Quick Tip: Increase Productivity by Turning Notifications Off

posted by Andrea | 02/13/2018
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Dave and I got our first smartphones 5 years ago… and honestly, we would never want to live without them.

I know smartphones get a bad rap for being time wasters, productivity zappers, and life distractions… and I suppose they can be. However, one thing I’ve done for years and years (but only recently realized how beneficial it is for my life) is to turn off all notifications.

I turn off notifications for every singleย  app — which means my phone never makes noise, never vibrates, and never flashes a message on my home screen UNLESS I’m actually getting a phone call or a text message.

As long as I have the volume turned on, my phone will ring when I’m getting a phone call and ding one time when I get a text message. Other than that, it makes no noise and sends ZERO alerts.

This means that I actually need to unlock my phone to check emails, voice messages, social media, my blog, etc. etc.

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I realize this might not sound like a huge deal (remember, it IS a “quick tip”!) but I’m 100% positive the simple act of turning off all notifications increases my productivity and decreases the number of times I get distracted or pulled away from what I was supposed to be doing.

If you aren’t sure how to turn your notifications off, it’s most likely under “Setting” (see screenshot of my iPhone below).

You should be able to customize which notifications you want to get all the time, and which ones you only want to get after you unlock your phone. You can also choose to get visual notifications withOUT the sound.

As I mentioned above, I currently have all my notifications turned off except phone and messages — and honestly, for my lifestyle (one where nothing is super urgent), I’m extremely confident the lack of notifications increases my productivity throughout the day and reduces the feeling that I NEED to have my phone with me wherever I go.

I certainly don’t expect you to turn off every notification on your phone. However, I would encourage you to at least glance through your list of notifications and consider if any of them could be turned off (or silenced) for a week or so.

You might discover you don’t miss the notifications, and even if your goal isn’t to increase productivity, you’ll still be able to enjoy the lack of dings, beeps, and buzzes throughout your day! Plus, you won’t be THAT person with the super annoying phone!

How do you set your phone notifications?

Filed under: HomeTechnologyMental & Emotional

 
 

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14 comments

  1. Nancy Johnson

    02/14/2018

    I keep my phone on Low Battery mode so that the battery charge lasts longer, and it serves pretty much the same purpose as turning off notifications. I do not receive emails or get alerts for FB unless I unlock the phone and actually open email or FB. I do get phone calls and texts.

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  2. Rhonda

    02/14/2018

    I totally agree. I need to keep my phone on for overnight calls when I’m on-call for my job at the hospital. But what happens (and angers me) is that I get woken up by (non-urgent) text messages (too early in the morning) from my mother, or (too late at night) from my MIL. I keep my phone in the bathroom next to my bedroom – close enough to hear a call, but far enough to not hear the quieted notifications. After reading this though, I think I’m going to just try to silence all notifications, as I think you are right about it being a distraction and hindering productivity.

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  3. BB

    02/13/2018

    I did this several years ago when I kept missing texts from my family. Not many others than family have my cell phone number, so when I get a text notification, it gets my attention. I do allow my phone to ring for phone calls, as sometimes this is a preferred method of communication by a family member over texting. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that I can block numbers that don’t show up with a name from my contacts list, especially ones from some area code totally foreign to me.
    I do not do other methods of communication though, like tweeting, instagram, & whatever else is out there. I do like that I can check my email if I wish, but it does not notify me of any incoming emails.
    I, too, like the idea of fines for cell phones in certain venues, as it truly does heighten the interaction and conversation WITH eye contact and animation rather than over the edge of their cell phone in a monotone or distracted tone/voice.

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  4. Summer

    02/13/2018

    I have done this for years too and mine doesn’t even make noise for texts or calling. I do have voicemail and texting is simply a convenience I get to when I have time. It’s usually near me and I can see the flashes of notifications. I have 5 daughters 15-27 and am very much in touch with them daily via texts, but without any noice/vibration alerts. At our home we also request all alerts are silenced if we spend an evening together. You can still text, but with all of them and boyfriends and husbands, that’s too much. Everyone does a great job of engaging with the group over living on their phones. Mostly.

    We had a bride and groom party this summer for three days at a campground and actually FINED anyone caught with a phone. The $5 fine went to the bride and groom and the 30 people had so much more engaging fun! No phones lost in the water or listening to ‘where’s my phone’ constantly or the notification beeps. People used them, but in their cabins or out of the general area of the group. We did have one photo session, but the rest of the time it was fantastic to disconnect and bond. Highly recommend this to anyone for a large group!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I LOVE the idea of fining people for using phones in a large group — genius!

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    Summer Reply:

    A couple were very offended by this, but we had a 50″s theme and used the play that there were no cellphones in the 50’s. Annnnd really… who can’t disconnect for several hours and not really miss anything?!?! Of course there are exceptions, but it was the very best thing to diffuse that whole group 10 days before the wedding.

    No one actually used one even once, No fees collected!

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    Andrea Reply:

    people are always offended by something ๐Ÿ™‚ I wouldn’t worry too much about it! Sounds like a super fun party!

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  5. Avia Thompson

    02/13/2018

    I JUST did this last week. I turned off all notifications except for texts and phone calls. I had been meaning to do it for months. I keep my phone by my bed at night and I know those notifications were disturbing my sleep. Now I just need to get hubby to do the same….

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  6. Brittany

    02/13/2018

    Agreed! I do the same, and it’s fantastic to take action (on emails, apps, etc) on my own terms rather than being reactive. It keeps my attention less divided. YOU are in control rather than being like Pavlov’s dogs with your phone.

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    Andrea Reply:

    exactly!

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  7. Bridget

    02/13/2018

    Agree! I keep all sound off and let my apple watch buzz once even for calls and texts. It makes a huge difference in distraction and general noisiness!

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  8. Diana

    02/13/2018

    Yes! The only sound (and visual) notifications I get are text and calls. If I haven’t used my phone for awhile and unlock it I will sometimes get a weather update that comes with a ding, but that is it. It is annoying to be around people who get notified for every email, facebook message, etc. they receive. It is distracting.

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  9. jen

    02/13/2018

    i agree with this advice. the only notification i get besides calls and texts is the calendar. calendar notifications are key to getting our family out the door with all we need each day.

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    Brittany Reply:

    Glad I read your comment. I’m so on top of turning notifications off, that I think my calendar notifications are off too. There’s been a time or two I didn’t get a reminder I thought I should have. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

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