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Why You’re Better Off Not Knowing…

Published by Mikala on

In the past few months, one of the CRM platforms that I and a number of my clients use and love, released a whole new suite of sophisticated notifications. My advice to my clients – turn them all off!

And here’s why…

Nothing in nature goes beep.
Cows moo…
Insects chirp…
Waves roar…
But only human-made things go beep.

Farewell your productivity…

The sole purpose of alerts and notifications is to draw your attention away from what you are currently doing and make you pay attention to something else.

Studies show that when we are focusing on a task and interrupted it takes our brains an average of 23 minutes to return or focus to what we were working on before the interruption. 23 minutes!

How many notifications do you get a day? One, five, ten, thirty? That adds up to A LOT of unfocussed minutes! No wonder we constantly feel busy but don’t seem to get much done. 

Ride the emotional rollercoaster…

But negative effects on our productivity aside, did you know that alerts can also trigger a whole host of emotions and chemical reactions in your body resulting in side effects, both good and bad?

On the positive side, notifications can trigger a dopamine hit. Dopamine is a feel-good hormone that is released when your brain is expecting a reward and is important part of our brain’s rewards system. Interestingly enough however dopamine’s motivational properties also play a role in addiction.

On the negative side, notifications can also trigger a rise in cortisol, a stress hormone resulting in higher stress levels and anxiety. Add in a few other mood related chemicals and endorphins to the mix and you can even find yourself in a bout of anger or frustration, all over a seemingly innocent ‘ding’.

Kill the connection…

Finally, no matter how hard you try to multi-task, despite what social media might say, it’s not actually possible to do two things at the same time. So if you are out with friends, family, clients or colleagues  and you receive a notification it will become really obvious that your attention has shifted and you are not longer fully present and engaged with those you are with.

The bottom line…

Alerts and notifications on our devices are designed by developers to capture our attention and spur us into action. This is fine for things that truly are urgent and important and require our immediate attention, but not for those that are just ‘nice to know’ and distract us from our focussed work and personal interactions.

Be intentional with your alerts. If it is important, by all means have that alert bleep and flash up on your screen, but for those things that aren’t, edit your alert, silence the noise and use badges rather than banners so that you are in control of your time and attention and can consciously make the decision on when to engage and take action.

Want to do more?

I have created a free cheat sheet: Six Steps to Declutter Your Digital Life, along with some how-to videos to help you declutter your digital devices and create more time and space in your business and life.

Reference: Dopamine and Addiction: Separating Myth and Fact