Practically speaking, if you're sitting in your bedroom reading a book, would you need this many lights (see image above)? There is such a thing has having too much light which then becomes a distraction instead of something that provides usefulness.
The same can be said when it comes to being productive, a lot of the features that come with having a mobile device invite distraction. One of those is having too many notifications. When you think of it what are notifications for? Well, they are designed to bring information to the forefront so that we can see something of importance. This is very similar to street signs on the road. Street signs are designed to bring important information to our eyes so that we are aware of something occurring on the roadway.
But how would you feel about this:
Is this amount of street signs necessary? No, because now they have become a distraction.
Now, the trend in the mobile phone industry is to provide phones that have a large quantity of GB's (gigabytes) so that we can download as much as possible onto our devices. We then feel like we have a license to download any and everything onto our smartphone, whether we need it or not. This inevitably leads to the increase in the amount of notifications we receive on our phones because generally speaking, each app wants to notify us about something. Each app wants to send us information that it deems relevant and important.
Think of this, if you have 50 apps downloaded onto your smartphone, how many notifications are you receiving on a daily basis? Let's say each app sends you two notifications per day, that's 100 distractions that you are dealing with on a daily basis! Please understand, productivity is like a train, once you get moving forward on a project or important task, overtime you gain momentum.
Every time you receive a notification on your phone, your momentum is stopped, and it can take 15-20 minutes or more before you can get back into a good rhythm again with what you were focused on. You must learn how to properly manage your notifications!
I have made the decision to turn off notification alerts for all of my social media applications and it's interesting that when I go into these apps, they have notifications within the app telling me to turn the notification to the app on!
Keep in mind, these app developers aren't worried about helping you stay productive, their job is to encourage you to invest your time into their products. DO NOT let them control your time! Time is your investment and you have to decide where you will invest this time. DO NOT allow app developers to make this decision for you!
You personally must decide what you need to be notified about. Please keep in mind, notifications not only distract you, they can also cause a level of anxiety.
You notice all of these red badge icons? And even all the way at the top, the battery percentage icon? These types of notifications have a tendency to cause anxiety because you feel like you must do something about them RIGHT NOW! Cut back on these types of notifications on your device, down to what's truly necessary. I've even decided to turn off the battery percentage notification for my phone because I am constantly thinking about where my battery percentage level is, which leads to a level of anxiety.
Your objective is to find value in the time you have to get things done and you do not have an infinite amount of time. But the amount of notifications you will receive throughout the day, can be infinite. This requires that you make some important decisions on what level of access you give these notifications. Why not take 30 minutes this evening and come up with a plan of action. Think of it this way, there are 1,440 minutes in a day, if you cut back on distractions by learning how to properly manage your notifications, think of the amount of time that you have re-invested into getting important projects or tasks done! Even if you increase your level of productivity by 5% by cutting back on notifications, you've won a significant battle because 5% would be the equivalent of 72 additional minutes you have towards relevant tasks!
New technology and the level of information we receive on a daily basis requires us to continue to adapt. Everyone wants our attention and we have to manage this properly so that we can continue to produce value in our lives. I encourage you to do just that.