The Downside of Notifications

Nald Guevarrablogposts


What gets in the way of getting things done? Getting distracted.

Distraction can come from many things, but mainly from a lack of clarity in your vision. Sometimes we have too many things that are our “priorities” and sometimes we sell ourselves short by committing to too many things. 

A study that was done in 2015 on a school campus since they were noticing that their students were much more distracted than in the past. The school ranking was beginning to slip and they found that interruptions and distractions were hitting an all time high. 

They researched this by having the students take a test. They observed that any notification from their phone – just hearing the vibration or a ping notification – was significantly impacting their concentration and test scores. Even if the students were NOT interacting with the device, the notifications were still distracting.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, proudly published that 7.4 TRILLION notifications went out to their users in 2013. In 2018, Apple introduced features to help people gain control of these incessant notifications; do not disturb, digital well-being, and other silencers were invented. Why did they do this? Apple truly had good motives in implementing this. They wanted to help the learners learn, but they recognized that these devices were impacting people’s productivity and enjoyment of life. Tim Cook even said that he turned off ALL notifications on his personal device. He encouraged all iPhone users to do the same. You have to think about what is making you a better person and adding value to your life. Are notifications helping or hindering you in this?

The book, Indistractable, by Nir Eyal, says that the leading causes of distraction are two-fold; external and internal. External distractions can be your phone and internal distractions can be self-doubt, anxiety, and fatigue. Often times we blame the internal distraction on the external. 

In his research, he found that people are placing the blame on external factors. We like to BLAME technology, but at the end of the day, the technology is just a distraction. We, each individually, have the ability to control. So instead of blaming the alerts and notifications, we need to take control and eliminate the distraction. 

It can be amazing how much time you can get back. Don’t push off the responsibility and be a victim of learned helplessness. Be careful that our emails and phones don’t encourage us to step into this so called “learned helplessness.” 

Nir Eyal says, “Stop blaming technology for your personal failings and start blaming yourself for not taking control.”