Notifications are killing your productivity. Kill your notifications.

If you are like most people you have a computer and a smart phone. Maybe even some kind of wrist watch. I would like you to turn off almost all notifications. Do it now.

Notifications are distracting you

You have a lot to do. Important stuff, right? So when you are leaving the notifications on you are essentially saying: “Come on and distract me with your message, since it must be more important than what I am currently doing.”. And then you see the notification from Plants vs Zombies 3.

But I will miss an important email!

No, you won’t. If I know you right you will still check your email 1-5 times a day without the constant notifications. Remember how the old regular mail system works? It takes days to respond. You don’t have to read each message upon arrival.

But I will miss an important Instagram/Facebook comment!

Yes. That is the point. Unless your job is to manage Instagram accounts you should probably not be alerted whenever something happens on Instagram.

When you have time over, pull out your smartphone and check Instagram.

Be in charge

The point is that you should pick when you have time to check e-mail/Facebook/Instagram etc. When you are letting notifications distract you you are giving away the right to manage your own time for that given moment.

Restart costs

Just like restarting a computer, restarting a human brain takes time - and it can mean a huge productivity decrease when you constantly have to restart your mind. Most people think they just can continue where they left, but that is not true. Your chain of thought is broken, and coming back to it is not that easy.

Badge count are okay

I use badge count (you know, the little numbers next to your apps telling you how many unread messages you have) instead of direct notifications. That way I can quickly glance over my apps and see how much I have to do.

Messages and phone

I have left notifications on for messages and phone calls for obvious reasons. I normally don’t read messages directly if I’m in the middle of something, but pretty much immediately afterwards. If people have something urgent to tell me that absolutely can not wait a minute or thirty they have to call me.

Don’t be afraid to set your phone to Airplane mode or Night mode during meetings or at other times when you need to focus.

What’s your take on notifications?

Please tell me in the comments below how you work with notifications.