Tag Archives: mobile

A notification diet of one week


NotificationsWe check our mobile devices 214 times per day. In my case it’s mostly because it triggers my attention (and curiosity) with a notification. By disabling the notifications of the apps on my smart phone, I count on regaining more of my productivity and spending more time in flow. Read further to see why and how my one week of notification diet will start.

We check our mobile devices about 214 times per day. Of this day, there are about 8 hours of sleep, 1 hour washing & getting ready (for work, for bed), 1 hour getting my daughter ready (for school, for bed) and 1 hour or more driving to work. That means that I’m checking my mobile device 214 times in about 13 hours. Of these 13 hours, I’m 8 hours at work. So in theory, I’d check my mobile device 132 times at work.

There are several reasons why I’m triggered for checking my mobile device:

  • I’m bored.
  • I’m busy waiting (eg. commuting with the train).
  • I’m triggered by a notification of my mobile device.

For 1 and 2, it’s not an issue when I’m working on my mobile. The third is different. If you’re active in a few social networks, following many people online and participating in forums or group, you get quite some daily updates, all at what looks like random times. For example, a new post on your Facebook wall, a trending topic on Twitter, a new board added by your friend on Pinterest.

These notifications interrupt your current work and it’s very hard not to respond to them. It’s like your mobile saying “Hey, I’ve got something special for you”. But often when I look, it’s kinda disappointing. If I’m actually expecting news from somebody, than the notification is mostly not of them.

The interruptions make it hard to concentrate at work. It’s getting hard to get into flow, the most optimal state of work where things get done and time flies by. When you’re in a meeting or in a conversation, it’s tempting, nearly impossible, not to look at your mobile device upon receiving a notification. You never know what you could have missed… In the end, your productivity drops and you come across as a non-interested ass to your colleagues.

It’s time to take matters into my hands and regain my focus and my politeness. Let’s start with a notification diet of one week and see how things go.

A notification diet of one week

For one week, I’ll disable all my notifications on my mobile device. No more Facebook updates, no more trending Twitter tweets, no more GMail notifications. The sound and vibrate functions will be disabled. The only sound my mobile device will make, is when I get a text message or a phone call. I’m not off the grid, but if anyone wants to reach me, it’s possible and will be via a one-on-one connection.

First I wasn’t sure if I’d disable the notifications for (Facebook) Messenger, Snapchat or Whatsapp. These are also direct links to me personally and the difference with classic text messages is small. But while writing this blog I actually got a personal message, a notification, … and my focus was gone. It proved exactly my point, so they’re out too.

The goal of the notification diet is to regain focus and be more productive. The notifications will only be checked during breaks.

Catch you on the flip side!

Thanks at Robby Moors for making me aware of the loss of productivity!

Additional reading

How often do you look at your mobile device?

10 Smart Tips to Prevent Distractions and Sharpen Your Focus

Eliminate These 8 Things From Your Daily Routine

Flow, the secret to happiness (TeD talk)

PS: I’m also aware that this blog in some cases shows up as a notification on your mobile device. Thanks for reading it, now get back to your work 😉

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