How notifications are killing your productivity

How Notifications Are Killing Your Productivity

We are all bombarded with notifications, updates, emails and messages everyday.

We have to keep up to date with unread articles, unwatched videos, Facebook updates and the list is growing every day.

Notifications such as application badges, unread messages, emails, and Facebook messages are all conveniently displayed on your smartphone’s home screen. They are nice reminders of how much stuff you need to go through.

But are these helping us with getting things done or are they simply just spamming our life and killing our productivity?

The majority of these notifications are not important. So why are we letting ourselves be distracted so easily these days? Shouldn’t we be focusing on our next important task which will make a big difference?

If you want to be in control of your own productivity, you need to be in control of your notifications.

If you also feel overwhelmed with the amount of notifications screaming for your attention, then the following tips might be useful to you.

Do not look at your smartphone

This one is a hard one and we are all guilty of this.

When was the last time you went to a meeting and didn’t have a look at your smartphone? When was the last time you had a lunch with your friend and left the phone untouched?

Just a short innocent look at the smartphone’s screen full of notifications in the middle of a meeting can quickly fill your brain with more information that you have to deal with later, but cannot do anything about now.

Try not to look at your phone at your next meeting or dinner with a friend, you will see a difference. You will get more out of the meeting and make a better connection.

But if you still can’t resist, what if you just saw nothing but your phones wallpaper? Wouldn’t that be less distracting?

Turn off notifications

Every smartphone has a notification system built in and turned on by default, but seeing your smartphone’s screen full of notifications is actually quite counter-productive.

Instead you can try to keep your lock screen empty to avoid any distractions.

Turning off lock screen notifications was the first thing I did when I felt overwhelmed by the amount of things “needing” my attention.

On an iPhone it’s simple. Go to Settings > Notifications and turn off the ‘View in Lock Screen’ setting for the most frequently interrupting applications.

A clean lock screen will keep you focused on your most important task and will not take your attention away from it.

Allocate time for emails

Allocating time for checking, filtering, and replying to emails is unfortunately not very common amongst web developers and digital professionals in general.

Instead most of us live in our inboxes. We are checking emails at random times, but just a quick look at your inbox is a great way to be distracted.

The tasks that you were just working on is suddenly interrupted with something else, something much less important to you.

Try to check your email twice a day. Set times that suit your work.

For example, I check my emails at 10:30am and 4:00pm.

That gives me a few hours of uninterrupted time in the morning for getting things done, and by 4pm there is another batch of emails I can deal with all at the same time.

Here are the main benefits of checking emails twice a day:

  • it is no longer a distraction
  • it is part of your daily routine
  • setting your own rules means that you are in control
  • batching tasks together means that you are more efficient
  • if someone needs something important they will call you anyway


Notifications and emails are spamming our lives and staying in control is the key to your maximum productivity. Don’t let them distract you. Stay in control and stay on top of things.

What do you think about notifications? Are they helping you to get more things done or distracting you too often?

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