The whole point of a phone notification is to interrupt you no matter what you’re doing to make you pay attention to something else.
Really let that sink in.
A notification’s ENTIRE purpose is to interrupt whatever you’ve CHOSEN to focus on to get you to react to something else you did NOT choose to focus on.
The takeaway: be stingy with what you give that much power to.
I recommend only allowing notifications for these everyday apps:
Phone calls, and
Also, keep the alerts that you rely on, that serve you well, and don’t go off incessantly. For example, I allow notifications for the below apps because they notify me very infrequently and usually only when it’s super relevant:
My weather app Dark Sky (it comes in with a handy “bring your umbrella with you” alert),
Airline apps (they don’t alert unless I’m traveling, and they let me know about flight delays, etc.),
Reminders (which I don’t use often, but I love being able to tell Siri to remind me to do something when I get home), and
My local emergency notification app.
No email. And definitely no news or social media. There’s no reason for you to let those things interrupt what you’ve chosen to spend your time doing. (For those of you resisting turning off email notifications, I just want to point out – if there’s an emergency, they’re going to call you.)
Recent studies have shown cell phones are raising our cortisol levels in a real way, which may shorten our lives. (WHAT? Though, also – I probably could have told you that based on my past experience with alerts.) By reducing the number of notifications you get, you’ll reduce the interruptive, stressful role of your phone. We’re saving lives here, people.
Want to make a change? Right now, go to your phone settings and, assuming you have an iPhone, select Notifications. Scroll through the apps listed there and turn “Off” the “Allow Notifications” buttons — except for those you want to authorize to have that interruptive power over you. For email notifications, if you want no notifications but do like that little number that shows up to tell you how many unread emails there are, leave notifications on, unclick the alert/banner options, turn off sound, but leave “badges” on.
Get intentional and take control. You’re in charge. Not your phone.
Check out ways to that we can work together here, I’d love to help you take back more control of your time.