The number of e-mail messages a person processes in a day is on the rise. While we fear missing that all important e-mail, we can also become distracted by our e-mail (yes, we do have other work to do). There are a few settings you can control that may help you strike a balance.
You can control how frequently the application retrieves mail.
You can control the visual or audio reminders you receive when new mail arrives.
In the web interface, as messages arrive, they appear in your inbox. Sometimes you may need to refresh your screen to see a message that arrived within seconds of when you last checked. However, there are notification settings you can use to control whether or not you see a little popup window or hear a sound indicating when new mail arrives.
Mac users can use an application called Gmail Notifier. Windows users can use the same application, or if a Windows user has Google Talk installed on his/her computer, it has built in notification options.
Google Chrome users can change a setting within the Mail Settings to enable desktop notifications.
If you are easily distracted, you may not want to make use of these applications!