Notifications are evil

I heartily endorse the idea of killing almost every notification your phone offers up described here. With the rise of push notifications, every service and app assumes that you really, really need to be interrupted. A lot.

This turns your phone, that incredibly useful piece of technology, into a non-stop distractions. Somebody posted on Facebook! Something happened in the news! You got an email! You haven’t played our game in a few days, don’t you love us anymore? It’s maddening.

Some time ago I went on a notification purge, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for making my days more pleasant, focused, and productive. I use a simple test: does this notification tell me something that means I should change what I am doing right now? If the answer isn’t “hell yeah,” I turn it off.

I get zero notifications about email. If something urgent is happening, I’ll get a phone or a text. I get none from social media. Basically, the phone rings if I get a call, beeps if I get a text, and then tells me about a handful of other things: my UberEats order is arriving, an event from my alarm system, etc.

One of the things I noticed when I went down this path is that most app developers are not thinking about about the user at all when they create notification defaults – they’re thinking about driving engagement with their apps whether it’s really helpful or not. Fortunately, it’s really easy to just long press an Android notification and shut the app up forever.

Give it a try. You’ll get more done, plus get the social benefit of people around you not having to watch you check your phone for something that really didn’t matter much.

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