I don't like distractions. They're distracting.
I also don't like missing a mail from my boss. They're rare, so when they come, they're often important.
So, I shut down alerts in Thunderbird and wrote a tool called jBiff.
jBiff connects to your mail server via IMAP and finds the new mail (thus biff) that meets the standards you want to watch for, then sends an alert via XMPP, aka Jabber (thus j). As is, I'm mostly searching on sender, and I'm not sure, but that might be all that works.
I suppose I should put this on Github. I'm pretty sure that step's overdue. But there's a problem.
jBiff uses IMAP. There are certain mail servers that don't offer IMAP. This obliges me to start working in POP.
And, there's another possiblity. There are many places I receive mail but never check. There are two primary places I check mail, and if you know me, you know what they are. But having a tool to check the status of the others and notify me weekly or so, that would be good.