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Focus Tip: Say “No” to Notifications!

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

This week’s post is part blog, part public service announcement. Enough with the phone notifications already! In fact, all notifications for that matter. If they are not urgent, let them go!


Now, I’m not saying they can’t be helpful occasionally, but it hit me that my notifications have been driving me to distraction for quite some time now. I spent last week posting about conceptualizing and getting clear on your vision. Taking time to focus and removing the roadblocks in your way to achieving what you want in life. And then it hit me, one of the things I want is to get through a day without constantly reacting to a notification from my email or on my phone.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-email or phone, I’m just “anti-being ruled by your external communications.” Email changed the way we communicate, and phones are very helpful devices. A decade ago, most of us couldn’t imagine all the things a phone could do and now, many of us can’t live without them. We get email, make calls, check the news, and see pictures from people from around the world! But as with all things, there are limits.


We have all become accustomed to having our attention interrupted by the various pings, flashes, and pop-ups daily and we don’t even think much about them anymore. In fact, we have convinced ourselves that we need them, and we add additional reminders and other notifications to keep us informed and on time. It’s just too much.


I’m always a little late to the game on all things technology (probably missed a notification), but I’m really high on turning off the notifications on my phone to preserve my time and sanity! A quick trip to the “settings” on my phone has made a tremendous impact on my day, productivity, and my life.


I haven’t turned everything off. The Amber Alerts, Emergency and Public Safety Alerts will still come through. Of course, I’ll let the incoming call notifications come through on my phone and certain text messages. However, when I learned I could silence the notifications on specific texts, my mind was blown! I am of a certain age.


From there, I went nuts. I went through the listing of 3,000 apps on my phone and either turned specific application notifications off entirely or adjusted the Time Sensitivity level or Banner Style display on them.


What’s that I hear, and see?


Nothing?


Sorry Groupon, I love you but you’re too needy and the worst notification offender ever!


I then adjusted email notifications by adjusting the delivery options to a weekly or monthly digest or unsubscribed altogether from stores, publications, and vendors I was no longer engaged with.


The silence became louder, and the focus became stronger.


Now, we can get back to what we should be doing. Focusing on work, family or dreaming big.


Not only are notifications distracting, but they can also wreak havoc on your health and wellness. Notifications keep you in a constant state of “high alert.” What’s the next message coming in? Is it important? What did I miss?


Likely nothing and the constant pull of checking your phone and being pushed off track takes its toll. You end the day irritated and discouraged that you didn’t achieve more. But how could you? Darn, viral cat video. It was funny, but it didn't change your life.


When the workday is done, social media notifications can become a source of distraction that disconnects you from conversations with your family or friends (not that they didn't during the day as well). But if you chose to ignore the notifications, they are always there, blinking, flashing, stacking up on the screen, and then the FOMO kicks in.


We don’t need anything else contributing to our hair-trigger, anxiety-inducing lifestyles so reducing your notifications and setting a specific time of day to scroll through your emails and social medial posts just makes sense. Leave the notifications on for the important stuff. You’ll catch up on the “nice to know” stuff later on.


So, let’s get focused and say “no” to notifications:

  • Turn off email and phone application notifications for non-urgent messages.

  • Adjust the Time Sensitivity level or Banner Style display on phone applications.

  • Adjust promotional or subscription email frequency to a weekly or monthly digest.

  • Unsubscribe from notifications and emails you no longer want to receive.

  • Turn off notifications for texts and group chats that you can catch up on at your convenience.

  • Set a specific time aside each day to read emails, texts, and social media postings at your leisure.

I’m sure people adjusted their notifications a long time ago but those of us that just had that “ah ha” moment, better late than never I say.


Getting a handle on the number of daily distractions you can actually control is life changing in so many ways. Most of all, your central nervous system will thank you for it.



If you have more tips to help reduce electronic distractions, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear them!


And, ah yeah, I sent you this email. A notification popped up. I hope you waited to open it!


Take care and be well,

Courtney


Woman distracted by phone notifications.
Just say no to notifications.

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