Andy Crouch - Code, Technology & Obfuscation ...

Turning Off Notifications

Woman Whispering

Photo: Kristina Flour - Unsplash

Notification overload, no more.

I have disabled all of the notifications on my phone. In fact, the only time it now makes a noise is when a phone number I know about calls. That’s right, if your number is not in my phone then I will call you back when I am ready.

Why? That is easy. I got to a point where my phone never stopped notifying me of things. Calendar reminders, social media alerts, family SMS messages and Slack. When I am zoned in on a problem or am in the middle of a document I don’t need distracting. I stay in contact with my team via Slack. I have configured the notifications on Windows to appear top right-hand corner so as I work I can glance at them. I can decide on the fly if I need to answer there and then or if they can wait.

This is actually true of my phone. I use MightyText to track SMS notifications which appear top right of my screen. My phone sits facing me on the left. If a call comes from someone I do not know then the screen lights up and I can decide to answer it or not. On Android, if it is an unknown number but Google knows where the number originates then it shows me. All of this with no sound.

This has had a massive improvement on my concentration. For me at least, visual notifications which I can glance at and make a split second decision over have little impact. I must save 5 minutes a day from not having to switch my phone to silent before calls and meetings.

I’d be interested to find out other peoples thoughts on this via twitter or email.