Nerdful Mind Logo

Notifications Disrupt Your Attention – Nerdful Mind #23

June 21, 2020 by Simon Mannes

What do you do when your phone vibrates?

When you hear that bling?

Even if you don't immediately grab your phone and read your notification, it ripped away your attention from whatever you were focusing on.

Do you know how often your attention is disturbed in this way every day? These small perturbations add up. They disrupt our moment-to-moment awareness. And when you do deep work, it takes several minutes every time to get back into your task.

Notifications also train your brain that context switches are okay. If you allow notifications to disturb your workflow, it becomes easier for your brain to justify other distractions. Each notification feeds your instant gratification monkey.

So you not only loose the immediate moment, and the minutes it takes you to get back to your task, but you also train your brain to become even more distracted in the future.

The way to break free from this is simple: turn off notifications. When working, reading a book, watching a movie, cooking, or going for a walk: turn your notifications off.

And when you want to work: close your email program (or tab), set Slack to do-not-disturb, and put your phone in another room.

Managing your attention not only increases your productivity. It also calms your mind and increases your mindfulness.

The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Reading Recommendations

Manage Your Attention, Not Your Time - Mindful

With so many stimuli competing for attention, any hope for making it through the day without our brains feeling like scrambled eggs rests on being more conscious of how you parse attention over specific tasks. Here are three ways to keep your focus flowing.

Notifications Literally Drain the Energy Reserves of Your Brain

Notifications is a tragedy of modern life. We’re being conditioned to increasingly check alerts. That behaviour can be incredibly difficult to combat. Notifications deliver distractions that cost you brain energy

Designing for Human Attention - UX Planet

Human attention is goal-oriented. We tend to focus on things related to the achievement of our goals. Everything else is less relevant and unless it somehow triggers our attention, it will stay on the sidelines. This results in a psychology phenomenon called perceptual or inattentional blindness.

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

The next time your phone grabs your attention, either through a notification or because you take it into your hand, take a deep breath before doing anything.

We use our phone so much during the day. This may be bad for our attention, but we can use it as an anchor to practice mindfulness.

End Note

If you enjoy this newsletter, please share it with someone you know. Just forward this email to them.

Have a great week

Simon

PS: If you found an article you think others might like, and that fits this newsletter, I’d love it if you write me an email. Just reply!

Mindfulness for Developers,
Straight to Your Inbox.

One idea, three reading recommendations, and one exercise. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter. Example.

No spam ever. Unsubscribe at any time. See privacy policy.