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4 Ways To Overcome Notification Fatigue

4 Ways To Overcome Notification Fatigue

If you are one of the 92% of Americans who have a cell phone, you’re probably receiving constant notifications from mail, texts, tweets, and news feeds.  Over time, the buzz in your pocket, the silly ring tone, and the incessant need to check for messages can really start to take their toll on both you, and those around you. I would argue that there are now so many notifications with limited utility and I, for one, have decided to take a stand.

I will no longer accept just in time notifications unless they are from one of a select group of people I deeply care about. These people have been added to my VIP list that includes my spouse, my kids, my boss, and finally the other members of my executive team. Everybody else will be covered in an hourly scan of my messages and responded to with an appropriate priority.

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This practice became my new norm when I found I could not keep up with the sheer number of notifications my iPhone was bombarding me with. At some parts of the day, the rate was as high as one event per minute. I was having trouble getting time to work on goals that required concentrated thought.

Here are four huge negative outcomes from the notification epidemic.

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Endless Notification Equals Endless Distraction

It’s wonderful to know what’s going on in our world but it’s also incredibly hard to focus if your phone is beeping or vibrating every few seconds. When this becomes the new normal, a state I call “endless distraction” settles in. An email arrives, you process it. A tweet comes in, you read it. All of this shortens your attention span to the point where you cannot perform long-term work and notification fatigue sets in.

Notification Stimulus Leads to Increased Stress

There are countless studies that show us constant stimulus leads to overload, and overload leads to stress. If taken to the extreme, constant stimulus has another name: torture.

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You may think that turning off notifications will lead to more stress because you might miss an urgent message from your boss or spouse. Most devices have the concepts of VIPs (important individuals whose mails or texts will show up in real time whilst silencing the maddening crowd). If used correctly, this can greatly reduce the amount of stimulus you are receiving.

Stress and Distraction Reduce Performance

Stress and distraction are a recipe for decreased performance due to cognitive overload and muddied thinking. It is virtually impossible to give a topic adequate thought if you are working from moment to moment. Consequently, your decision making capability can take a real hit as well. This is a manifestation of accommodation (a key concept in neural biology), where the response of biological entity decreases with constant stimulus over time.

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Notifications Kill Authenticity

Let’s face it, one of the greatest social faux pas of all time is having a conversation and trying to attend to notifications at the same time. The person across the table feels slighted by your inability to give them adequate attention and perceives this as a lack of authenticity on your part. Over time, this leads to decreased trust and a weakened relationship.

Gadgets such as Apple watches can be perceived as being even less authentic. Not only does the act of looking at your watch signal disinterest, it also suggests that maybe this meeting should be over. Since the other person may not know about your latest gadget, it’s easy for them to take offense and see you as being inauthentic.

So What Should I do?

For true notification addicts I recommend the following strategy.

  1. Start by turning off each and every notification on your phone.
  2. Create a VIP list of people who you would want to interrupt you for emergencies. Allow them to send messages and emails so you can be sure they’ll be able to contact you.
  3. Be consistent. Don’t add anybody else to the list.
  4. Set a calendar reminder to check your messages every one to two hours and religiously stick to it so you are covering all the messages you could potentially miss.
  5. You are effectively fighting a form of addiction or conditioned response. Reward yourself for sticking with it!

Featured photo credit: http://albumarium.com/ via albumarium.com

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Colin Rhodes

Chief Technology Officer

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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