On my iPhone, I have all push notifications turned off.
On my Macs, I have notification center turned off.
First of all, you save a lot of battery life on your iPhone if you turn push notifications off. Not only is your phone constantly checking to see if you have something new, ** ALERT — MYAN DUONG JUST POSTED A PHOTO ON INSTAGRAM **, but every time it has to alert you that you have a new [something], it has to turn the display on. Do this 50 + times a day and it starts to suck your battery life.
But, that’s not the main reason I turn them off. It’s because they are distracting. They’re disruptive. The idea of push notifications was great in theory, but the more and more you receive them, each message gets lost ** ALERT — SOME NON-FRIEND POSTED A STUPID LINK-BAIT BUZZFEED ARTICLE ** in the sea of other messages and they start to become like spam. If every activity is important, then nothing is important.
Alerting you that something has happened or needs your attention should complement what you’re doing at the time you’re doing it. It shouldn’t interrupt what you’re doing.
I see so many people in the workplace get distracted constantly by notifications. Sometimes, I have to ask a person to close their laptop or give me their phone in meetings just so I can keep their attention for 15 minutes.
Try it for a week. Turn off all notifications. Resist the urge (nothing that cool or exciting is happening anyway). You will be amazed at how much more focused you can be.
If you have to start somewhere, definitely start with e-mail. Turn off alerts for e-mail. You know how much e-mail you get every day. Stop stopping what you’re doing all the time to go reply real quick to an e-mail and focus on what you’re doing at the time. Set e-mail breaks throughout the day to catch up and respond (this is a whole post on its own).