Have you ever noticed how many times you’re interrupted by notifications every day?

From your cellphone.

From your computer.

Pings, dings, rings.

Screens light up.

Images are pushed.

Red badges tell our brains there is something important going on.

Whenever I’m working with someone, looking over their shoulder or getting a screen shared with me, I cannot help but wonder how they ever get anything done.

Many of my clients complain about how they “just get distracted” which I talked about in Clear the Space. Which means they put forth no effort to reclaim their attention. It’s like they either think there’s nothing they can do about it, or that it does not really matter.

You are letting profitable companies continue to steal your attention. Not only do you “pay” by giving this attention away to view ads, you also “pay” in not producing the results you would have during that amount of time – you’re also making zero profit. These companies have designed the devices and apps to tap into the human reward centers. It’s no wonder why we feel like we’re almost addicted to picking up our phones. It’s because we are.

If you want to be someone who is less distracted and gets more done, you must reclaim your attention as much as possible.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through all of the best practices I’ve uncovered that have changed my ability to focus. All of my articles are written for an Apple user, but of course you can apply any of these principles to your operating system and platform.

  • System Preferences > Notifications > Select “None” for the alert style for every application listed.
  • Hide your Dock, then turn off all of the red badges for all of the applications. Think of applications such as your email platform, Slack, or Messages.
  • Clean up your toolbar, only have applications that you use in your toolbar.
  • Turn off any audible sound notifications. Most often people leave this on for email or Slack and it’s then constantly pinging.
  • Delete any apps you are no longer using (but you already did that here)
  • Settings > Notifications > Toggle “Allow Notifications” completely off for as many applications as possible. If you can’t bring yourself to turn them off completely, challenge yourself to at least turn off banners, lock screen, sounds, and badges. Life. Changing.
  • Stop receiving voicemails. Set up a voicemail greeting that gives the recipient another way to contact you other than leaving a voicemail (email, text message, etc.) and let them know you do not check voicemail.
  • Settings > Sounds & Haptics > toggle off “Vibrate on Silent” and always have your phone on silent unless you’re waiting for a specific call. You can set up any contacts you always want to receive calls from by setting them to “Emergency Bypass” in that contact.
  • Settings > Sounds & Haptics > toggle “Keyboard Clicks,” “Lock Sound,” and “System Haptics” off.
I also would highly recommend not having an Apple watch or any other smart device that pushes your notifications.

You can take back control of your attention, one alert at a time.

Now get to work!

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