4 Ways to Stop Notification Fatigue



The struggle is real. The endless distractions on our time and attention need to stop. Take these solid suggestions to make that happen.

The modern smartphone has turned us all into a pack of Pavlovian dogs, responding to every ding, bing and whistle from our portable dictators. It’s not healthy and it’s not conducive to good relationships, productivity or balance.

Can it be possible to regain control over our attention without losing touch? One tech writer has some good ideas.

“I will no longer accept just in time notifications unless they are from one of a select group of people I deeply care about,” writes Colin Rhodes in Lifehack. “These people have been added to my VIP list that includes my spouse, my kids, my boss, and finally the other members of my executive team. Everybody else will be covered in an hourly scan of my messages and responded to with an appropriate priority.”

Rhodes acknowledges that it’s important to stay in touch with the world, “but it’s also incredibly hard to focus if your phone is beeping or vibrating every few seconds.”

He cites several studies that show that this constant stimulation can lead to stress, underperformance and other modern plagues of mind and body.

His suggestion is simple and immediately effective:

  1. “Start by turning off each and every notification on your phone.
  2. Create a VIP list of people who you would want to interrupt you for emergencies. Allow them to send messages and emails so you can be sure they’ll be able to contact you.
  3. Be consistent. Don’t add anybody else to the list.
  4. Set a calendar reminder to check your messages every one to two hours and religiously stick to it so you are covering all the messages you could potentially miss.”

It’s a great idea, and one that will likely lead to you getting more work done, enjoying the process more, and ultimately engaging in more productive ways with the people in your life. Those texts and tweets can wait; life, however, is fleeting. Live it fully immersed in the moment.