(No)tifications

Have you ever completely turned off your smartphone’s notifications?

It’s liberating. You’re not interrupted and the only time you check your phone is when you intentionally reach for it. It feels weird at first, and you might be tempted to reach for your phone every few minutes in case you’ve “missed” something, but you get used to it and the end result is a good deal of calmness.

I have almost no apps on my phone except for the essentials. In fact, I currently only have exactly 24 apps on my iPhone, including the ones that come with the device, some of which I can’t remove.

That already reduces the amount of notifications I would get were I to enable notifications on all of these apps. But I like to be radical sometimes, so I disable them all except for:

  • Phone (banners, sounds)
  • Calendar (banners, sounds)
  • Signal (banners)
  • Whatsapp (banners, except for groups)

As you can see, I’ve only enabled notifications for the basic services a phone should provide. I need to make and receive calls, texts and be reminded of important events. Everything else can wait.

A side effect of this is that I know that if I get a notification, it must be important and I should attend to it. That is the ultimate goal with your notifications: to separate distractions from critical information. Distractions are nice and important to include in your life, but they’re not urgent, so you don’t need to know about them as they occur.

Notifications are the tip of the iceberg regarding optimising your phone for focus, productivity and health. If you’d like a much more detailed guide, read How to Configure Your iPhone to Work for You, Not Against You.

Enjoy!