The mind cannot concentrate while that obtrusive thing is there. It doesn’t really occupy much space, but when it is there, you cannot concentrate on what you are doing, till you have made the darn thing disappear!
If you’ve used Outlook with the new mail notification envelope set to to ‘On’, you know exactly what I am talking about. The tiny envelope can permeate your most deep thoughts and make you zone out of them in a jiffy! I have tried turning the notification off, only to have some harried person sneak up to me behind my back and bellow – “DID YOU SEE MY EMAIL?!” After jumping a good foot in the air, I then sheepishly acknowledge that I turned the notification off, because it was disturbing me.
Then, I realise, it is better to be interrupted with the yellow envelope than with an actual 6 foot tall person hovering over me literally. I am always seated while the person is standing. The craned neck gulps involuntarily, and it may be construed as a sign of weakness in case there were email wars being waged, with tiny words as swords on the battlefield of an email template.
I found that constructing complex rules and moving them to a different folder helps – the notification does not appear, but people always seem to find a way around my rules. I would say: If sender personality like ‘bullfrog’ and mail subject is unsavoury and if contents not terribly important to saving world then move to ‘Folder I might get to later on’.
Invariably bull-frogs break the system: they alias themselves to be vermin, or spice up the subject to make it sound like it needs reading and end up popping up in my icon area anyway.
I suppose it would be nice to sit and read automated notifications every minute if one had nothing to do. But given few of us have such luxuries, I spend hour upon endless hour cursing the relentless interruption, and admiring the perfect envelope icon!