When it comes to minimize distractions during the day, we usually think of smartphone notifications: Those pings and buzzes that take us out of everything we do and demand that we turn our attention to something new.
It’s not just phones that demand our attention, our laptops and desktops do too. Depending on how your office or home is set up, you might find that Windows or macOS is even more distracting than your phone.
And these interruptions come at a cost. Whenever we are distracted from the task at hand, productivity and focus suffer, even if we do not watch the notification. Those pop-ups and pings mean you’re doing less in the same amount of time.
If you’re ready to recoup some of those lost minutes, here’s how. And for the best results, you can also turn off your phone while you are working.
Manage notifications on Windows
Open the Start menu and click Settings (the gear icon), then choose System and Notifications and actions to start uploading your different applications. You’ll immediately see a toggle switch to keep notifications on or off completely, which you might want to take into account if they’re really having an impact on your productivity.
Other options on this screen will help you deal with notification overload in a number of ways. You can choose to hide alerts from the lock screen, for example, or allow notifications to appear but mute the sound they make. You can also turn off less important alerts, such as tips and tricks for using Windows.
Further down the page, you get toggle switches for every app you’ve installed, and this is where you can really start customizing your notification experience. Not only can you turn off notifications for programs you really don’t want to hear about, but you can also click on the program name to manage how notifications are displayed – you can allow certain apps to show pop-ups but no others, for example.
For each app on your system, in addition to turning notifications on or off, you can turn on or off the sounds they make and control the “ priority ” of alerts (which affects their location in the action center. to the right of the Windows Interface). If you take the time to work through all of these options, you’ll end up with a less overwhelming notification experience on the other end.