Your iPhone is killing your productivity

Studies like this one show how smartphone notifications have crept into our lives to become not only a major productivity killer, but one of the largest sources of stress in our daily lives.

Reducing stress and being more productive is something I’m very interested in, so three months ago I turned off almost all notifications on my phone and also set it permanently to Do Not Disturb.

To turn off notifications, go to Settings, Notifications, then one-by one for each app, turn off Allow Notifications.  

Eventually your Notifications screen will look something like this:

The only exception I made was to leave notifications on for all navigation and delivery apps, such as Maps, Google Maps, Uber, and Waze.  I also left Banners and sounds on for the Messages, since I only allow txt message notifications for one person via the Emergency Bypass feature, which I explain futher down. If you get a lot of txt messages, you might consider turning off notifications completely, and just checking them a couple of times per day.

If you do leave notifications on for some apps, then please turn off badging. Leaving this on adds those little red dots with numbers and gives you anxiety that something important is going on with the app. You can do without them. Really.

Turning on Do Not Disturb blocks all calls, messages and notifications, but only if your iPhone is locked. To activate it, go to Settings, Do Not Disturb, and turn the switch on.  On this screen I also configured to Allow Calls from Favourites.  This effectively white-lists your contacts so you can decide who can call you.  

To also allow txt messages from certain contacts to bypass the Do Not Disturb setting, I configured Emergency Bypass.  To do this, open the Contacts App, find the person, then change the Ringtone and Text Tone to ‘Emergency Bypass On’.  This feature has been available since IOS 10.

Did I miss any important messages or notifications?   Almost never.

I would occasionally miss a messenger message from my wife, but I fixed that by asking her to send important messages via txt instead, where the emergency bypass setting comes into effect.

Try it for yourself and live longer.