You can quadruple your productivity and efficiency at work, just by doing one thing: Cut back on the number of times you check your e-mail.

E-mail is a useful – and often necessary – tool. But don’t let it be a constant interruption. One of the biggest e-mail disruptions? Your e-mail provider’s “alert” – the little ding or pop-up window that informs you a new e-mail has arrived.

That alert is a seemingly harmless convenience. But it halts your momentum and derails your thought processes. At best, it’s a distraction. At worst, its promise of a new message persuades you to stop working on an important project. And guess what? You can get rid of it with a few clicks of your mouse.

Here’s how to do it in Microsoft Outlook:

  • Go to the Tools menu and click “Options.”
  • Then click “E-mail Options.”
  • On the next menu, click “Advanced E-mail Options.”
  • Go to the section labeled “When new items arrive in my inbox” and un-check each option.

Don’t become a slave to your inbox. Disable this disruptive “convenience” and you will see your productivity and concentration soar.