It’s Monday morning. The alarm on your phone drones (because let’s be honest, who has a “classic” alarm clock anymore). As you go to hit Snooze, you automatically tense up as you see all the push notifications that have popped up on the screen overnight. You have ten inbox app notifications, six promotional deals, a doctor’s appointment reminder (which you forgot about), and a text about that company dinner tonight – all before you’ve even gotten out of bed.
Recent studies show a direct correlation between notifications and stress. Biologically, stress causes a rise in the hormone cortisol, which can leave you feeling anxious, tense, and may permanently alter brain functions. Researchers warn that constant distractions caused by alerts can decrease productivity by up to 40 percent. In this golden age of technology, the prospect of disconnecting completely seems unreasonable, but the good news is that employing some, or all, of the following practices will set you on the right path to self-care and improved performance.
Nix the Notifications
While push notifications are meant to increase and improve user engagement and experience, they can be more distracting than actual phone calls. Studies show that the average person receives anywhere from 32 to 85 notifications daily, prompting us to consistently check our phones. Cut down on the nudges your apps give you by turning off push notifications completely. If turning them off cold-turkey reminds you of that terrible time you skipped your morning coffee for a week, ease into it. Pick a few important apps to receive notifications from and build from there. The important thing is to give yourself a break, even if it’s small.
Silence is Serene
Due to our increasing dependency on technology, message notification sounds emitted from our devices illicit an almost Pavlovian response. When we hear a buzz or ding come from our phones or computers, our heart rates rise, and we become increasingly anxious with each passing moment the notification is ignored. Condition yourself to improve your response by placing your phone on silent and turning off the vibrate feature so notifications are entirely inaudible. Make it a point to only check your phone during downtime between tasks to allow yourself to work distraction-free.
Consolidate Your Communications
Life is full of choices, that’s why there is an endless amount of communication apps to choose from. Sure, it’s great in the beginning, an app for every whim. But then you realize how maddening all the choices can be when you need to search for specific apps.
You can decrease app clutter and the interruptions they bring by consolidating all your communication apps into one unified app. By doing so you no longer have to switch through different apps to find an email, an attachment, or even a chat – saving you precious time and energy. Think of it as spring cleaning for your device.
Spike’s minimalist-design also alleviates everyday irritations by managing settings that minimize notifications and their sounds according to specific contacts. Take our Priority Inbox for example. You can put Kara from Marketing in “Priority” and add a special chime for her emails, or silence Theo from Accounting and put his emails in “Other”. Sorry Theo, no hard feelings.
By putting less essential conversations on the back-burner and choosing which sounds you want as alerts, you give yourself the peace and quiet you need to conquer the day.
So, if being constantly “connected” makes you want to run away and assume an alternate identity, try decreasing the proverbial (and literal) din around you first before taking drastic measures. Cut down on the crap to reach your notification Nirvana. Your inner peace will thank you.