Desensitized to Outlook alarms

At work, my co-workers use Outlook to retrieve emails, and view their calendar/tasks. However, when I’m called to work on one of their computers, it’s difficult to work on them when 20+ alarms pop up. Then it’s a quick game of clicking “Snooze” on all the small windows before I can continue my task.

The problem: People have so many alarms that the lesser important tasks inevitably mix with the highly important tasks. Before you know it, you’re overlooking everything on your lists and just becoming reactive to the most critical tasks that grab your attention.

My suggestion: Don’t use alarms! If you’re not paying attention to them anyway, it’s pointless. Instead, print out all your tasks. When you feel the need to look at them, glance at your sheet then adjust yourself accordingly.

Remember, only place date-sensitive tasks on your calendar if it absolutely needs to get completed. If it’s not time- or date-sensitive, keep it off your calendar.

Sidenote: Personally, with Palm Desktop, my Tungsten E, and Datebk5, all my tasks are undated except for the ones I’ll absolutely need to have done on a specific day. Datebk5 also helps because I have special views setup so I don’t see the tasks that aren’t in context to where I am (i.e. I won’t see @Home tasks @Work).

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. He's also a cat whisperer. Sometimes…a photographer, and card magician.

One thought on “Desensitized to Outlook alarms”

  1. Definitely true. Sadly, this first co-op term can only be defined as my first true ‘job’ per se. There are so many tasks, both important and unimportant that fly through my inbox on a daily basis. I rarely, if ever use notifications. I just write them down on a pad of paper. And when one of them gets completed, I just cross it off. It’s something about the manual process of writing that seems to make things stick a little better than an electronic pop up. Perhaps it’s all those pop up ads back in the day when good popup blockers didn’t really exist which desensitized us. 🙂

    As you said, I have a tendency to just automatically click the notifications away anyways. It’s like a reflexive action.


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