The Notification Bane

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff from Pexels

When was the last time you sat down to concentrate on some work only to be distracted by the “ping” of your phone? Distraction by notification is an increasingly common phenomena with our rising dependence on our smart phones for almost everything.

Notifications, esp. through mobile applications, have become so ubiquitous that it has unknowingly become an integral part of our new lifestyles. As such its detrimental effects pass under our nose unnoticed while we reel from its impact on our minds.

As per studies published around the web, it takes more than 10 minutes to refocus our mind back to a task once we are distracted away from it. So imagine what a constant stream of notification does to our concentration ability. And this rightly shows in our decreasing ability to remain focused on a single task for long, preference for shorter content over long-form and so on.

But as against the developing mindset, the world around us and its various opportunities and challenges demands an increasingly higher level of critical thinking which requires deep focus for extended period of time. Without critical thinking, no substantial progress can be expected in any field. So, it is of paramount importance to safeguard our ability to keep our minds calm and retain concentration over a particular subject for longer duration of time.

How to safeguard against the notification bane?

Take a simple step: Turn off all phone notifications

That’s it. And once you turn it off, keep the phone away from your reach during your deep work sessions. As you continue these sessions and increase the duration of focused hours in a gradual manner, you will benefit from a calmer mindset, higher clarity of thinking and an increased capability to remain fully engaged with one work for an extended period of time. And this makes all the difference.

What if you don’t want to miss the critical notifications?

Some applications (esp. related to your work) may require you to receive the notification on your phone front and center so that you don’t miss out any critical information. In that case you have two options:

Option 1: Keep the notifications on ONLY for the relevant applications. But this is still sub-optiomla if the overall objective is to re-develop the focusing capability of our mind

Option 2 (the preferred method): Enable silent delivery of the notifications. This way you will see the critical notifications once you pick up the phone AFTER your deep work sessions.

See you tomorrow!!!

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