What Are Notifications Doing to Your Productivity?


Have you ever left your phone at home?

You’re running a little later than usual and you rush out the door forgetting to pull your phone from its charging cable. You don’t notice until you are sitting at your desk and it’s too late to do anything about it.

You feel naked and alone.

Personally, I have a nervous pat down ritual I do when I pass through a door, and when I don’t feel my wallet, my keys, or my phone I get a rush of anxiety and I try to remember the last place I had them all.

I guess this came about because I am very good at forgetting things and my mind developed a way to help me.

So, I know what it is like to go a whole work day without a phone.

The day starts with ideas of how you can sneak back home to pick it up without being noticed. Or calling a friend to swing by your house and deliver it to you. You are consumed with the need to have your little device within arm’s reach in case something terrible happens.

But, as the day goes by the need fades, and you discover the benefit of working distraction free.

The smart phone is a fantastic device at helping us be more productive.

But, unless you take the time to personalize the way it notifies you, it is one of the biggest productivity killers we own.

Have you ever caught yourself reaching for your phone when you heard that ding? Like at a store, or while waiting in line for coffee, even while sitting by the pool on holiday.

I still catch myself doing this even though I have minimized the noises my device sends me.

I try to convince myself that I am not that important. I am not going to miss that once in a lifetime opportunity to sub in for Tony Robbins on stage because his voice got a little hoarse.

We like to think we are, but really, if that were the case, we would probably have someone fielding those alerts for us. And when something important came in they would be coming up to us to say that “Mr. Robbins has fallen ill and they would like for you lead the next Business Mastery event”.

Something as simple as turning off the ding for a new email, or removing the little red badges that show up when some notification happens on an app.

Heck, the next time you install a new application like a game or something that really has no business talking to you, say “Don’t allow” when that little icon comes up asking to send you notifications.

Take charge of your device. It should not dictate when you should look at your emails, or head over to Facebook.

You need the time to actually be able to respond to a message when it comes in. And that time is not when you are one number away from speaking to someone at the DMV. That email is more than likely junk or not beneficial to you, but if it is something that you need to take action on, and you don’t really have the time to do it, that message is going to be forgotten.

And, if it is on a messaging platform, the device is out to get you, because it will tell the sender that you have actually read the message.

Now the sender is in a tizzy because you read the message but you haven’t replied.

These are stresses that can be avoided when you stop chasing the notifications and you block out times in your schedule to do them.

It’s your day, take control of it.



  1. Hey Adam,

    Notifications are important for reminders but they could also be distracting from doing important things.

    You are right about the idea behind this post. Most of us are so enmeshed with the features and functionality of smartphone notifications but we fail to recognize the consequences.

    Thus, taking control of what to be notified of is very important!

  2. Hi Adam,

    I agree with you on the negative impacts of smartphone notifications. It is high time one gets control of this feature.

    Most of the notifications are self-serving to the app developers. So, individuals must take time to deal with them to avoid being dictated to!

  3. Hi Adam,

    This post looks simple but it has facts that must be dealt with. We must avoid losing control of the use of our data. Productivity is possible and can be increased if we are steadfast in doing all things that would lead to it.

  4. For all intent and purposes, this is my takeaway from this discussion

    Take charge of your device. It should not dictate when you should look at your emails, or head over to Facebook.

    Thus, phones should be used in a way that would improve value for us!

  5. Adam,

    It’s sad really what our phones have done to us in our day and age. They have become part of our body it feels like to some people.

    I really resonated with the notification that the other person has read your message. To me this is kind of annoying and anywhere where I could turn this off I have because its causes unnecessary anxiety on you and the sender. It’s a nice feature for family members I will say to make sure they are safe, etc. But for anybody else it can wait.