Outlook: Disable new mail notifications for all but main account

When adding extra email accounts in the regular way, Outlook will notify you of new emails in each and every account. Though this can be annoying, it is simple enough to do something about. Here’s how:

  1. Click File
  2. Under the Info tab, find Account Settings, then Account Settings
  3. In the E-mail tab, remove the accounts that you do not want to get notifications for
  4. Highlight the main account, and click Change
  5. Click More Settings
  6. Go to the Advanced tab
  7. Click Add beside the Open these additional mailboxes window
  8. Enter the email address of one of the accounts you want to open, then click OK
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you have added all the email addresses
  10. Click Apply, and let Outlook work
  11. Back in the Change Account window, click Next, then Finish
  12. Close the Account Settings window

Outlook may need to restart, after which you should see the mailbox(es) in your Outlook profile

Managing expectations

Some years ago, I wrote about Tom Peters‘ Formula for Success, which hinges on doing two things; promising less than you can deliver, and delivering more than you have promised. I can’t foresee a future when this will not be true, however, I think it bears expanding on. Simply put, by telling the user what to expect, we not only set their expectations, we manage them too, particularly if the user’s expectations are wildly unrealistic.

We have many different terms for this. When dealing with customers on prior agreement, this would be a Service Level Agreement, or SLA. In project management, we talk about deadlines and milestones. Whatever we call it, we are managing expectations. At the end of the day, the object is to make sure that our user is happy. The very best way to manage expectations is to communicate. If something changes, communicate that clearly to the user.

At the end of the day, we can only do our best. By setting realistic goals, and communicating those goals to all interested parties, we buy ourselves time, understanding and happy users.

The Tuckman model and Project Management

In Project Management, we talk about the Tuckman model, also known as Tuckman’s stages of group development. Though of particular importance in project management, the stages bear some relation to most aspects of working life. I think most of us would benefit from knowing the basics of it, and how it all works. Originally proposed with four stages in 1965, the fifth stage was added in 1977. The stages are, in order:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing
  5. Adjourning


By forming we mean the stage when the group has just been formed, when roles are being assigned, and the ice broken.


In the storming stage, different ideas are being considered and lobbied for. These ideas include both the content, or deliverable, of the project, but also the form, or execution, of the work to be performed.


By the norming stage, we are down to choosing what ideas to implement, and how. Some of the participants will need to back down from their chosen methods and content, while others will emerge “victorious”.


The performing stage is when the actual work of the project takes place. Depending on the model used, the performing stage will often go through many iterations in which the deliverables are being developed.


Once the project has delivered the product, the team is broken up, and adjourns.

Hiding the Office Ribbon menu

For most of my time as a computer user, my main text editing tool has been Microsoft Office. I have grown accustomed to using, and even sort of liking the ribbon menu. However, as I often work on a laptop with its severely limited monitor real estate, I needed to find a way to hide it when I am not using it. Luckily enough, that is very simple.

At the top right hand corner of the window in any Office application, between View and the question mark, there is a upward-pointing arrow:

By clicking that arrow, you hide the Ribbon menu. Don’t worry, it’s still available, you just have to click one of the menu items, such as File, Home or Insert to summon it again.

Rants and ramblings of a support technician