We are living in amazing digital age. We have on-line collaboration tools, real time messaging and thousands of other useful things. Currently, there is an mobile app or a web service for virtually everything. All those things are giving us almost infinite power. This is a story about how all these tools are killing our productivity

The Flow

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I’m working remotely. Thus, it’s very important for me to stay productive throughout the day. It’s a known fact, that one achieves the highest productivity when they reach a flow state. Here is what Wikipedia tells us about this state:

In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.

One of the required conditions of the flow state is absence of distractions.

The Problem

We use Google Docs, Hangouts, Trello, Slack and other software. All those apps are really awesome and save a lot of time. Also, they have one common feature — notifications. Now lets think about the flow and notifications together. Obviously, notifications are completely incompatible with the flow state, since the former requires a piece of your attention, while the latter demands you to be completely focused on your task.

The Solution

Actually, to dramatically improve your productivity during some period of time, you just need to…turn off all notifications on every device you have. Be sure to:

  • turn on a silence or a flight mode on your phone
  • disable push notifications in your browser
  • disable notifications in your email and IM apps

Results

Using this technique improved my productivity a lot. Even if some notification is very important, in most cases it’s better to finish a piece of work you are currently working and only then proceed to another task.

Useful Links

Here are some articles on the topic: