How to Use Notifications

distractions notifications smartphone Dec 27, 2021
How to Use Notifications

A hotly debated topic among productivity experts such as myself is that of notifications.

Should you have any of them enabled? How about just a few? What is the correct answer?

The short answer is: it depends on you.

Here's the bottom line: do the notifications serve you? Or are they a distraction? Only you can make that determination.

I think some notifications absolutely should never be enabled on your phone: social media, email, and news/sports apps (if you even have a news app on your phone, which I hope you don't). Why? When you go into these apps, everything's going to be there.

What about instant messaging? Should you have these enabled? Maybe. Again, if they serve you, yes. If they're a distraction, then I would consider turning them off.

And here's the great thing about our technological devices nowadays: you get to choose what form a notification to enable. For example, you can have a notification on but without the sound. If you're not looking at your phone, you don't know you have a notification. But it's still there.

When it comes to notifications, I am an intentional notifications guy. In other words, if I feel a notification is going to serve me, then I have it enabled. If not, then I don't.

To give you some context, here are some of the notifications I have enabled:

  • Calendar. I live by my calendar, so I need to know when to move to the next activity.
  • Weather. I will freely admit to you; I'm a hoarder of weather apps, and I think I have five installed. Don't judge me. That's just who I am.
  • Credit and debit card. I want to know if you are using my debit card in whatever city you're in.

But no social media or email. And I don't even have news apps installed on my phone.

Your homework.

Go through all of your notifications for every single app you have installed on all of your devices and ask yourself, "Do I need this on? Will this notification serve me?" If the answer is no, then turn it off. If the answer is yes, then ask yourself, "Do I need to be audibly alerted to this notification? Or can I say, No, I'll look at it when I open my phone?" If the answer is yes, leave it on.

I'm not saying turn off all notifications like many productivity experts say to do, and I'm telling you to need to figure out what works for you. A lot of people have every notification enabled on their phones. Maybe this is you; please correct this immediately. All these notifications are a ginormous distraction.

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