My Outlook Exchange email provides a helpful desktop alert function that shows every email coming into my mailbox, as it is received. Helpful in some situations, but when time is precious, not so much. Desktop alerts are highly distracting because regardless of what I am doing at the time, the alert catches my eye at the lower part of my computer screen, I read it and begin to think, should I stop what I am doing and answer it right away? Taking me away from the thing I was working on, and forcing me to reorient once I return to real work. Was the distraction really worth the loss in productivity? Almost always it is not. Yes, yes, you can write more restrictive rules for alerts, but even that will only reduce the number you receive, not eliminate them altogether.
I propose a simple fix: turn off your desktop alerts. Or more radically, log off your email entirely for the majority of the day. There is just not that much in your inbox that is time critical, so stop letting email distract you all day. Check your mail once in the morning, once in the afternoon. Ignore it for the rest of the day. You’ll get more accomplished.