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I'm wanting to get my habitual email checking habit under control and was wondering if there was a way to configure Outlook 2007 (rules, alerts, send/receive settings, etc.) to help me. I have some constraints:

  1. I still want see my calendar and get reminders so that I don't miss a meeting
  2. I still want to process meeting requests
    - I'm OK if they get auto-accepted if I'm free to avoid me having constantly look
  3. Hide/don't download emails/phone messages until certain times of day. e.g. I'll check emails at 8:30am and 1pm, but that's it.

The send/receive settings allow me to specify how often to check, but not specific times of day and the rules give me some flexibility (auto accept appointments), but I'm struggling to get exactly what I'm after.

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Outlook is not able to do this by itself. The only way to could do this properly is to use an exchange proxy. This proxy would sit between outlook and your exchange server. The proxy would communicate with the exchange server, pretending to be your outlook client, receive messages and forward on everything, including meeting requests, to your outlook client. At predefined times, the proxy would forward on all remaining messages that were held back.

Fortunately, most of the code you'd need is already there, see Anti-Spam SMTP proxy server which is capable of communicating with Exchange server. You'd filter the emails in a very simple way, move all emails, apart from the meeting request emails, to a holding folder. Then at set schedules, move them from the holding folder to your inbox.

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Thanks. I'll see if I can convince an SA to install this between me and Exchange. – Rhys Gibson Feb 3 '10 at 19:31

Outlook 2003 and 2007 have a "Hide When Minimized" option that will take Outlook off of the taskbar and place a tiny icon in the notification area. If you then configure Outlook to turn off new mail notifications, "all" you have to then do is resist the temptation to click on that 16x16 icon all the time.

Making Outlook startup showing your tasks or calendar instead of email may help a little bit too.

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