Everyone knows that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And every new parent knows that we are hardwired to pay attention to the urgent cries of a child. But how many of us realize that we have been slowly, but steadily, trained to respond to every single new message notification on our phones, computers, and other electronic devices, as they happen?
And with more and more services, many of which are free, so why not try them – we add to the chorus of notification badges demanding our attention. Email, instant messages, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, dating services, online games, and on and on.
Those little red badges are the equivalent of a child’s scream. Few of us can ignore them. Try as we might, when you see that little red circle, even if you don’t immediately open the app or program, even if you think that you are ignoring it – you aren’t really. In the back of your mind, in that little place in your brain reserved for ‘keeping track of things to do’, you are dedicating brain cycles to thinking about the fact that you have a new email, a new text message, a new message on Facebook or Twitter. You wonder who the message is from. Then you rationalize that you are more distracted by not knowing than by quickly checking so you can “put it out of your mind.”
But what if it was never in your mind in the first place?
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How often do you say to yourself “If only everybody would leave me alone for an hour, I could get so much done?”
Well, guess what. That is within your control.
All of those messages and notifications are only there distracting you because you allow it.
So, here is the one simple trick that is going to reclaim your time, reduce your stress, and make you more productive:
Turn off the new message badges!
If you can’t bear to do that, at very least move the icons that are the most distracting off your home screen of your phone, or remove them from the dock of your computer.
You may have heard it before. It seems so simple. And it is. But so many people either don’t believe that it will help (it does), or make excuses as to why they can’t possibly turn them off (you can).
Here’s the thing – it’s not permanent. It’s reversible.
So give it a try.
And then, let us know what you did with that all reclaimed time or newfound productivity.
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