need to be aware of meeting invites / updates.

I didn't want to mark each email as read and send to a different folder but adopted something very similar .

I've used the 'search folders' option and then put them as a favourite and also added several regular folders I use.

As you will also see I have added a 'work offline' option for quick and easy access.




jrb3's picture
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 @Gareth, I'm stuck in a similar culture.  My boss has a very bad case of emailing me about "fires" when he's just a few cubes away, plus expecting me to respond immediately when I'm in meetings, on commute, or asleep at night.  (The "delta file" from doing this contract just bulges.)  The pathology seems limited to my division, though, so there's hope for many of my friends here.

To limit the damage, I have three visible "meetings with self" to handle email -- 30 minutes, since that's the smallest quantum Outlook allows.  I'm done in fifteen minutes, I think/plan for another fifteen minutes, then I swing into other visible blocks of time.  I come up for air and email the last few minutes of each half-hour block -- "emergency scan" only.  Anything that cannot be immediately deleted or otherwise mindlessly dealt with on first glance gets held until the next dedicated email time.  "Toast" is of course off.

While I can't get out from under "email multiple times a day", at least I can keep most of the times down to brainless interrupts of less than 150 seconds, each separated by half-hours of productive work.

Gareth's picture

@JRB3 - I feel your pain but don't have it as rough.

That said I stayed offline in outlook for large chunks of time yesterday and when I went back online during my scheduled lunch hour (OK not email time but I am getting better!) I found out my boss had sent an invite for a meeting that I was now 20minutes late for!

To make me feel more comfortable my search folders only pick up new email in my inbox (not sub folders) therefore I can pick out meeting invites, emails from three key stakeholders and also that from our client. Toast is of course off.

I've also moved out all my project support material to OneNote to stop me living in outlook. Having to find an email about an active project involves 'walking past my inbox' and the temptation is too great when I see something new in there!

@JRB3 - Perhaps you could have a seach folder for your boss to you can filter out what needs your attention sooner rather than later?



lisas2's picture

I have no problem with the Outlook icon being open at the bottom of display. I work with so many applications open I can just ignore it.

What I've done is turn off automatic notifications for emails. No message, no ghostly image saying I have a mail, no little envelope appearing in the system tray. This is also good because if I am sharing in a web-ex, no one sees my incoming notices in the event I forget to close the icon for the meeting. 

Then, I wrote some rules.

1. From my Manager with me in the To: List -> Alert (similar to meeting notice). I'm OK with this because he's good about addressing his emails TO the person who needs to do something and leaves in CC if he just wants to inform. 

2. Message from our ServiceNow/Ticketing address -> Soft alert with a ding. Either I have a new trouble ticket assigned to me or there is a status update on a ticket that I've opened. I'm OK with the immediate notice on that.   

3. Email to only me from people in IT I work closely with -> Soft alert. This usually means they are sending a screen image or error message that I need to address or assist with or are sending information I might need right now (and not 2 hours later). These days, they'll usually use internal IM first to get my attention first and I do the same with them. 

Other than that, I work my email on a schedule: I check on my phone when I get up: Most of my business users are on Eastern time so if anything is up when they come in at 8-9AM I can see it when I get up at 6AM. I  work my inbox when I get into the office, at 10:45, 14:45 and 16:00. 

I also use a inbox-zero type of clearing method and general folders (!Archive, !Notifications, !FollowUp) with heavy use of categories  often more than one category on an item. I also set up saved searches primarily on things like "To Mike Jones" or "From Joe Smith"  for frequent flyers that I need to find that could be in any category. 

Most of our meeting invitations come with a default reminder 15 minutes in advance (thanks for the default Outlook) so if someone invites me that is not my boss I usually find out when I'm reminded to attend. If is from my boss, I already have the override.